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in figurative language, the cause is, sometimes, -- put for the effect Thus, mr. Addison, writing of
Bloftoms, and fruits, and flowers together rife,
where the “whole year" is plainly intended, to signify the effects or productions of all the seasons of the year. At other times, again, the effect is put for the cause; as,
grey hairs” frequently for old age, which causes grey hairs ; and. “ shade,” for trees that produce the shade. The relation between the container and the thing contained, is also so intimate and obvious, as naturally to give rise to tropes :
Ille impiger hausit
Where every one sees, that the cup and the gold are put for the liquor that was contained in the golden cup. In the same manner, the name of any country, is often used to denote the inhabitants of that country; and heaven, very commonly employed to signify God, because he is conceived as dwelling in heaven. To implore the assistance of heaven, is the same as to implore the assistance of God. The relation betwixt any established sign and the thing signified, is a further source of tropes. Hence,
Cedant arma togæ ; concedat laurea lingua. The "toga,” being the badge of the civil professions, and the “ laurel,” of military honours, the badge of each is put for the civil and military characters themselves. To “assume the sceptre,” is a common phrase for entering on royal authority. To tropes, founded on these several relations, of caule
- and effect, container and contained, sign and thing signified, is given the name of metonymy:
When the trope is founded on the relation bem tween an antecedent and a consequent, or what goes before, and immediately, follows, it is then called & metalepfis ;; as in the Ronjan. phrase, of "Fuit," or " Vixit,” to express that one, was dead. “Fuit Ilium et ingens gloria Dardaniduino fignifies, that the glory of Troy is now no more:
When the whole is put for a part, or a part for the whole ; a genus for a species, or a species for a genus ; the singular for the plural, or the plural for the fingular number : in general, when any thing less, or any thing more, is put for the precise object meant ; the figure is then called a fynecdoche. It is very common, for instance, to describe a whole object by some remarkable part of it; as, when we fay," a fleet of so many fail,” in the place of “ ships ;" when we use the "head" for the “perfon," the “pole” for the “ earth," the waves” for the “ fea". In like manner, an attribute may be put for a subject ; as, “youth ard beauty,” for “the young and beautiful ;” and sometimes a subject for its attribute. But it is needless to infist longer on this enumeration, which ferves little purpose. I have said enough, to give an opening into that great variety of relations between objects, by means of which, the mind is affifted to país easily from one to another ; and by the name of the one understands the other to be ineant. It is always some accessory idea, which recals the principal to the imagination ; and commonly recals it with more force, than if the principal idea had been expressed.
The relation which is far the most fruitful of tropes, I have not yet mentioned ; that is, the relation of fimilitude and resemblance. On this is founded what is called the metaphor : when, in Vol. I.
place of using the proper name of any object, we employ, in its place, the name of some other which is like it ; which is a sort of picture of it, and which thereby awakens the conception of it with more force or grace. This figure is more frequent than all the rest put together; and the language, both of prose and verse,' owes to it much of its elegance and grace. This, therefore, deserves very full and particular consideration ; and shall be the subject of the next lecture.
FTER the preliminary observations I have
made, relating to figurative language in general, I come now to treat separately of such figures of speech, as occur most frequently, and require particular attention : and I begin with metaphor. This is a figure founded entirely on the resemblance which one object bears to another. Hence, it is much allied to simile, or comparison; and is indeed no other than a comparison, expreffed in an abridged form. When I say of some great minister, “ that he upholds the state, like a pillar “ which supports the weight of a whole edifice,” I fairly make a comparison; but when I say of such a minister, “ that he is the pillar of the state,” it it is now become a metaphor. The comparison betwixt the minister and a pillar, is made in the mind but is expressed without any of the words that denote comparison. The comparison is only insinuated, not expressed : the one object is supposed to be so like the other, that, without formally drawing the comparison, the name of the one may be
put in the place of the name of the other. “ The “ minister is the pillar of the state.” This, therefore, is a more lively and animated manner of expreiling the resemblances which imagination traces ainong objects. There is nothing which delights the fancy more, than this act of comparing things together, discovering resemblances between them, and describing them by their likeness. The mind, thus employed, is exercised without being fatigued ; and is gratified with the consciousness of its own ingenuity. We need not be surprised, therefore, at finding all language tinctured strongly with metaphor. It insinuates itself even into familiar conversation ; and, unfought, rises up of its own ac cord in the mind. Tbe very words which I have casually employed in describing this, are a proof of what I say ; tinctured, insinuates, riles up, are all of them metaphorical expressions, borrowed from fome resemblance which fancy forms between senfible obje&ts, and the internal operations of the mind; and yet the terms are no less clear, and, perhaps, more expreffive, than if words had been ufed, which were to be taken in the strict and literal fenfe.
Though all metaphor imports comparison, and, therefore, is, in that respect, a figure of thought; yet, as the words in a metaphor are not taken literally, but changed from their proper to a figurative fenfe, the metaphor is commonly ranked among tropes or figures of words. But, provided the nature of it be well understood, it signifies very little whether we call it a figure or a trope. I have confined it to the exprellion of resemblance between two objects. I must remark, however, that the word metaphor is sometimes used in a looser and more extended fense-for the application of a'term in any figurative signification, whether the figure be founded on resemblance, or on some