Imágenes de páginas

the poets and orators. Thus Milton's apostrophe to

light is eminently beautiful:


Hail, holy light! offspring of heaven, first-born,
Or of the eternal, co-eternal beam,

May I express thee unblam'd, since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light

Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee!
Bright effluence of bright essence increate!
Or hear'st thou rather, pure etherial stream,
Whose fountain who can tell? Before the sun,
Before the heavens, thou wert; and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest

The rising world of waters, dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the stygian pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn; while in my flight,
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphéan lyre,
I sang of Chaos and eternal Night.
Taught by the heavenly muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Through hard and rare; thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp. But thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn ;
So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veil'd."


Young apostrophizes night:

"O majestic night!

Nature's great ancestor! Day's elder born!
And fated to survive the transient sun!

By mortals and immortals seen with awe!
A starry crown thy raven brow adorns;

An azure zone thy waist; clouds in heaven's loom,
Wrought through varieties of shape and shade,
In ample folds of drapery divine,

Thy flowing mantle form, and heaven throughout
Voluminously pour thy pompous train."


Byron apostrophizes the ocean thus:

"Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form Glasses itself in tempests! In all time,

Calm or convulsed, in breeze, in gale, or storm,

Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime

Dark heaving; boundless, endless, and sublime!
The image of eternity! the throne

Of the invisible !"

Thomson addresses the shades and thickets by the


"Welcome, ye shades! ye bowery thickets, hail!

Ye lofty pines! ye venerable oaks !

Ye ashes wild resounding o'er the steep!
Delicious is your shelter to the soul

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

As to the hunted hart the sallying spring,

Or stream full flowing, that his swelling sides
Laves, as he floats along the herbag'd brink.
Cool through the nerves your pleasing comfort glides;
The heart beats glad, the fresh expanded eye

And ear resume their watch; the sinews knit;

And life shoots swift through all the lighten'd limbs."

Young's address to the lilies is a fine example of the figure:

"Queen lilies! and ye painted populace

Who dwell in fields, and lead ambrosial lives!

In morn and evening dew your beauties bathe,
And drink the sun, which gives your cheeks to glow,
And outblush.mine excepted-every fair;

You gladlier grew, ambitious of her hand,
Which often cropt your odors, incense meet
To thought so pure. Ye lovely fugitives!
Coeval race with man; for man you smile;
Why not smile at him too! you share indeed
His sudden pass, but not his constant pain."

The figure differs from the metaphor. 1. In that it is an address to the person or object which is its subject. The metaphor is not an address to its subject, but affirms something respecting it. 2. That which the apostrophe declares of its subject is in harmony with its nature, and literally true of it;

that which the metaphor ascribes to its subject is not literally true, but only resembles that which is literally true of it.

The figure thus admits of a bold and full portraiture of the persons or objects addressed, in a highly poetic form, employing the metaphor, comparison, metonymy, hyperbole, and hypocatastasis as its auxiliaries, as freely as though the discourse were a description or narrative.

What is an apostrophe! Does it admit a description of the person or object, addressed? Are the properties and acts it ascribes to its subjects such as accord with their nature? How does it differ from the metaphor? What is its influence on a composition!

Where does the pause fall in the lines from Milton, "Hail, holy light, offspring of heaven first-born"? Which of the lines commence with a trochee? Where does the casura fall in Young's lines, “Queen lilies! and ye painted populace" }


There are in the first twelve lines of Milton's apostrophe to light, eight metaphors, and one comparison. Which are they? There are in the other lines several metaphors. Which are


There are in Young's apostrophe to night, fourteen metaphors, counting such expressions as elder-born, starry-crown, and ravenbrow as one. Point them out.

Let the scholar give an example of the figure from the Scriptures. Let one be given from a poet.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]



THE Prosopopoeia, or Personification, is an ascription of intelligence to an impersonal thing, material or mental, by addressing it as though it had the organs of hearing, sight, or motion; or ascribing to it the passions and actions of men. Thus Moses, in his prophetic song to the congregation of Israel (Deut. xxxii. 1-43), summoned the heavens and the earth to listen to his words:

"Give ear, 0 ye heavens, and I will speak; And hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

My doctrine shall drop as the rain;

My speech shall distil as the dew;

As the small rain upon the tender herb,
And as the showers upon the grass;
Because I will publish the name of the Lord,
Ascribe ye greatness unto our God."

« AnteriorContinuar »