Figures of Speech II
Bill Long 3/26.08
Let's move more quickly now on the other figures of speech.
2. Zeugma is a Greek word meaning "yoking" or "linking," and is "a phrase where several thoughts are encompassed in one word." Isidore jettisons the one example given by Donatus, but he himself gives three examples, where the word which links the phrases is either placed first, middle or last. Two examples will suffice.
"Vertitur oenophoris fundus, sententia nobis"
translated as "The bottom is inverted by the wineholders, the sentence by us." Vertitur ("is overturned, inverted") is distributed, as we say, to both concepts. The line, actually, is pretty clever/funny. A second example, where the verb that governs two ideas is placed in the middle, is here:
"Graecia Sulpicio sorti data, Gallia Cottae,"
which is translated, "Greece was given by lot to Sulpicius, Gaul to Cotta." Thus, the verb "links" or "joins" or "yokes" two subjects.
3. Hypozeuxis is the opposite of the preceding, where "there is a separate phrase for each individual meaning." Both Donatus and Isidore give the example from Virgil (Aen. 10.149):
"Regem adit et regi memorat nomenque genusque,"
which may be rendered, "He approaches the king and tells the king both his name and family." Here you have the principle that each noun or clause gets its own verb. But we have a little problem here, because Isidore wants to emphasize the presence of the repeated noun as indicating hypozeuxis, while I thought it was the presence of two verbs that make it hypoeuxis. Burton gives the example: "The Republicans filibustered, the Democrats snored, and the independents complained." Each noun has its own verb.
4. Syllepsis is treated briefly by Donatus but more extensively by Isidore. At first blush syllepsis appears to be a type of zeugma, for it is when "one word serveth to many senses," as in the sentence "Hee runnes for pleasure, I for feare." But, more specifically, it is where one has a sentence in which there are plurals and singulars, and the verb is only in the singular, or nouns which are both in the singular with the adjective in the plural. Puttenham, whose 1589 English Poesie was one of the first rhetorical treatises in English, had this to say:
"But if such want be in sundrie clauses, and of severall congruities or sence, and the supply be made to serve them all, it is by the figure Sillepsis, whom for that respect we call the double supplie...as in these verses...Here my sweete sonnes and daughters all my blisse,/ Yonder mine owne deere husband buried is. Where ye see the one verbe singular supplyeth the plurall and singular."
This "double supplie" for Puttenham, then, is the essence of syllepsis, but it differs from zeugma in that singulars and plurals are mixed. Isidore gives this example of syllepsis relating to parts of speech:
"Sunt nobis mitia poma,...et pressi copia lactis"
which is translated "There are for us ripe fruits, ..and an abundance of cheese." Isidore points out that "he ought to say this: 'est et pressi copia lactis' ["and there is an abundance of cheese"]. That is, the "are" which is proper for the fruit is not proper for the cheese. Finally, syllepsis is also used with things incidental to parts of speech (the "accidents" of speech), as in the example: "And they fill the belly with an armed soldier," referring to the Trojan horse. In fact, a whole army of soldiers encamped in the belly. Syllepsis of number, I suppose.. He also gives a biblical example, from Matt. 27:44, "The thieves, that were crucified with him, reproached him," when in fact it was only one theif who reproved Jesus. Enough on this.
5. At least when we get to anadiplosis, we are on familiar and very clear ground. It is when a "following verse begins with the same word that ended the previous verse. I have given several examples in this essay; suffice it for this treatment to give their examples. Donatus quotes from Aen. 10.180;
"sequitur pulcherrimus Astur, Astur equo fidens,"
which means, "Then follows most beautiful Astur, Astur relying on his steed." Isidore also takes a Virgilian example--from Ecl. 8.55:
"Certent et cygnis ululae, sit Tityrus Orpheus,
Orpheus in silvis, inter delphinas Arion..."
"And let the screech-owls compete with the swans, let Tityrus be Orpheus, an Orpheus in the woords, an Arion among the Dolphins." Anadiplosis is one of my favorite rhetorical/grammatical devices.
6. Anaphora, thankfully, is also easy to understand. It is "the repetition of the same word at the beginning of several verses (Aen 1.664):
"Nate, meae vires, mea magna potentia solus
Nate patris summi, qui tela Typhoea temnis."
This can be rendered, "Oh son, my strength, my mighty power alone,/ Oh son, who scorn the typhoean darts of the highest father." Now we are getting someplace, aren't we?
7. Isidore now includes epanaphora, which seems to be a sort of a stretch, for it is the repetition of a word at the beginning of each phrase of a single verse. That is, it is doubly as frequent as anaphora. His example (Aen. 7.759), doesn't precisely illustrate the point:
"Te nemus Anguitiae, vitrea te Focinus unda,
te liquidi flevere lacus,"
"For you the forest of Anguitia wept, for you Lake Fucinus with its glossy wave, for you the clear lakes..." It is harder to distinguish this from anaphora in English because we don't speak or write in phrases/verses, though I suppose our poetry could illustrate it. The Century notes that "this figure is very frequent in the Book of Psalms; as, for example, in the 29th Psalm, the phrase 'Give unto the Lord' is used three times in the first two verses, and the phrase, 'The voice of the Lord' occurs seven times in vv. 3-9. Similarly, the words "by faith" or "through faith" (both renderings of the Greek word pistei) begin 18 out of 29 verses in Hebrews 11." The note also answers a proleptic question, which is "what if the words praise is used in the first clause, extol in the second, and laud in the third? Is this still an example of epanaphora? Answer: yes. Glad you asked.
Concluding--with a Digression
I will close with a reference to some other grammatical words or rhetorical strategies to which our dictionaries point us but which are absent from Donatus' and Isidore's list. The Century's note concludes with "The converse of epanaphora is epiphora." So, I jump gayly to epiphora, which is defined as "the same as epistrophe." I guess we have to continue following the thread. Epistrophe is where successive clauses end with the same word or phrase. Again the Scriptures rush to our rescue: "Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I," (II Cor. 11:22). Thus, you see, we are not giving a complete catalogue. But it sure is better than nothing...
I need two more essay to finish these words.