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of vivacity as depending on the choice of words.
finite, the general, and therefore the unaffecting style of the gentleman and the lady, or he and she. This manner, besides, hath an air of concealment, and is
ever reminding us, that they are people we know nothing about.
IT ariseth from the same principle that whatever tends to subject the thing spoken of to the notice of our senses, especially of your eyes, greatly enlivens the expressions. In this way the demonstrative pronouns are often of considerable use. “I have covet“ed,” says Paul to the elders of Ephesus, “no man's “silver, or gold, or apparel; yea, ye yourselves know “that there hands have ministered to my necessities, “ and to them that were with me *”. Had the said, “my hands,” the sentence would have lost nothing either in meaning or in perspicuity, but very much in vivacity. The difference to hearers is obvious, as the former expression must have been accompanied with the emphatic action of holding up his hands to their view. To readers it is equally real, who in such a case instantaneously enter into the sentiments of hearers. In like manner, the English words yon and yonder are more emphatical, because more demonstrative than the pronoun that, and the adverb there. The two last do not necessarily imply that the object is in sight, which is implied in the two first. Accordingly, in these words of Milton,
* Acts xx. 33. 34,.
Sect. I. Proper terms.
——For proof look up,
the expression is more vivid than if it had been “that “ celestial sign.” “Sit ye here,” saith our Lord, “whilst I go and pray yonder.}" The adverb there would not have been near so expressive f. Though we cannot say properly that pronouns or adverbs, either of place or of time, are susceptible of genera and species, yet we can say (which amounts to the same as to the effect), that some are more and some less" limited in signification.
To the above remarks and examples on the subject of speciality, I shall only add, that, in composition, particularly of the descriptive kind, it invariably succeeds best for brightening the image, to advance from general expressions to more special, and thence again to more particular. This, in the language of philosophy, is descending. We descend to particulars; but in the language of oratory it is ascending. A very beautiful climax will sometimes be constituted in this manner, the reverse will often have all the effect of an anticlimax. For an example of this order in de
* Paradise Lost. + Matt. xxvi. 36. f Le Clerc thus renders the original into French, “Asseyez. vous ici, pendant que je m'en irai prier sä.” At the same time sensible how weakly the meaning is expressed by the adverb /a, he subjoins in a note, “Dans un lieu qu'il leur montroit du doit.” The English version needs no such supplement.
Of vi vacity as depending on the choice of words.
scription, take the following passage from the Song of Solomon: “My beloved spake and said to me, Arise, “my love, my fair, and come away; for lo, the “winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers “appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds “is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our “land, the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and “the vines with the tender grape perfume the air. A“rise, my love, my fair, and come away *.” The • poet here, with admirable address, begins with mere negatives, observing the absence of every evil which might discourage his bride from hearkening to his importunate request; then he proceeds by a fine gradation to paint the most inviting circumstances that could serve to ensure the compliance of the fair. The first expression is the most general: “The winter is past.” The next is more special, pointing to one considerable and very disagreeable attendant upon winter, the rain: “The rain is over and gone.” Thence he advanceth to the positive indications of the spring, as appearing in the effects produced upon the plants which clothe the fields, and on the winged inhabitants of the grove. “The flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the “singing of birds is come.” But, as though this were still too general, from mentioning birds and plants, he proceeds to specify the turtle, perhaps considered as the emblem of love and constancy; the fig-tree and the vine, as the earnest of friendship and festive joy,
Sect. II. Rhetorical tropes...Part I. Preliminary observations.
selecting that particular with regard to each, which most strongly marks the presence of the all-reviving spring. “The voice of the turtle is heard in our land, “the fig-tree putteth forth her green figs, and the “ vines with the tender grape perfume the air.” The passage is not more remarkable for the liveliness, than for the elegance of the picture it exhibits. The examples are all taken from whatever can contribute to regale the senses and awaken love. Yet, reverse the order, and the beauty is almost totally effaced. *
So much for that quality in proper terms which confers vivacity on the expression.
I come now to inquire how far the judicious use of tropes is also conducive to the same end. It hath been common with rhetoricians to rank under the article of diction, not only all the tropes, but even the greater part of the figures of eloquence, which they have uniformly considered as qualities or ornaments merely of elocution, and therefore as what ought to be explained among the properties of style. It is however certain, that some of them have a closer connec-, tion with the thought than with the expression, and by consequence fall not so naturally to be considered
Of vivacity as depending on the choice of words.
here. Thus all the kinds of comparison, as they imply a likeness in the things, and not in the symbols, belong properly to the thought. Nay, some comparisons, as was remarked above *, are not mere illustrations of a particular sentiment, but are also arguments from analogy in support of it. And if thus comparison holds more directly of thought than of language, the same may doubtless be said of all those other figures which I have already observed are but different modes of exhibiting a comparison.
IT must be owned, however, that metaphor, though no other in effect than comparison in epitome, hath at least as intimate a connection with the style as with the sentiment, and may therefore be considered under either head. That we may perceive the reason of this peculiarity, let it be observed, that there is a particular boldness in metaphor, which is not to be found in the same degree in any of the figures of rhetoric. Without any thing like an explicit comparison, and commonly without any warning or apology, the name of one thing is obtruded upon us for the name of another quite different, though resembling in some quality. The consequence of this is, that as there is always in this trope an apparent at least, if it cannot be called a real, impropriety, and some degree of obscurity, a new metaphor is rarely to be risked. And as to ordinary metaphors, or those which have already
* Book I, Chap, vii. Sect. 2, on engaging attention,