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§ 3. And as there are two kinds of Hyperbole^ so there are various ways by which they are expressed. As,

(1) In plain and direct terms:

High o'er the winds and storms the mountain bears, And on its top recline the weary stars *.

And Milton, speaking of Satan and Death on {he point of engagement, says,

So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell
Grew darker at their frown f

(2) An Hyperbole is expressed by similitude or comparison. Thus Virgil, describing a seafight, says,

At once they rusti to conflict: all the sea
Foams with the dashing oars and forky prows,
As if the Cyclades uprooted swam
The ocean, or with mountains mountains wag'd
Enormous battle on th'afflicted deep J.

So Pindar compares an attack of Hercules

ls' •"' upon

* $tat sublimis apex, ventosque imbresque screnus Despicit, & tantum feffis insiditur astris.

Statii Thtb. lib. ii. ver. 3J.

\ Paradise Lost, book ii. ver. 719,.

$ Una omnes ruere, & totnm spumare reductis
Convulsum remis rostrisque tridentibus aequor.
Alta petunt; pelago credas innare revulsas
Cycladas, aut montes concurrere montibus altos.

Æmid, lib. viii. ver. 689.

upon the inhabitants of Cos, not to winds, or seas, or fires, but to a thunderbolt *.

(3) An Hyper hie is expressed by a strong Metaphor f, Thus we call a very virtuous character an angel, and a very vicious one, a fiend or devil: we fay a drunkard is a swine, and an extortioner a wolf or harpy. Cicero furnishes us with an Hyperbole of this kind in one of his Orations against Verres: "There was lately in "Sicily not that Dionysius, nor that Phala"Ris, for that island has produced a succession "of cruel tyrants, but a certain new monster, s** the spawn of that ancient barbarity, which is "said to have infested that country; for it is "my opinion, that neither Cbarybdis nor Scylla "have been so destructive to mariners, as what "this monster has been in the fame straits %."

G 4 § 4.

* Nee igni, nee ventis, nee mari, fed fulmini dicit similem}esse, ut ilia minora, hoc par esset. Quintil. lib. viii. cap, 6. § 2.

-J- Dr Ward observes, that an Hyperbole is principally metaphorical, but sometimes taken from other Tropes; as, when instead of saying Cato was a very virtuous man, VslLeius Paterculus calls him the image of virtue, it is an hyperbolical Metonymy of the adjunct for the subject. Ward's System of Oratory, vol. ii. page 24.

J Versabatur in Sicilia non Dionysius ille, nee Phalaris, tulit enim ilia quondam infala multos & crudeles tyrannos, fed quoddam novum monstmm ex ilia vetere hamanitate, quæ in iisdem locis versata esse dicitur. Non enim Charybdim tarn infestam, neque Scyllam navibus, quam istum in eodem freto fuiffe arbitror. Cicer. Oral. 7. in Verrem, $ 56.

j 4. Before we quit the Hyperbole, it may be proper to subjoin the following remarks.

(1) It appears that the Hyperbole, when'it is expressed in plain and direct terms, is only common language, and neither Trope nor Figure •, and that when it is expressed by a militude, it is a Figure, but no Trope-; for there is no alienation of a word from a common to a borrowed fense, in which, as, has been observed, the very essence of a Trope consists. It appears further, that when the Hyperbole is expressed by a strong Metaphor, as in the third cafe, it is rather to be considered as a particular species of the Metaphor than a distinct and particular kind of Trope. But yet as all the Writers on Rhetoric, as far as I have observed, place the Hyperbole among the Tropes, and assign it a division by itself, I have accordingly discoursed concerning it.

(2) The ground of the Hyperbole seems to lie in the difficulty of conveying to others the ardor and extent of our ideas, and therefore we venture beyond the boundaries of truth, that the mind of the hearer without any further labour may reach as far as the truth at once.

"We are allowed, fays Quintiljan, to speak "beyond the truth, because we cannot exactly *< strike upon the truth; and it is better we « should go beyond, than not attain the truth in

our discourses *." "Every Hyperbole, fays


* Conceditur enim amplius dicere, quia dici quantum est

■on "Seneca, is extended with this view, that by "falfhood it may arrive at the truth. So he "who said,


"In colour whiter than the snow,
"In swiftness fleeter than the wind,

"said indeed what was impossible -, but it was "with a design, that as much as was possible "might be credited. In like manner he who "said, '., , ''

"He is less moveable than rocks, .' : ,

"And more impetuous than the sea,

"did not imagine that he should persuade man"kind that there was any person so immoveable "as a rock. An Hyperbole never expects so "much as it dares; but affirms what is incredi"ble, thaf it may reach what-is credible *."

(3) The Hyperbole is one of the boldest freedoms in all'language. It is a most exquisite, elevated, and impassioned form of speech. Like

a flame

«on potest; meliusque ultra quam citra stat oratio. Quint. lib. viii. cap. 6. § 2.

* In hoc omnis Hyperbole extenditur, ut ad veram mendacio veniat. Itaque qui dixit,

Qui candore nives anteirent, cursibus auras:

quod non po'terat fieri, dixit; ut crederetur quantum plurimum posset. Et qui dixit,

His immobilior seopulis, violentior amne s ne hoc quidem fe persuasorum putavit, aliquem tam immobilem esse, quam scopulum. Nunquam tantum sperat Hyperbola, quantum audet; fed incredibilia affirmat, ut ad credibilia perveniat. Senec. dt Beneficiis, lib.vii. 5 23.

a flame from a strong internal fire, it breaks out at once into a blaze, and mounts with an irresistible power and rapidity to heaven itself.

(4) Great judgment is required in the use of the Hyperbole, To this end let us remember, that there must be some truth or resemblance^ that must be laid as the foundation of the Hyperbole., though the superstructure is allowed to rise, and enlarge itself far above and beyond it. If there is no truth nor resemblance in the Hyperbole, our compositions are wretchedly debased, and the understandings of our audience art hurt and affronted, when they should be entertained arid charmed. "But as to the Hyperbole itself, «* says Quintilian, let there be some measure

observed; for though every Hyperbole is be"yond belief, yet it ought not to be beyond V- bounds, nor is there a more ready way to the .-*« .bombast, than a transgression in this kind. It "would be disagreeable to repeat how many er"rors have sprung from this source, especially "as, they are far from being secret and unknown. « It is sufficient to say, that the Hyperbole speaks "what is false, but not so as to desire to deceive "by its falfhood; upon which account we should « be very careful how far we may exceed with «, propriety, and where it is that we are to stop *."


* Sed hujus quoque rei scrvetur mensura quædam; quamvis enim est omnis Hyperbole ultra fidem, non tamen esse debet ultra modum, nec alia magis via in xa*o£«tfu«» itur. Pi. get-referre plurima hinc orta vitia, cum præsertim minime sint • i • ignota

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