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making any response to us. This grade of Personification is frequently, if not generally, called Apostrophe, meaning to turn away — “a turning away from the real auditory, and addressing an absent or imaginary one.” The following are examples:-
“ Roll on thou deep and dark blue ocean roll.
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain."
“ Sail forth into the sea, O ship,
Through wind and wave, right onward steer.”
Strictly, however, Apostrophe is limited to an address to a real person, but one absent or dead, as if he were present and listening to the speaker; as, -
“ Milton, thou should'st be living at this hour.
England has need of thee.”
“ Great father of your country, we heed your words, we feel them as if you uttered them with lips of flesh and blood.”
In its restricted sense, an Apostrophe is never Personification; for there is only the supposition that persons who are · absent or dead are present. This assumed identity between the imagined person and the real one is the ground for classifying this figure with those of Comparison. In the highest form of Personification, the object is both personified and addressed, giving it a claim to both classes.
Another variety of Implied Comparison, and one closely resembling Apostrophe, is Vision. Vision differs from Apostrophe in the fact that Vision merely narrates or describes, while Apostrophe addresses or invokes persons. An object or event, in the past or future, may make so vivid an impression that it seems to be present, as in this passage from Webster's description of a murder:
“ The assassin enters, through the window already prepared, into an unoccupied apartment. With noiseless foot he paces the lonely hall half-lighted by the moon; he winds up the ascent of the stairs, and reaches the door of the chamber.”
The last variety of Comparison to be noted here is the Hyperbole. Hyperbole breaks down the truth limitations of size and degree; while Vision, that of time and distance. In Hyperbole, the object, under excited emotion, is exaggerated beyond the limits required by sober judgment, and the exaggerated object presented as if it were the true one; as, “His hands dangled a mile out of his sleeves.” “His muscles strong as iron bands."
Allegory. — An Allegory is usually defined as an extended Metaphor, both being implied comparisons, differing only in length. But the more fundamental distinction is the fact that in the Allegory the comparison is more hidden, making the degree of implication rather than length the basis of its classification. The Allegory is usually, and it may always be, longer than the Metaphor, but this is an accident of its more fundamental quality. Haven says: “It must not be supposed that allegories are necessarily long. They are often brief.” Our definition must, therefore, contain some mark of distinction other than that of length.
If it should be said that Israel is like an empty vine, a Simile would be formed; both terms of comparison, “Israel” and “empty vine,” being brought before the mind and their resemblance expressed by the word “like.” If it should be said that Israel is an empty vine, there would be formed a Metaphor; both terms of comparison being brought before the mind and their identity asserted by the copula. But if the vine, the representative term, alone should be presented, in brief or at length, in such a way as to make it clear that Israel was meant, without bringing the two objects directly together, the figure would be an Allegory. When Longfellow says, “My life is cold, and dark, and dreary,” the terms of comparison are intentionally brought together, as in the Metaphor; but when, in the second stanza, after having described the rainy day and his life in terms of it, he says, “It rains, and the wind is never weary,” the secondary, or representative object, only one is mentioned; thus leaving the mind to infer the object which the sentence is intended to describe and forming an Allegory. At first this line appears to be literal; and reflection is required to discern that he means to speak of life, and not the rain and wind. Thus there is a regular graduation from the Simile to the Allegory, — Simile having two terms compared; Metaphor having two terms with comparison omitted; Allegory, expressing only one term, and that the secondary, with the comparison and the primary object to be discovered. The Simile is the clearest, and must be used when the others would be obscure; the Allegory is most obscure, requiring most labor from the mind, but yielding the more pleasure through the greater freedom of discovery which it permits to the imagination.
It thus appears that the chief fact about an Allegory is not its length, but the manner in which it expresses its truth. It may consist of a single statement, as in the example from Longfellow; or it may fill a volume, as in “ Pilgrim's Progress.” They may vary in length, but in one point they cannot vary; namely, that the mind must be left to make out, by its own ingenuity, the primary object of comparison. Therefore, an Allegory may be defined as a figure of comparison in which the representative object only is presented, leaving the mind to make out, by its own ingenuity, the primary object. “ An Allegory,” says Haven, “is a fictitious narrative or description so constructed as to suggest thoughts and facts entirely different from those which it appears to relate.” Webster's Dictionary marks clearly the true distinction: “ A figurative sentence or discourse, in which the principal subject is described by another subject resembling it in its properties and circumstances. The principal subject is thus kept out of view, and we are left to collect the intentions of the writer or speaker by the resemblance of the secondary to the primary subject.”
It is not necessary, in fact not permissible, for the Allegory to be so hidden as to puzzle the reader. The meaning should be plain, but must not be pointed out. Indeed, a few words of explanation at the outset in order to put the reader on the right track are allowable. This figure does not prevent the mention of the primary object in the course of presentation; yet it must be so done as to leave the mind to decide that it is the primary object. One may not read far in “ Pilgrim's
Progress” till he discovers the subject of discussion; but the remainder does not then cease to be allegorical, because each part has a new application to some phase of the theme. When Longfellow says,
“ Be still sad heart and cease repining,
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining," he forms an Allegory in the second line, although the general theme, life, has been mentioned; but the thought of happiness beyond the present trials is left for the reader to supply.
The Allegory is very extensively used, and often constitutes the literary embodiment of an entire discourse. Many good specimens are found in the Bible, all the Saviour's parables being allegorical; for example, the parable of the Prodigal Son. The eighteenth Psalm contains a neat example:
“ Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt; thou hast cast out the heathen and planted it. Thou prepardest room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her ? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine.”
The following are distinguished examples of the Allegory, and may be further studied to impress the nature, beauty, and force of this figure:
Bryant's “ Waiting by the Gate,” Longfellow's “ Building the Ship,” Poe's “ Raven” and “Haunted Palace,” Hawthorne's