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necessary to state that this practice is strongly to be reproved. When we exhaust the superlatives of our language on trivial objects or common occasions, what is to be done for terms fitted to express the really great or sublime? Besides, morally speaking, it has a pernicious effect; for when we once contract the habit of indulging in exaggerated language, no one knows how far it may carry us beyond the bounds of truth.'
Litotes is a form of expression precisely the reverse of hyperbole. It consists in giving emphasis to an idea by using terms that convey less than the truth; as, “Show thyself a man,” meaning that the person spoken to is urged to put forth the noblest qualities of manhood. A common form of this figure is the denial of the contrary idea instead of a direct statement; as, “I do not think him a great man,” meaning that he is not only not great, but is even inferior to most men.
DIRECTION. —Point out the hyperboles below, and state whether the object is magnified or diminished:
1. I saw their chief, tall as a rock of ice; his spear the blasted fir; his shield the rising moon; he sat on the shore like a cloud of mist on the hill.
2. And thou, Bethlehem in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah.
3. An enemy not to be despised.
8. Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
9. And panting Time toil after him in vain. 10. His spear, to equal which the tallest pine hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast of some great ammiral, were but a wand, he walked with.
II. A lover may bestride the Gossamer
That idles in the wanton summer air
12. Here Orpheus sings; trees, moving to the sound,
Start from their roots, and form a shade around.
13. The waves leaped mountain high.
14. The world is grown so base, that wrens may prey where eagles dare not perch.
15. Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus; and we petty men walk under his huge legs, and peep about to find ourselves dishonorable graves.
16. Falstaff, thou globe of flesh, spotted o'er with continents of sin.
DIRECTION. —Study these sentences very carefully, find the figures they contain,- sometimes two or more in a sentence,- and name and classify them:
1. Grim-visaged war hath smoothed his wrinkled front.
4. Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous ? or is it gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect? Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment ?
5. Time has laid his hand
Upon my heart, gently, not smiting it,
6. O Art, my Art, thou 'rt much, but Love is more!
Art symbolizes heaven, but Love is God
7. Who builds his hope in air of your fair looks,
Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast;
Into the fatal bowels of the deep. 8. Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.
9. His reasons are as two grains of wheat hid in two bushels of chaff.
10. The gown quarreled with the town. 11. The bench should be incorruptible.
12. Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes, whom envy hath immured within your walls; rough cradle for such little pretty ones! Rude ragged nurse, old sullen play-fellow for tender princes, use my babies well!
13. Lowliness is young ambition's ladder.
14. Your words, they rob the Hybla bees, and leave them honeyless.
15. There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.
16. He could not believe that he was such a bad oar as the old hands make him out to be.
17. Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope the Lord's anointed temple, and stole thence the life o' the building.
18. Who steals my purse steals trash.
19. Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand ? No: this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green
-- one red. 20. The pew not unfrequently has got beyond the teaching of the pulpit.
21. Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased, pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow, raze out the written troubles of the brain; und with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff, which weighs upon the heart?
22. There is no English soul stronger to direct you than yourself, if with the sap of reason you would quench, or but allay, the fire of passion.
23. But all hoods make not monks. 24. You have by fortune and his highness' favors, gone slightly o'er low steps; and now are mounted where powers are your retainers; and your words, domestics to you, serve your will, as 't please yourself pronounce their office.
25. A noble spirit, as yours was put into you, ever casts such doubts, as false coin, from it.
26. Now I feel of what coarse metal ye are molded-envy.
27. I have touched the highest point of all my greatness; and, from that full meridian of my glory, I haste now to my setting.
28. Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons ? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven ? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth ?
29. This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth the tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms, and bears his blushing honors thick upon him; the third day, comes a frost, a killing frost; and—when he thinks, good easy man, full surely his greatness is a-ripening-nips his root, and then he falls, as I do.
30. The mountains saw thee and they trembled; the overflowing of the water passed by; the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high.
31. If you blow your neighbor's fire, don't complain if the sparks fly in your face.
32. With arms outstretched, the druid Wood waits with his benedicite.
33. Say, I taught thee, say, Wolsey—that once trod the ways of glory, and sounded all the depths and shoals of honor—found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in.
34. His promises were, as he then was, mighty; but his performance, as he is now, nothing.
35. Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.
36. I am right glad to catch this good occasion most thoroughly to be winnowed, where my chaff and corn shall ny asunder.
37. Trumpet, blow loud, send thy brass voice through all these lazy tents.
38. O farewell, dear Hector. Look, how thou diest! look, how thy eye turns pale! look, how thy wounds do bleed at many vents! Hark, how Troy roars! how Hecuba cries out! how poor Andromache shrills her dolors forth! Behold, destruction, frenzy, and amazement, like witless antics, one another meet, and all cry-Hector ! Hector's dead! O Hector!
39. O earth, so full of dreary noises !
O men with wailing in your voices !
O delved gold the wailers heap!
And giveth His beloved sleep.
40. They boast they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts, and free us from the yoke of error. Yes, they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice, and pride.
41. Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath ?
Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death?
42. Come and trip it, as you go, on the light fantastic toe.
46. There the strawy Greeks, ripe for his edge, fall down before him, like the mower's swath.
47. My mind is troubled, like a fountain stirred; and I myself see not the bottom of it.
48. Welcome ever smiles, and Farewell goes out sighing.
52. Her hand, in whose comparison all whites are ink, writing their own reproach; to whose soft seizure the cygnet's down is harsh
53. Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in death they were not divided. They were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions.
54. Every flower did, as a prophet, weep what it foresaw in Hector's wrath.
55. The lamp burns low in the silent chamber.