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well-informed person is presumed to have read, such as "Pilgrim's Progress," "Esop's Fables," "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments," "Plutarch's Lives," and the leading events of history.
Allusions may be made to customs, to phrases, to science, to almost every known object of thought, and often they are understood by only a few who hear them.
Dr. Bushnell, in a lecture before a learned assembly, said:
"The universities will be filled with a profound spirit of religion, and the bene orasse will be a fountain of inspiration."
Who could understand that who did not know that Luther's favorite motto was "6 Bene orasse est bene studuisse;" that is, "To have prayed well is to have studied well?"
Fuller, in describing an elegant writer, says:
"He was excellent at the flat hand of rhetoric, which gives rather pats than blows; but he could not bend his fist to dispute."
This has special force to one reminded of the remark of Cicero, that Zeno compared Rhetoric and Logic respectively to the flat hand and the fist.*
Some allusions are exceedingly beautiful, because they suggest a new meaning to old expressions. Thus Longfellow, describing a tract of country troubled with insects because the people had killed the birds, says:
"Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,
* Cicero, de Oratore, lib. xxxii.
Two historical facts and two Herods are alluded to in these lines. Herod the Great "slaughtered the innocents" at Bethlehem, and the first Herod Agrippa was "devoured by worms," as is related in the 12th chapter of "The Acts of the Apostles." These histories are suggested, and the expressions are clothed with beauty by the poet.
"When I think," says Carlyle, "that Music is condemned to be mad, and to burn herself on such a funeral pile, your celestial operahouse grows dark."
Here allusion is made to the old Hindoo custom of suttee, or of the voluntary burning of the widow on the funeral pile of her husband.
How pleasant is the allusion to Dr. Franklin's discovery of the identity of electricity and lightning by Thomas Hood, in a poem on the pleasures of childhood! It seems also that in childhood he "wrote compositions:"
"My kite-how fast and far it flies!
So grave a historian as Merivale draws an illustration from pugilism when he represents Rome as "squaring with the world."*
Webster, in his beautiful description of the Bunker Hill Monument, says:
"Nor does the rising sun cause tones of music to issue from its summit."
*Merivale's History of the Romans under the Empire (London, 1862, vol. vii. p. 380).
Who would suppose that the sun would draw music out of a pile of stone, had he not heard of the famous statue of Memnon in Egypt, of which Herodotus relates that the rays of the morning sun evoked music from the rock?
But we must end these illustrations, for we find their supply
"Thick as the autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
24. The Innuendo.-What has been called Innuen
do, or Insinuation, falls properly under the head of Allusion. It is however generally confined to obscure allusions to objects or facts that tend to lower our estimation of the person or sentiment which we are describing.
Thus Burke, in his celebrated speech on American taxation, described General Conway as having be friended Americans by a motion in Parliament, but intimated that he was now betraying their cause for a bribe.
“All England, all America joined in his applause. 'Hope elevated, and joy brightened his crest.' I stood near him; and his face, to use the expression of the Scripture of the first martyr, 'his face was as it had been the face of an angel.' I do not know how others feel, but if I had stood in that situation, I never would have exchanged it for all that kings in their profusion could bestow."
The covert meaning of the last expression is evident.
25. Pedantic Allusions. Some allusions are so learned as to be justly termed pedantic, unless there is good reason to believe that the persons addressed are familiar with the subject.
RULES ON ALLUSIONS.
26. Practical Directions.-The following practical directions on this subject should be observed:
(1.) Let the allusion spring up spontaneously from a thought in the mind, and not be laboriously sought by consulting a cyclopædia simply for the occasion.
(2.) Let the allusion be appropriate, and really add force or beauty to the sentiment.
(3.) Let it be suited to the occasion, and be drawn from subjects familiar to the persons addressed, and not degrade nor elevate the sentiment inappropriately.
(4.) If it is obscure, interpose a word of explanation so that it may be understood.
Abundant information, a prerequisite to genuine eloquence, will exhibit itself largely in comparisons and allusions.
27. Definitions and Examples.-A METAPHOR is an implied comparison. One great source of the power of a metaphor is its condensation.
Every trope may be regarded as a metaphor, but there are metaphors that can not be called tropes. A trope consists of a single expression, a metaphor may consist of many words.
In a metaphor the words-whether used literally or not actually suggest a conception different from their original signification. In a trope one word is used in a figurative sense; in a metaphor the idea expressed by the whole sentence is to be understood in a figurative sense.
The sentence "Sin, though sometimes sweet, is always bitter," contains two tropes, sweet and bitter being used out of their natural sense. But Dr. South, speaking of sin, says: "Sin is bitter-sweet; the fine colors of the serpent by no means make amends for the poison of his sting."
This last sentence, though true literally, is also true figuratively, and it is the figurative sense attached to it that makes it a metaphor. In this sense it means that, just as the fine colors of a serpent will not