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is changed to an exclamation of surprise. It is, therefore, a form of speech different from the ordinary mode of expression, yet a form both forcible and natural.


Figures are natural and necessary; they should not be considered as mere ornaments, which render a discourse more pleasing, and which may be used or rejected at pleasInstead of being inventions of art, they are the natural and, therefore, the universal forms, in which excited imagination and passion manifest themselves. The young and the old, the barbarous and the civilized, all employ them unconsciously. Excited feeling manifests itself in the movements of the body; much more will it leave its impress on language. For a person under great excitement to express the thoughts that agitate him in the ordinary, logical forms, would be as unnatural as for one whose mind is perfectly calm to employ the language of passion. Figures also express that which is abstract, difficult, or general, more clearly than a literal statement could do. Hence, figures increase the strength and beauty of style (1) by enriching the language, (2) by heightening the expression of emotion, (3) by giving clearness to abstract ideas.

The ancients observed carefully the distinction between Figures and Tropes, but modern writers use the one term Figure to cover the whole subject, whether the deviation be in the form of the sentence or in the meaning of a particular word. Tropes (Greek tropé, turning,) are single words used figuratively. The figures called synecdoche, metonymy, and metaphor are tropes.

The most important figures are Simile, Metaphor, Per sonification, Allegory, Synecdoche, Metonymy, Apostro phe, Vision, Interrogation, Exclamation, Repetition, Climax, Antithesis, Epigram, Irony, Hyperbole.

Figures of Rhetoric have been variously classified, but the numerous and complicated classifications are useless to the learner. Figures accomplish a twofold purpose: (1) they reproduce ideas with something of the fullness and vividness of objects of sense; (2) they give emphasis to the thoughts which the writer wishes to impress on his hearers. Some figures are better adapted to the first of these purposes, others to the second. We may, therefore, divide them into two main classes: (1) Figures of Intuition. (2) Figures of Emphasis.

The former present an idea to the imagination in a sensible form; the latter present no picture to the imagination, but emphasize some thought. These two divisions would separate figures of speech thus:

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Simile, or Comparison, consists in formally likening one thing to another that in its nature is essentially different, but which it resembles in some properties. This fig ure is often as necessary to the exhibition of the thought, as it is ornamental to the language by which that thought is conveyed. The comparison is oftenest denoted by the word like, but as, so, just as, similar to, and many more

expressions, may be used for the purpose; and sometimes the formal term of comparison may be omitted. Note the following simile with the formal word of comparison:

"At first, like thunder's distant tone,

The rattling din came rolling on."

Without the comparing word: "Too much indulgence does not strengthen the mind of the young; plants raised with tenderness are seldom strong.'


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A simile does not always state a direct resem-
Sometimes the resemblance is

blance between objects.

between causes; as,


"I scarcely understand my own intent;

But silkworm-like, so long within have wrought,
That I am lost in my own web of thought."

Sometimes the resemblance is one of effects; as, "Often, like the evening sun, comes the memory of former times on my soul."

Relations. Sometimes the resemblance is one of relations; as, "Faith is to despair as the stars to the blackness of night"; "Reason is to faith as the eye to the telescope.

Mere likeness does not of itself constitute a simile. When objects are compared in respect of quantity or degree, or to see how they differ, there is no simile. If we should compare one town to another town, one tree to another tree, one statesman to another statesman, Hannibal to Alexander, Longfellow to Tennyson, there would be no simile. It is only when the objects compared are of a different kind, and the comparison traces internal resemblance, that the comparison becomes a figure of similitude.

In the use of similes the following rules should be observed:

RULE I. The objects compared should not have too close and obvious a resemblance to each other.

RULE II.-Objects in which the likeness is too faint and remote should not be compared.

RULE III.-Objects should not be compared to other objects with which ordinary readers are unacquainted.

RULE IV. In describing sublime objects we should not draw our comparisons from what is mean or low; nor should we associate what is trivial with grand and elevated objects.

Such comparisons may be proper in mock-heroic or burlesque. In such writings the author aims to bring an object into ridicule by associating it with something ridiculous; but in serious discourse the aim is just the opposite, hence the comparisons should be of a pleasing and elevating char


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RULE V. When strong passion is to be expressed, comparisons should be avoided.


DIRECTION.-Point out the similes in the following sentences, and show the nature of resemblance between the objects compared:

1. Cowards, whose hearts are all as false as stairs of sand.

2. Her skin is as smooth as monumental alabaster.

3. This morning, like the spirit of a youth that means to be of note, begins betimes.

4. Kings are like stars-they rise and set.

5. States, as great engines, move slowly.

6. Her face is like the milky way in the sky, a meeting of gentle lights without a name.

7. Glories, like glow-worms, afar off shine bright; but looked to near, have neither heat nor light.

8. Out of the earth a huge fabric rose, like an exhalation.

9. Woe succeeds woe; as wave, a wave.

10. Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.

II. So mayst thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop into thy mother's lap.

12. This is the arsenal; from floor to ceiling, like a huge organ rise the burnished arms.

13. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start.

14. Our hopes, like towering falcons, aim at objects in an airy height. 15. His words like so many nimble and airy servitors, trip about him at command.

16. Satire should, like a polished razor keen,

Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen.

17. Books, like proverbs, receive their chief value from the stamp and esteem of ages through which they have passed.

18. The vulgar intellectual palate thinks nothing good that does not go off with a pop like a champagne cork.

19. A false friend and a shadow attend only when the sun shines.

DIRECTION.- Find apt resemblances, and complete the comparisons here begun :


1. Fortune is fickle

2. Man's life fleeth

3. An evil conscience is like

4. The cultivation of the mind

5. Thy tears must flow

6. A sad tale — is best for winter.

7. Cunning leads to knavery

8. The front of the English army disappeared

9. The cuirassiers hurled themselves upon the English squares·

10. Their lives glide on

II. These temples grew

12. Good counsel rejected returns to enrich the giver's bosom

13. And darkness and doubt are now flying away

14. Gentle means sometimes accomplish what harsh measures can

15. This water is as pure

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