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"Thou also, Whispering Gallery, once again didst to my ear utter monitorial sighs."

The other variety is when, under strong emotion, we vividly address the absent as present, or the dead as living. Scott, speaking of James IV.'s failure in generalship at Flodden, appeals to the long dead heroes of Bruce's day :

"O, Douglas, for thy leading wand!
Fierce Randolph, for thy speed!"

VISION. When we vividly describe the absent as present to the eye, we use the figure of vision. Goldsmith in his Deserted Village pictures the exiles :

"Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,

I see the rural virtues leave the land:

Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail,
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,

Downward they move, a melancholy band,

Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand."

Compare the famous passage in Byron (Childe Harold, Canto IV. Stanza 140), beginning:

"I see before me the Gladiator lie."

The historic present is a variety of vision.

INTERROGATION. Interrogation, or Rhetorical question, occurs when a question is put, not to elicit an answer, but to express some statement or emotion forcibly and vividly.

"Who could believe that this would happen?" is more vivid than "No one could" etc. So also in "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings."

Compare Carlyle: "Nay, what is man's whole terrestrial life but a Symbolic Representation, and making visible, of the Celestial invisible Force that is in him ?"

EXCLAMATION. Strong feeling is naturally expressed in interjections; and so for intense emotion the figure of exclamation is employed.

"Where the heart is full, it seeks, for a thousand reasons, in a thousand ways, to impart itself. How sweet, indispensable, in such cases, is fellowship; soul mystically strengthening soul!

"How sweet the merry linnet's tune,

How blithe the blackbird's lay!"

IRONY. When we state the opposite of what we mean, but with something in tone or context to suggest our real intention, we use irony. A notable instance is found in Job, ch. xii. Job's friends have been reproving him, and he begins his answer:

"No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you." "The Albemarle was under orders to convoy a fleet of transports to New York. A very pretty job,' said her captain, 'at this late season of the year' (October was far advanced) 'for our sails are at this moment frozen to the yards."

Irony is a powerful figure, especially in satire; but sometimes the ironical words are understood literally and consequently fail to produce the effect intended.

INNUENDO OR INSINUATION. Here, instead of being explicitly stated, something is merely hinted. An artist was asked to examine what was reputed to be a very fine painting. His remark was, What a splendid frame!" The insinuation was that the


painting itself was bad.

Note Addison's innuendo in the following: "Sir William Temple is very much puzzled to find out a reason why the Northern Hive, as he calls it, does not send out such prodigious swarms, and overrun the world with Goths and Vandals, as it did formerly; but had that excellent author observed that there were no students in physic among the subjects of Thor and Woden, and that this Science very much flourishes in the north at present, he might have found a better solution for his difficulty than any of those he has made use of."

EUPHEMISM. When something bad, shocking, or ugly, is glossed over from motives of delicacy or politeness, we have euphemism.

There are numerous euphemisms for death and burial, one of which appears in

"Yet still beneath the hallowed soil,

The peasant rests him from his toil."

"Very plain" is often a polite expression for "far from beautiful," i.e. "ugly."

Transferred EPITHET. This occurs when some epithet is removed from its proper word to another word in close connexion. "He called the chaplain, and desired him to deliver (what he supposed to be) his dying remembrance to Lady Nelson." Dying properly belongs to his, but is transferred to remembrance.

66 The rest, around the hostel fire,
Their drowsy limbs recline."

CLIMAX. Climax means the arranging of words, phrases, clauses, sentences, so as to rise in intensity to the close; as in the following:

"Yet now, days, weeks, and months, but seem
The recollection of a dream."

"The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve

And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind."

ANTI-CLIMAX. When, instead of a rise in intensity, there is a sudden drop, we have anti-climax. This figure is frequently used intentionally for comic effect. The first example is intentional, the second is not.

"Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take-and sometimes tea."

"And thou, Dalhoussy, the great god of war,
Lieutenant-Colonel to the Earl of Mar."

CHIASMUS. In balanced phrases or clauses, the order of the first is sometimes reversed in the second. This is called chiasmus.

"This only grant me, that my means may lie

Too low for envy, for contempt too high."

"...for whom they had fought so bravely and so profusely bled."

ASYNDETON. This occurs when the usual conjunctions are omitted; as in

"I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows."

"From art more various are the blessings sent;

Wealth, commerce, honour, liberty, content."

Since, in asyndeton, the details follow close on each other, they receive additional energy and vividness.

POLYSYNDETON. Here there is a superabundance of conjunctions, which lays stress on each particular.

"Contented toil, and hospitable care,

And kind connubial tenderness are there ;
And piety with wishes placed above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love."

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God."


This consists in repeating a

word or phrase at the beginning of successive sentences, or parts of a sentence.

"No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale, No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail ; No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear, Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear." "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world?"

EPISTROPHE. When similar repetition ends sentences or parts of sentences, it is termed epistrophe; as "We are born to sorrow, pass our time in sorrow, end our days in sorrow." Compare Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, v. i. 193 sqq.

This final repeat acts like a musical refrain, and often ends successive paragraphs with great effect. See Job, ch. i. 15-19; Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World, Letter 27.


Sometimes epanaphora and epistrophe are employed together;

"Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them."


When a weak expression is used to suggest a stronger, we have litotes. "Some of them did us no great honour by their claims of kindred; as we had the blind, the maimed, and the halt amongst the number." No great honour means very much dishonour.

PROLEPSIS OR ANTICIPATION. Prolepsis occurs when future events are spoken of as already past or as now present.

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"For me, the widow's mate expires.' Here the wife is called widow by anticipation, though she is widow only after her mate expires.


Sometimes a writer intentionally uses first a weak or inadequate expression, and then corrects it. He shows, as it were, his thoughts moving towards the conclusion. This figure has also the effect of climax.

"In every French head there hangs now, whether for terror or for hope, some prophetic picture of a New France: prophecy which brings, nay which almost is, its own fulfilment."

"Hundreds perished in the sea-hundreds did I say? nay, thousands."

APOSIOPESIS. This figure occurs when a sudden stop is made in the middle of a statement, the conclusion being understood from tone, gesture, or context.

"...large Fire-flies, which people stick upon spits, and illuminate the ways with at night. Persons of condition can thus travel with a pleasant radiance, which they much admire. Great honour to the Fire-flies! But!"


XXXII. Point out the force and the suitability of the following metaphors and similes.




Remote from towns, he ran his godly race.

Life, like a spent steed, is panting towards the goal.
A horseman, darting from the crowd,
Like lightning from a summer cloud,
Spurs on his mettled courser proud,
Before the dark array.

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