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guage of simile lies in the middle region between the highly pathetic and very humble style. It is however a sparkling ornanient ; and must consequently dazzle and fatigue if it recur too often. Similes even in poetry should be employed with moderation : but in prose much more so; otherwise the style will become disgustingly luscious, and the ornament lose its beauty and effect.
We shall now consider the nature of those ohjects from which comparisons should be drawn.
In the first place, they must not be drawn from things which have too near and obvious a resemblance of the object with which they are compared. The pleasure we receive from the act of comparing, arises from the discovery of likenesses among things of different species, where we should not at first sight expect a resemblance.
But in the second place, as comparisons ought not to be founded on likenesses too obvious, much less ought they to be founded on those which are too faint and distant. These, instead of assisting, strain the fancy to comprehend them, and throw no light upon the subject.
In the third place, the object from which a eomparison is drawn, ought never to be an unknown object, nor one of which few people can have a clear idea. Therefore similes, founded on philosophical discoveries, or on any thing, with which persons of a particular trade only, or a particular profession, are acquainted, produce not their proper effect. They should be drawn from those illustrious and noted objects, which
most readers have either seen or can strongly conceive.
In the fourth place, in compositions of a serious or elevated kind, similes should never be drawn from low or mean objects. These degrade and vilily; whereas similes are generally intended to embellish and dignify. Therefore, except in burlesque writings, or where an object is meant to be degraded, mean ideas should never be presented.
ANTITHESIS is founded on the contrast or opposition of two objects. By contrast, objects opposed to each other appear in a stronger light. Beauty for instance never appears so charming, as when contrasted with ugliness.--Antithesis therefore may on many occasions, be used advantageously to strengtlıen the impression which we propose that any objeet should make. Thus Cicero, in luis oration for Milo, representing the improbability of Milo's designing to take away the life of Clodius, when every thing was unfavourable to such design, after he had omitted many opportunities of effecting such a purpose, heightens our conviction of this improbability by a skilful use of this figure. “ Quem igurir omnium gratia interficere noluit ; hunc voluit cum aliquorum querela ? Quem jure, quom loco, quem tempore, quem impune, non est ausus ; hunc injuria, iniquo loco, alieno tempore, periculo capitis, non dubitavit occidere ?" Here the antithesis is rendered complete by the words and members of the sentence expressing the contrasted objects, being similarly constructed, and made to correspond with each other.
We must however acknowledge that frequent use of antithesis, especially where the opposition in the words is nice and quaint, is apt to make style unpleasing. A maxim or moral saying very properly receives this form ; because it is supposed to be the effect of meditation, and is designed to be engraven on the memory, which recals it more casily by the aid of contrasted expressions. But, where several such sentences succeed each other; where this is an author's favourite and prevailing mode of expression, his style is exposed to censure.
INTERROGATIONS and Exclamations are passionate figures. The literal use of interrogation is to ask a question ; but when men are prompted by passion whatever they would aflirm or deny, with great earnestness, they naturally put in the form of a question ; expressing thereby the firmest confidence of the truth of their own opinion, and appealing to their hearers for the impossibility of the contrary. Thus in scripture : « God is not a man, that he should lie ; por the Son of Man, that he should repent. Hath he said it? And shall he not do it? Hath he spoken it? And shall he not make it good ?"
Interrogations may be employed in the prosecution of close and earnest reasoning ; but exclamations belong only to stronger emotions of the mind ; to surprise, anger, joy, grief, and the like. These being natural signs of a moved and agitated mind, always when properly employed, make us sympathize with those who use them, and enter into their feelings. Nothing, however, has a worse effect, than frequent and unseasonable use of exclamations. Young, unexperienced writers
suppose that by pouring them forth plenteously they render their compositions warm and animatcd. But the contrary follows ; they render them frigid to excess. When an author is always calling upon us to enter into transports, which he has said nothing to inspire, he excites our disgust and indignation.
Another figure of speech, fit only for animated composition, is called Vision : when, instead of relating something that is past, we use the pre"sent tense, and describe it as if passing before our eyes. Thus Cicero in his fourth oration against Catiline : « Videor enim mihi hanc urbem videre, lucem orbis terraruin atque arcem omnium gentium, subito uno incendia concidontum ; cerno animo sepulta in patria miseros atque insepultos aceroos civium ; versatur mihi ante oculos aspectus Cethegi, et furor, in vestra cælle bacchantis.” This figure has great force when it is well executed, and when it flows from genuine enthusiasm. Otherwise, it shares the same fate with all feeble attempts toward passionate figures ; that of throwing ridicule upon the author, and leaving the reader more cool and uninterested than he was before.
The last figure which we shall mention, and which is of frequent use among all public speakers, is CLIMAX. It consists in an artful exaggeration of all the circumstances of some object or action, which we wish to place in a strong light. It operates by the gradual rise of one circumstance above another, till our idea is raised to the highest pitch. We shall give an instance of this figure from a printed pleading of a colebrated lawyer in a charge to the jury in the case of
General Characters of Style.
a woman who was accused of murdering her own child.
“ Gentlemen, if one man had any how slain another; if an adversary liad killed bis opposer ; or a woman occasioned the death of her enemy; even these criminals would have been capitally punished by the Cornelian law. But, if this guiltless infant, who could make no enemy, had been murdered by its own nurse, what punishment would not the mother have demanded ? With what cries and exclamations would she have stunned your ears? What shall we say then, when a woman guilty of homicide ; a mother, of the murder of her innocent child, hath comprised all those misdeeds in one single crime ; a crime in its own nature detestalıle ; in a woman prodigious ; in a mother incredible ; and perpetrated against one whose age called for compassion ; whose near relation claimed affection; and whose innocence deserved the highest favour?" Such regular climaxes, however, though they have great beauty, yet at the same time have the appearance of art and study; and, therefore, though they may be admitted into formal harangues, yet they are not the language of passion, which seldom proceeds by steps so regular.
GENERAL CHARACTERS OF STYLE.... DIFFUSE, CONCIȘE....FEEBLE, NERVOUS....DRY, PLAIN,
NEAT, ELEGANT, FLOWERY.
That different subjects ought to be treated in different kinds of STYLE, is a position so obviousy