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race) for death that makes pale. The adjunct is used for the substantive, as when we speak of the fasces for the magistrate ; and Virgil says,
66 bibit Germania Tigrim," mentioning the country for the inhabitants. In short, it is unnecessary to multiply instances, as metonymies occur in every page of every book, and in almost every sentence of conversation.
I need not remind you that the synecdoche (or figure of comprehension,) according to old Farnaby,“ takes the whole for the part, or the part for the whole,” as the genus for the species, or the species for the genus ; and is of consequence, evidently dependant on the same relation : thus a man is said to get his bread by his labour, when bread is taken to signify the whole of subsistence.
The circumstance which forms the principal difficulty of translation is, that metaphors, metonymies, and synecdoches, are often intrans. latable; and the corresponding words are, in the new language, often trite or obscure.
The periphrasis is a metonymy in which more words than usual are employed, as when we speak of " the Lover of Daphne,” to designate Apollo. Mr. Gibbon raises his style
very beautifully by the use of this figure. It is also common with the Orientals, as the son of Nouraddin," instead of the proper name of the person.
One of the most animated figures, when properly introduced, and managed with delicacy and judgment, is the prosopopeia or personification. It has some alliance with the meta. phor, but still more with the metonymy; and indeed seems in most cases to the latter what the allegory is to the metaphor. Thus, when we say “ Youth and beauty are laid in the dust,” it is not easy to determine whether it is a metonymy or a prosopopeia. This figure is the soul of poetry, and of lyric poetry in particular. It
“ Gives to airy nothing
“ A local habitation and a name.” In a production of an excellent poetess of our own times, there is a very fine specimen of this figure, as well as of most of the beauties of poetry
“ Loud howls the storm, the vex'd Atlantic roars,
« Hears the deep curses of the great and brave,
Sigh in the wind, and murmur in the wave! “ O'er his damp brow the sable crape he binds, « And throws his victor garland to the winds."
Miss SEWARD's Monody On Maj. ANDRE,
In all the lyric poems of Collins, you will find very fine examples of the prosopopæia. None perhaps more pleasing than the opening of his Ode to Mercy
“O thou, who sit'st a smiling bride
By valour's arm’d and awful side,
“ Who oft with songs, divine to hear,
spear, " And hid'st in wreaths of flow'rs his bloodless sword.'»
o Thou, who, amidst the deathful field,
By godlike chiefs alone beheld, “Oft with thy bosom bare art found, " Pleading for him, the youth who sinks to ground.”
Here are two very fine pictures, the embodied quality or character in two most interesting si. tuations.
There is another striking instance in a contemporary poet, which is also accompanied with a fine allusion. You will recollect the lines are addressed to Mr. Gibbon
“ Humility herself, divinely mild,
HAYLEY's Essay on History.
But though personification is particularly adapted to poetry, yet this figure serves frequently to adorn the works of the best prose writers. I have seldom found a bolder instance than one in Tacitus, An. 16. 21
" Trucidatis tot 'insignibus viris, ad postremum Nero virtutem ipsam exscindere concupi. vit, interfecto Thrasea,” &c.
66 After the slaughter of so many distin. guished men, Nero meditated at length the extirpation of virtue herself, by the murder of Thrasea."
Dr. Ogden, who is so fertile in beauties that I am obliged to have continual recourse to him, will also furnish us with another example
66 Truth (says he) is indeed of an awful presence, and must never be affronted with the rudeness of direct opposition ; yet will she consent for a moment to pass unregarded, while
your respects are offered to her sister charity.”
The use of the abstract for the concrete, as treachery, for treacherous men ; modesty, for modest men, &c. is a kind of personification, and adds greatly to the animation of a discourse, as in this instance from Junius's Letters " As for Mr. W-n, there is something in
-n bim which even treachery cannot trust."
Much of the spirit of Dr. Johnson's compositions depends upon this artful use of language; and he is, I think, improperly censured for it, by a gentleman, whose lively talents and genuine humour have often engaged and interested the first assembly in this kingdom, and who favoured the public with an excellent criticism in verse on that great man's character and writings.
The 1st rule to be observed with respect to the prosopopoeia is, that whenever it is introduced, the picture it presents should be complete. For this reason the following example is perfectly ridiculous
“ Invidious grave,
how dost thou rend in sunder " Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one."