This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
Parody - '"Tis the last golden dollar, left shining alone;
All its brilliant companions are squandered and gone;
No coin of its mintage reflects back its hue,
They went in mint juleps, and this will go too!
I'll not keep thee, thou lone one, too long in suspense;
Thy brothers were melted, and melt thou, to pence!
I'll ask for no quarter, I'll spend and not spare,
Till my old tattered pocket hangs centless and bare."
Pun - " Ancient maiden lady anxiously remarks,
That there must be peril 'mong so many sparks: Roguish-looking fellow, turning to the stranger, Says it's his opinion she is out of danger." - Saxe.
Examples - " Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! "
" How poor, how rich, how abject, how august, How complicate, how wonderful is man! Distinguished link in being's endless chain! Midway from nothing to the Deity! A beam ethereal, sullied and absorbed! Though sullied and dishonored, still divine! An heir of glory ! a frail child of dust: A worm! a god ! I tremble at myself, And in myself am lost."
Interrogation is a rhetorical figure by which the speaker puts opinions in the form of questions, for the purpose of expressing thought more positively and vehemently, without expectation of the questions being answered.
" But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? * * * Is life so dear, or place so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"
" Can storied urn or animated bust
Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death?"
Euphemism (u-fe-mis-em) is a word or sentence so chosen and expressed as to make a disagreeable fact sound more pleasantly than if told in plain language.
Examples - "Deceased" for "dead;" "stopping payment," Instead of " becoming bankrupt;" " falling asleep," instead of "dying;" " you labor under a mistake," for "you lie;" "he does not keep very correct accounts," instead of " he cheats when he can;" " she certainly displays as little vanity in her personal appearance as any young lady I ever saw;" for " she is an intolerable slattern." " I see Anacreon laugh and sing; His silver tresses breathe perfume; His cheeks display a second spring Of roses taught by wine to bloom."
Apostrophe, like the exclamation, is the sudden turning away, in the fullness of emotion, to address some other person or object. In this we address the absent or dead as if present or alive, and the inanimate as if living.
This figure of speech usually indicates a high degree of excitement.
Examples - " O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness?"
Thus King David, on hearing of the death of Absalom, exclaims, "O my son Absalom, my son, my son !"
Ossian's Address to the Moon is one of the most beautiful illustrations of the apostrophe:
"Daughter of heaven, fair art thou ! The silence of thy face is pleasant. Thou comest forth in loveliness. The stars attend thy blue steps in the East. The clouds rejoice in thy presence, O Moon! brighten their dark-brown sides. Who is like thee in heaven, daughter of the night? The star's are ashamed in thy presence, and turn aside their sparkling eyes. Whither dost thou retire from thy course, when the darkness of thy countenance grows? Hast thou thy hall like Ossian? Dwellest thou in the shadow of grief? Have thy sisters fallen from heaven? and are they who rejoiced with thee at night no more? Yes, they have fallen, fair light! and often dost thou retire to mourn. But thou thyself shall one night fail, and leave thy blue path in heaven. The stars will then lift their heads; they who in thy presence were astonished will rejoice."
" Thou lingering star with less'ning ray, That lov'st to greet the early morn, Again thou usher'st in the day My Mary from my soul was torn. O Mary! dear departed shade! "
Vision is a figure of rhetoric by which the speaker represents the objects of his imagination as actually before his eyes and present to his senses.
Examples - "Soldiers! from tops of yonder pyramids forty centuries look down upon you! "
" We behold houses and public edifices wrapt in flames; we hear the crash of roofs falling in, and one general uproar proceeding from a thousand different voices; we see some flying they know not whither, others hanging over the last embraces of their wives and friends; we see the mother tearing from the ruffian's grasp her helpless babe, and the victors cutting each others' throats wherever the plunder is most inviting."
Onomatopoeia is the use of such word or words as by their sound will suggest the sense, as crash, buzz, roar, etc. Motion is thus easily imitated, as is also sound, and even the reflections and emotions.
Examples - "Away they went pell mell, hurry skurry, wild buffalo, wild horse, wild huntsmen, with clang and clatter, and whoop and halloo that made the forest ring." "The ball went whizzing past."
"While I nodded nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door."
"Purity, propriety, and precision chiefly in regard to words and phrases; and perspicuity, unity, and strength, in regard to sentences. He who writes with purity, avoids all phraseology that is foreign, uncouth, or ill-derived; he who writes with propriety, selects the most appropriate, the very best expressions, and generally displays sound judgment and good taste; he who writes with precision, is careful to state exactly what he means - all that he means, or that is necessary, and nothing more; he who writes with perspicuity, aims to present his meaning so clearly and obviously, that no one can fail to understand him at once; he who observes unity, follows carefully the most agreeable order of nature, and does not jumble together incongruous things, nor throw out his thoughts in a confused or chaotic mass; and he who writes with strength, so disposes or marshals all the parts of each sentence, and all the parts of the discourse, as to make the strongest impression. A person's style, according as it is influenced by taste and imagination- may be'dry, plain, neat, elegant, ornamental, florid, or turgid. The most common faulty style is that which may be described as being stiff, cramped, labored, heavy and tiresome; its opposite is the easy, flowing, graceful, sprightly, and interesting style. One of the greatest beauties of style, one too little regarded, is simplicity or naturalness; that easy, unaffected, earnest, and highly impressive language which indicates a total ignorance, or rather innocence, of all the trickery of art. It seems to consist of the pure promptings of nature; though, in most instances, it is not so much a natural gift as it is the perfection of art."