previous next


Compar, of the Grecians called Isocolon, and Parison is a figure or forme of speech which maketh the members of an oration to be almost of a just number of sillables, yet the equalitie of those members or parts, are not to be measured upon our fingers, as if they were verses, but to bee tried by a secret sence of the eare: use & exercise may do much in this behalfe, which maketh it an easie matter to make the parts accourd in a fit proportion. First, when the former parts of a sentence, or of an oration be answered by the later, and that by proper words respecting the former.

An example of Cicero: He left the citie garnished, that the same might be a monument of victory, of clemencie, of continencie, that men might see, what he had conquered, what he spared, what he had left: compare ye the parts of the later clauses with the former, and you shall see how fitly they are matched.

Examples of the holy scripture, as when the sentence consisteth of two members, thus: “The Ox hath knowne his owner, and the Asse his maisters crib.” Esa.1.

Another: “See that equitie flow as the water, and rightousnesse as a mightie streame.” Amos.5.

Also it coopleth contraries, thus: An innocent although he be accused, he may be acquited, but the guiltie except he be accused he cannot be condemned.

Also by this figure effects may be made to answer their efficients, consequents their antecedents, habite privation: also contrariwis, and that by a very pleasant forme and proportion. This ornament is very often used of Solomon in his Proverbs, and of Esay in his Prophesies.

The use of this figure.

This figure of all others is most straightly tied to number and proportion, and therfore is most harmonicall. The use
Delectation of the eare.
wherof doth cheefuly consist in cuasing delectation by the vertue of proportion and number, albeit holy authors doe use it, yet they do it in easie & plaine forme, but if the most artificial and exact forme of this figure be respected, ye use of it is more agreable for pleasant
More fit for pleasaunt matters then grave causes.
matters than grave causes, and more fit for Commedies then Tragedies.

The Caution.

Inequalitie of number is the fault which doth most digrace the
1.Inequalitie of number.
beautifull forme and proportion of this ornament, and therfore to be most diligently avoided, neither ought this exornation in the most artificiall forme be used in grave and serious causes, for as
2.Seldome in grave causes.
much as it may bewray affectation, which in gravitie is misliked.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: