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"She wants no prayers of mine; but I do here pour forth," &c.
“What are the processions of the learned counsel himself, circuit after circuit? Merciful God! what is the state of Ireland, and where shall you find the wretched inhabitant of this land?" — Curran.
See also 2 Sam. ii. 27: 1 Kings xvii. 1: Ps. xl. 9: Rom. ix. I: 1 Cor. i. 10: Gal. i. 20: 1 Thess. ii. 5.
II. Oath. This mode of speech is often, in form, the same as profanity, but is felt to be entirely free from irreverence; it is employed, however, only when the emphasis is extreme. Modern eloquence rarely uses this figure. The following examples are illustrative:
"I say, by God! that man is a ruffian who shall after this presume to build upon such honest, artless conduct as an evidence of guilt."
Erskine, plea for Lord George Gordon.
See also oath of Demosthenes by those who fought at Marathon, and oaths uttered by Curran in plea for Rowan.
And see Gen. xlii. 15: 1 Sam. xvii. 45: 2 Sam. xix. 7: 1 Kings xviii. 15: 2 Cor. xi. 31.
12. Vision. In ordinary speech vision is the presentation of past, future, or distant scenes as though actually present. It is appropriately used in animated narration, and is found constantly enlivening the pages of the best historians. In oratory its use presupposes that the mind of the speaker is greatly moved. Vision, therefore appears ridiculous or bombast to the hearer, unless he is in full accord with
the animated condition of the speaker. It more frequently than otherwise involves personification, apostrophe, and, in dealing with past events, employs "the historic present." The following examples illustrate the appropriate use of this figure:
"I seem to myself to behold this city, the ornament of the earth, the capital of all nations, suddenly involved in one conflagration. I see before me the slaughtered heaps of citizens, lying unburied in the midst of their ruined country. The furious countenance of Cethegus rises to my view, while, with a savage joy, he is triumphing in your miseries."- Cicero.
Beyond that I seek not to penetrate the veil. God grant that in my day at least that curtain may not rise. God grant that on my vision never may be opened what lies behind. When my eyes shall be turned for the last time to behold the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious Union; on states dissevered, discordant, belligerent; on a land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fraternal blood. Let their last feeble and lingering gleam rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now known and honored through the earth, still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star obscured; bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as What is all this worth?' nor those other words of delusion and folly, 'Liberty first, and the Union afterwards;' but everywhere spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, and as they float over the sea, and over the land, and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other sentiment, dear to every American heart-Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.'” — Webster.
"Do you think that whoso could by adequate description bring before you that winter of the Pilgrims — its brief sunshine, the nights of storm slow waning; the damp and icy breath felt to the pillow of the dying; its destitutions; its contrast with all their former experiences in life; its utter isolation and loneliness; its deathbeds and burials; its memories, its apprehensions, its hopes; the consolations of the prudent, the prayers of the pious; the occasional cheerful hymn in which the strong heart threw off its burden, and, asserting its unvanquished nature, went up like a bird of dawn to the skies: do you think that whoso could describe them waiting in that defile, lonelier and darker than Thermopylæ, for a morning that might never dawn; or might show them when it did a mightier army than the Persian, raised as in act to strike, — would he not sketch a scene of more difficult and rarer heroism?"
Rufus Choate. "Methinks I see it now- that one solitary, adventurous vessel, the Mayflower of a forlorn hope, freighted with the prospects of a future state, and bound across the unknown sea. I behold it pursuing, with a thousand misgivings," &c. - Edward Everett.
The following is one of the most touching examples of vision in English literature:
"The past rises before me like a dream. Again we are in the great struggle for national life. We hear the sounds of preparation the music of the boisterous drums, the silver voices of heroic bugles. We see thousands of assemblages, and hear the appeals of orators; we see the pale cheeks of women and the flushed faces of men; and in those assemblages we see all the dead whose dust we have covered with flowers. We lose sight of them no more. We are with them when they enlist in the great army of freedom. We see them part from those they love. Some are walking for the last time in quiet woody places with the maidens
they adore. We hear the whisperings and the sweet vows of eternal love as they lingeringly part forever. Others are bending over cradles, kissing babies that are asleep. Some are receiving the blessings of old men. Some are parting who hold them and press them to their hearts again and again, and say nothing; and some are talking with wives, and endeavoring with brave words spoken in the old tones to drive from their hearts the awful fear. We see them part. We see the wife standing in the door, with the babe in her arms-standing in the sunlight sobbing; at the turn of the road a hand waves she answers by holding high in her loving hands the child. He is gone-and forever."—Robert Ingersoll, to the Soldiers of Indianapolis.
See also, Is. liii. 2,3: Ezek. i. 1 ; x. I ; xxxvii. 10: I Cor. xv. 55: Rev. v. 6; vii. 9; x. 1; xiv. 1.
13. Prediction. This figure comes naturally to the lips of an orator when the mind is excited and swayed by a confident faith in certain results. In uninspired composition it may be called the statement of consequences believed to be certain. The array of facts justifying this form of speech must be overwhelming, the principles involved must be fundamental, and the consequences clearly inevitable, or the secular prophet will be laughed at. following are a few of the many examples that could be cited:
They must be repealed. You will repeal them. I pledge myself for it that you will in the end repeal them: I stake my reputation on it. I will consent to be taken for an idiot if they are not finally repealed." — Chatham.
"He may be naked; he shall not be in irons. And I do see the time at hand-the spirit is gone forth - the Declar
ation of Rights is planted; and though great men shall fall off, yet the cause shall live."- Grattan.
"But the heathen shall not reproach us. It shall be known in heaven that we could pity our brethren. We will send them all the relief in our power, and will enjoy the luxury of reflecting what happiness we may entail on generations yet unborn, if we can only effect the conversion of a single tribe." — Dr. Griffin.
14. Egoism. This figure is the presentation of the speaker's own opinions or experiences. It is free from the offensive air of egotism, and is often very serviceable in emphatic discourse. The following examples illustrate this figure:
"Would you bind Lucius Crassus to silence? For that purpose you must cut out this tongue; and even if it be torn out, the freedom in my very breath will confound your audacity."- Crassus against Philippus.
"I found Ireland on her knees. I watched over her with an eternal solicitude, and have traced her progress from injuries to arms, and from arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift! spirit of Molyneux! your genius has prevailed. Ireland is now awaking: in that new character I hail her, and, bowing to her august presence, I say, Esto perpetua !” — Grattan. "I have read with astonishment, and I repel with scorn, the insinuation that I had acted the part of an advocate, and that some of my statements were colored to serve a cause. . . . I come forward in my own person. I make the charge in the face of day. I drag the criminal to trial. I openly call down justice upon his head. I defy his attacks. I defy his defenders. I challenge investigation." - Brougham.
Everett puts the following language in the mouth of an imaginary Indian chief: