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saying that these words are in agreement with each other, reference is had to the use of them in their common application; and this is necessary that the metaphor may be well supported. Let us suppose that the writer had said, “ He found the tide of wealth flowing merely in the channels of traffic, and took out large sums to support and encourage literature.” We might in this case have made out his meaning, but what confusion is there, in the attempt of the imagination to trace out the comparison which is implied. The reason of this confusion is obvious. In the former part of the sentence, the words are used figuratively, and in the latter, literally. Hence then we derive the following rule :- That in Metaphors, we guard against joining together language applied figuratively and literally.
Example 6. A writer in the Edinburgh Review, with the design of showing in what way the early state of society is favourable to poetical excellence, says :
“ Poetry produces an illusion on the eye of the mind, as a magic lantern produces an illusion on the eye of the body. And as a magic lantern acts best in a dark room, poetry effects its purpose best in a dark age. As the light of knowledge breaks in upon its exhibitions, as the outlines of certainty become more and more definite, and the shades of probability more and more distinct, the lines and lineaments of the phantoms which it calls up, grow fainter and fainter."
This example commences with a formal comparison, and afterwards changes into a metaphor. It is introduced to show the admirable skill, which is displayed in the application of words. “The breaking in of light," the “outlines becoming more definite,” the 6 shades more and more distinct," and the “ lines and lineaments of the phantoms growing fainter and fainter," are expressions, which may be literally applied to the objects presented by the magic lantern, and at the same time, as applied by the imagination to the creations of poetry, they present a distinct and complete view.
There can be no doubt, that part of the pleasure derived from reading this passage, results from the skill displayed in this happy application of language, continued as it is through several clauses. Suppose that the latter part of this example had read, “ As the light of knowledge breaks in upon its exhibitions, as the outlines of certainty become more and more definite, as the weight of probability increases, the lines and lineaments of the phantoms which it calls up, grow fainter and fainter.” Here would be what is called mixed metaphor. The imagination in its attempt to trace out the resemblance and bring a distinct image before the mind, when it comes to the clause" the increasing weight of probability,” is led astray, and the whole image becomes confused. This then suggests the caution, that in continued metaphors, we should guard against applying words in such a manner, as to bring up two or more different resemblances, and thus produce confusion in the vien presented to the imagination.
And here I introduce an example of mixed metaphor, in detecting which, the student may more fully see the nature of this fault:
“ We are constantly called upon to observe how the noxious passions, which spring up in the heart like weeds in a neglected garden, are dissipated by the light of truth.”
Example 7. The same writer, in describing the sophistry and unfair statements of those, who tell us to judge of Civil Liberty from the outrages and violent acts which attend revolutions, says:
“ It is just at this crisis of revolution that its enemies love to exhibit it. They pull down the scaffolding from the half finished edifice; they point to the flying dust, the falling bricks, the comfortless rooms, the frightful irregularity of the whole appearance ; and then ask in scorn, where the promised splendour and comfort is to be found.”
This example is different from the preceding. It is only in the first part of it, that the words are designed to be figuratively applied to the system of government, by which civil liberty is secured. We may speak of civil government as an edifice, and of the helps used in rearing it, as scaffolding; but if we try to trace out that which may correspond to the flying dust, the falling bricks, the comfortless rooms, and other circumstances mentioned, it is without success. Still the metaphor strikes us favourably ; for though the imagination cannot trace out the particulars, it is aided in bringing to the mind a general view of the fact. Let us now suppose that the example had read :-“They pull down the scaffolding from the half finished edifice, they point to the dust of dispute, the falling bricks of contention, the comfortless rooms of an exhausted treasury, the frightful irregularity of the whole appearance of government; and then ask in scorn, where the promised splendour and comfort is to be found.” This would have been pur, suing the metaphor too far; it would be called strained, and good taste would condemn it. Hence then we derive the caution, not to pursue the figurative application of language too far. EXAMPLE 8.-" Half round the globe, the tears pumped up by death,
Are spent in watering the vanities of life.” The metaphor in this passage, though it may catch the attention by its novelty and ingenuity, will not be pleasing to the man of correct literary taste. It is not founded on a resemblance which is obvious and easily traced out, or, as the phrase has been explained, naturally suggested. Hence metaphors of this kind are said to be forced, or far-fetched, and the use of them should be avoided.
Example 9. The celebrated passage, in which Burke describes Lord Chatham's fall from power, and the rise of Charles Townsend, unites in it all the excellences of the metaphor :
"? Even then, before this splendid orb was entirely set, and while the western horizon was in a blaze with his descending glury, on the opposite quarter of the heavens arose another luminary, and for his hour became lord of the ascendant."
In this fine passage, the resemblance implied is such as to be highly illustrative; there is a grandeur in the object presented which elevates the mind, and the language, in its figurative application, is skilfully and happily managed.
In the examples of the Metaphor which have now been given, it has been shown, that it is, in its nature, the same as the Comparison,—that it differs from it, in that the resemblance is not formally stated, but simply implied, -that the mode of implying it is by the application of language in an unusual manner, which is called applying it figuratively,--that several cautions are to be observed in this figurative application of words, and that strained and forced metaphors are to be avoided.
It has been common to mark a distinction between the metaphor and the allegory, the latter being defined a continued metaphor. But as both are founded on the same principles, and require the same cautions and directions in their use, the distinction is regarded as one of little practical importance.
There is a mode of illustration and embellishment, often found in the productions of good writers, which, though of the nature of the comparison, is worthy of separate attention. I refer to what are called ALLUSIONS. It will at once be seen, that though they differ in form from the comparison, tliey are of the same nature, and their introduction depends on similar principles. Like comparisons they are illustrative, and give us pleasure from the discovery of unexpected resemblances, or coincidences of thought, or expression. If tou the comparison, when drawn from some fair scene in nature, or some finished work of art, gives us pleasure by directing the
mind to that which causes a grateful emotion, the same feeling is produced by the allusion. Our attention is directed to some classical writer, or to some well known popular writer of the day, or to some recent event,the imagination is set in exercise,--grateful associations are excited, and the effect is happy. Some examples of the Allusion are now given.
Example 1. Burke, in his character of Lord Chatham, has the following passage:
“ His is a great and celebrated name; a name which keeps the name of this country respectable over every other on the globe. It may be truly called,
Clarum et venerabile nomen Gentibus, et multum nostræ quod proderit urbi.” This is called a classical allusion, and to those who possess classical associations, such allusions are always pleasing. They are connected with the days of our youth, and with scenes, the memory of which is grateful to us. They refer us also to those pages, where our tastes have been formed, and our minds disciplined and furnished with knowledge.
It will at once occur, that allusions in the form of the example given, should never be made, except in productions which are primarily addressed to those who are familiar with the language of the quotation. Should a preacher of the present day imitate in this respect the sermons of Jeremy Taylor, he would justly incur the charge of pedantry. But in addresses to deliberate assemblies, where classical scholars are found, or to literary associations, allusions of this kind may occasionally be introduced with a happy effect.
Example 2. In some instances of classical allusions there is a reference to facts found in classical writers, without a quotation in a foreign language. Of this an example is given by Burke, in his speech on the Carnatic war :