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in. CONFLUENCE is still used literally to denote the junction of streams, which then flow together; and Johnson, in his Dictionary, quotes examples of AFFLUENCE and AFFLUENT with their primary significations.
ANGEL (Latin angelus from the Greek aggelos) originally signified a messenger, and was so understood by Ben Jonson, when he termed the Nightingale
"The dear good angel of the spring." We might add hundreds of other instances in which foreign words have left the literal, and confined themselves to the metaphorical, meanings. Indeed, the double set of words, thereby produced, constitutes the peculiar characteristic of the English tongue; and, he who is not well aware of the distinctions thus created is incapa-.ble of appreciating the language of his country. Even in those words which are purely English, that is, such as were known to our Saxon ancestors, the literal signification is generally laid aside, wherever the monosyllables are compounded. The verb TO FULFILL may serve as an example: its present acceptation is to accomplish completely (or fully) the object intended. But the words taken singly (to fill full) denote the filling of a vessel until it can hold no more; and
in this sense they were, at one time, generally written. Thus, in Cranmer's version of Isaiah:
"Let there a way be sought to destroy their children that be in their fathers' wickedness, that they come not up again to possess the land, and fill the world full of enemies.'
To fill would now be reckoned sufficient, without the additional word full.
In the prologue to Troilus and Cressida, supposed to have been written by Ben Jonson, the words are conjoined:
"Their braue Pauillions, Priam's six-gated City,
To fulfill, in its figurative sense, was chosen by divines to signify the final accomplishment of a prophecy, which, for ages, was gradually accomplishing, or filling, and became complete (filled up) in what they called the fulness of time. To fill, as in a vessel, is the primary usage of the word, while all its metaphorical applications may be, and generally are, expressed by compounds of the Greek plao (and its old Latin derivative pleo) I fill; from which our Dictionaries
have been enriched by about eighty words, whose composition is unknown to the mere English scholar.
It is generally believed that the first written language was a painting, or other actual representation, of the things themselves of which an idea was to be conveyed; and, as far as material objects were concerned, it was, thereby, possible to communicate the thought. Thus, the figure of a Lion, standing over a mangled body, might denote that a man had been killed by a Lion; and, if there were added a crescent, the time would be fixed to that of the new moon. But, were we to express our doubts of the intentions of a pretended friend, we might depict him in the act of holding out a heart partially covered with a veil. The former painting would be a delineation of facts as they occurred, but the figures in the latter would be SYMBOLS, (Greek syn, together and ballo, I throw) because, representing certain objects, they conjoin the ideas of other things,the picture is symbolical. Symbols, therefore, in picture-writing, were equivalent to metaphors, in the spoken and written language of the present day: the olive-branch was the symbol of peace, and the laurel wreath was woven to decorate the brow of the conqueror.
OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE GENERALLYDIFFERENT SPECIES OF TROPES.
Rhetoricians, in their arragements, have usually divided verbal metaphors into various species, with different names, and classed the whole under the general head of TROPES: a term from the Greek trepo, I turn. These treat of the different senses in which the same word may be underderstood in the same language, in consequence of the various forms or shapes which the imagination may cause it to assume. These Forms, or Shapes, are also termed FIGURES; and every expression which differs from the natural expression of the thought is Figurative. The word Figure, however, is applied to the Grammatical forms of words as well as to the Rhetorical. The elision of a letter, or of a syllable, for example,-as e'er for ever; wintry for wintery &c., (so common in poetry,) is a Figure, called SynThis and others of a like kind belong to Grammar properly so called; and, therefore, for the purpose of distinction, the Figures of Rhetoric, as far as they concern the signification of
Words, are termed Tropes. In the manner that we have spoken of Metaphors, in the preceding Chapter, Tropes and Metaphors would seem to be synonymous. The fact is that, in ordinary language, the word Metaphor includes all those Figures that are termed Tropes. The latter is merely a more scientific denomination; because it has been adopted whenever Rhetoric has been treated as an art. In the arrangement of Du Marsais, Metaphor is one of the species of Tropes, being that which is founded on an imaginary resemblance.
Metonymy, from the Greek meta and onoma, a name, is, literally, a transposition or change of one name for another. The word is generally limited to denominate such sorts of change as the following:
1. Substituting the CAUSE for the EFFECT. Thus, the land is taken for its produce:
"A time there was, ere England's griefs began, When every rood of ground maintain’d its man."
2. Substituting the EFFECT for the CAUSE. Thus,
"Can grey hairs make folly venerable?" where Grey hairs, which are the usual consequence of age, are put for age itself.