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An apologue differs from a parable in this : the parable is drawn from events which pass among mankind, and is therefore supported by probability; an apologue may be founded on supposed actions of brutes, or inanimate things, and therefore does not require to be supported by probability. Æsop's “ Fables” are good examples of apologues.
Sicily addressed Neptune praying to be rejoined to Italy: “You are foolish," answered the god, "if you do not know how much better it is to be a small head, than a great foot.” *
The Belly and the Members. In former days, when the Belly and the other parts of the body enjoyed the faculty of speech, and had separate views and designs of their own each part, it seems, in particular for himself and in the name of the whole, took exceptions at the conduct of the Belly, and were resolved to grant him supplies no longer. They said they thought it very hard, that he should lead an idle, good-for-nothing life, spending and squandering away upon his ungodly self all the fruits of their labor; and that, in short, they were resolved for the future to strike off his allowance and let him shift for himself as well as he could. The Hands protested that they would not lift up a Finger to keep him from starving; and the Mouth wished he might never speak again, if he took the least bit of nourishment for him as long as he lived ; "and," said the Teeth, “may we be rotted, if ever we chew a morsel for him for the future.” This solemn league and covenant was kept as long as any thing of that kind can be kept; which was until each of the rebel members pined away to skin and bone, and could hold out no longer. Then they found there was no doing without the Belly, and that, as idle and insignificant as he seemed, he contributed as much to the maintenance and welfare of the other parts, as they did to his.
Application, or Moral.
This fable was related by Menenius Agrippa to the Romans, when they revolted against their rulers. It is easy to see how the fable was applied, for, if the branches and members of a community refuse the government that aid which its necessities require, the whole must perish together. Every man's enjoyment of the products of his own daily labor depends upon the government's being maintained in a condition
* Italy, in its shape, resembles a boot. The point in this apologue con rists in the allusion to the form of the country.
to defend and secure him in it. The fable will apply with equal force to the murmurs of the poor against the rich. If there were no rich to consume the products of the labors of the poor, none by whom public charity might " keep her channels full,” the poor would derive but little fruit from their labor.
An enigma, or riddle, is an obscure speech, or saying, in a kind of allegorical form, and written either in prose or verse, designed to exercise the mind in discovering a hidden meaning; or, it is a dark saying, in which some known thing is concealed under obscure language which is proposed to be guessed.
'T was whispered in heaven, 't was muttered in hell,
* The thing described or hidden in this enigma, and which is proposed
Comparisons, proverbial speeches, parables, and fables, may be easily converted the one into the other. Thus, “ The miser is like the dog in the manger, who would neither eat the hay himself, nor suffer the hun. gry ox to eat it.” This comparison may be converted into a fable as follows: "A dog was lying upon a manger full of hay. An ox, being hungry, came near, and offered to eat of the hay; but the envious, ill. natured cur, getting up and snarling at him, would not suffer him to touch it. Upon which, the ox in the bitterness of his heart, exclaimed, A curse light on thee, for a malicious wretch, who will neither eat the hay thyself, nor suffer others who are hungry to do it." A proverb may be extracted from this fable: “ The envious man distresses himself in the consideration of the prosperity of others.”
A charade 18 a syllabic enigma; that is, an enigma, the subject of which is a name or word, that is proposed for
to be guessed, is the letter H. The letter M is concealed in the following Latin enigma by an unknown author of very ancient date :
“Ego sum principium mundi et finis seculorum ;
. Ego sum trinus et unus, et tamen non sum Deus." The letter E is thus enigmatically described :
"The beginning of eternity,
The end of time and space,
And the end of every place." The celebrated riddle of the Sphinx, in classic story, was this: "What animal walks on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three in the evening?"
The answer is Man, whô, in infancy or the morning of life, walks or creeps on his hands and feet, at the noon of life he walks erect, and in the evening of his days, or in old age, supports his infirmities on a staff.
* Nearly allied to the enigma and charade are the rebus, the paronomasia or pun, and the “low conundrum." [See Catachresis.] They are mere plays upon words, and are scarcely worthy of consideration among the departments of grave composition. The Rebus approaches, or rather is, in fact, picture writing, or a representation of words by things It is an enig matical representation of some name, by using figures or pictures instead of words. The word is from the Latin language, and literally signifies, by things. Thus a gallant in love with a woman named Rose Hill, painted
on the border of his gown a rose, a hill, an eye, Cupid or Love, and a well, · which reads " Rose Hill I love well." On & monumental tablet in this
discovery from an enigmatical description of its several syl lables, taken separately, as so many individual words, and afterwards combined. A charade may be in prose or verse.
vicinity, erected.for a family of the name of Vassol, there is the representation of a vase or cup (in Latin, vas), and the sun (in Latin, sot), thus forming the name" Vassol.” This is similar to one form of the hieroglyph ics of the ancient Egyptians.
The Paronomasia, or Pun, is a verbal allusion in consequence of words of similar sound, or of the same orthography, having different meanings; or it is an expression in which two different applications of a word present an odd or ludicrous idea. It is generally esteemed a low species of wit. Thus, a man having a tall wife named Experience observed that “ He had by long experience proved the blessings of a married life." Another having undertaken to make a pun upon any given subject, when it was pro posed that he should make one on the King, replied, that " the King is not à subject. That Majesty, if stripped of its externals, would remain a jest.”
Puns are sometimes expressed in verse, and appear among collections of Epigrams. (See Epigram.) For example,
“I cannot move,” yon clamorous beggar cries,
But a dress that is suited for Eve? Conundrums are the lowest species of verbal witticisms, and are in general mere play upon the sounds of words, without reference to their significa tion. They are generally expressed in the form of a question, with an anBwer. Thus: When is a ship not a ship? Answer. When it is a-ground, or when it is a-float. When is a door not a door? Answer. When it is a-jar. What part of an animal is his elegy? Answer. His LEG. If you were in an upper chamber of a house on fire, and the stairs were a way, how would you get down ? Answer. By the stairs. If a demon had lost his tail, where would he go to have it replaced ? Answer. To the place where they retail bad spirits. If a hungry man, on coming home to dinner, should find nothing but a beet on the table, what common exclamation would he utter? Answer. That beat's all.
Such plays upon the sounds of words, without reference to their signification, however they may amuse a vacant hour, or exercise the ingenuity of those to whom they are proposed, can be considered in no other light than as undignified, not to say childish diversions.
Of the same character may those witticisms be considered, commonly denominated jests and jokes. It would be futile to attempt specimens of either of these kinds of pleasantries. They are so various in their nature, that no specimens can be given, which would convey any thing like a clear idea of their general character. It may be sufficient to observe, in general, that the jest is directed at the object; the joke is practised with the person, or on the person. One attempts to make a thing laughable, or ridiculous, by jesting about it, or treating it in a jesting manner; one attempts to ex cite good humor in others, or indulge it in one's self by joking with them. Jests are therefore seldom harmless, jokes are frequently allowable. Noth ing is more easy to be made, nor more contemptible when made, than a jest upon a serious or sacred subject. “ Ne lude cum sacris," is a maxim which cannot be too strongly impressed on every speaker and writer.
Is seldomer taken than given.
What is that which God never sees, kings see but seldom, and which we see every day?
Answer, an equal.
A writer, under the influence of strong excitement, sometimes uses extravagant expressions, which he does not intend shall be taken literally. Such expressions are called hyperbole.
A rescued land
The iron of itself, though heat red-hot,
I found her on the floor