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us, but born with us; not our offspring, but our brethren; and (as I may so say) such as were taught without the help of a teacher.”
There are hardly any rules to be observed respecting the introduction and the use of antitheses; your own taste and discretion must be your only guides. I may however in the first place remark, that as they always appear the effect of study, they are never natural in impassioned language. On the stage, therefore, they are seldom introduced with propriety, as they are neither the suitable expression of passion, nor can be supposed to occur naturally in conversation. As they do not accord with the passionate, and are efforts too minute for the sublime, it forms an objection against that ini. mitable poem, the Night. Thoughts, that it abounds too much with this figure. The sublimity of the following lines is destroyed by the epigrammatic turn
“Even silent night proclaims my soul immortal, “ Even silent night proclaims eternal day: “ For human weal Heaven husbands all events, “ Dull sleep instructs, nor sport vain dreams in vain."
In those compositions, however, where we expect the sport of fancy, and which may be supposed to have cost the author some study, ' the effect of a spirited antithesis is considerable; and the less studied it appears the better. The two following (both from the same author) are natural and easy :
“ The use of the dagger is seldom adopted in public councils, as long as they retain any confidence in the power of the sword.”-GiBBON'S HISTORY, c. 25.
" In the horrid massacre of Thessalonica, the cruel Rufinus inflamed the fury without imitating the repentance of Theodosius.”-Ibid.
Writers of genius, it is true, sometimes unite the pathetic, and even the sublime, with this figure, as in the following instances from Dr. Johnson :
“ Wherever the eye is turned it sees much misery, and there is much which it sees not; many complaints are heard, and there are many pangs without complaint.”_Sermons.
_SERMONS In speaking of the pride of talents also66 The time will come, it will come quickly, when it shall profit us more to have subdued one proud thought, than to have numbered the bost of heaven.”-IBID. We should observe, as a 2d rule, to be
ware of their too frequent introduction; for a reader may tire even of brilliancy. Beautiful as the compositions of Dr. Johnson are, I have sometimes felt a sameness in them; a vumber of sentences ending in the same way, and read.
. ing almost like a chapter in the book of Proverbs. Mr. Gibbon is also too fond of antitheses; the figure is indeed better suited to discussion than to narrative.
3dly. The antithesis sbould rather be in things than in words, and should not only have contrast but ingenuity to recommend it. A late writer on education puts in opposition
a false quantity and a false assertion.” This is too much like a pun.
In few words the antithesis, like every figure, receives animation and elegance from the hand of genius; but no:hing can be more frigid than a string of trite antitheses from a dull writer. I would much rather have plain fact, and plain truth, from such authors, than the affectation of wit and elegance.
The imitators of Dr. Johnson have miserably failed, not because they were unable to ape his manner, but because they wanted the solidity of his obseryation, and the brilliancy of his fancy.
Metonymy.-Synecdoche-Periphrasis-Personification. - Apostrophe. - Hyperbole.
MY DEAR JOHN,
Not to detain you much longer in the rudiments of rhetoric, I shall proceed without preface to those figures, which are derived from the other relations of cause and effect, and contiguity.
You need not be informed that the word me. tonymy implies a change of name, or, in other words, the substitution of some characteristic circumstance or quality for the name or word by which a thing is usually known.
It is chiefly, I might almost say entirely, from the relation of cause and effect that this figure is derived. Thus the cause is put for the effect, when the inventor's name is used for the thing invented. Instead of a serious example,
take one that will amuse you better, from the . treatise on the Bathos
“ Lac'd in her Cosins* new appear'd the bride,
Agreeably to this figure, the author's name is employed to designate his works; as when I say
66 I have read Homer, Virgil, or Milton," for the works of Homer, &c.; and this is so eommon, that it is no harsh expression to say
I have read such a writer."
“ Trojani belli scriptorem, maxime Lolli,
Hor. Ep. 2,
“While you my Lollius on some chosen theme,
Again the effect or instrument is employed for the cause as “ the tongue (that is the eloquence of Cicero) defended the cause of virtue and the republic;" “ Pallida mors" (in Ho.
+ Tweezer case.
# Watch. $ A head-dress. All names taken, I believe, from eminent workmen or dealers in those articles.