Periphrasis, is a forme of speech wherby that which might be said with one word, or at the least with verie few, is declared and expounded with many, and that sundrie waies.
First by explication of the name which the Grecians do call Etimologia: As when for this word Philosopher, we say a man studious of wisedome, for Parasite a flatter for gaines sake: for Christian a worshipper of Christ.
Secondly by Annotation: that is, when by certaine markes or tokens we describe any thing, as understanding what anger is, we say it is a vehement heat of the mind, which bringeth palenesse to the countenance, burning to the eyes, & trembling to the parts of the bodie.
Thirdly by definition: For man, a living creature endued with reason, for a tyrant, an oppresor of the lawes and liberties of the common wealth.
The use of this figure.
There be three causes to use this figure. The first necessitie, as when we cannot otherwise declare the thing, for want of a
2. Facilitie, or Perscuitie.
proper word. The second is desire of copie and facilitie, by which the thing, word, or sentence is made more evident and lightsom,
3. Modestie or chastitie of speech.
as the Pariphrases of Erasmus upon the new Testament. The third cause is desire to shunne obscenitie and naked telling of bashful matters, which is a part of modestie, much to be commended.
Thus we see that there be three speciall causes of using this exornation, and whereunto the use hath the chiefe respect, that is to say, necessitie, perspicuitie, and chastitie.
1. The circumlocation not too long.
The first proviso in using this figure is, to have regard that the circumlocation be not too long, wherby it may make the speech both tedious and barren, for this exornation serveth only to garnish the Oration with varietie of wordes, and never encreaseth matter.
The second is to avoid curious, and needlesse Etimologies.
2. Needlesse Etimologies.
The third is to regard that the annotations and definitions be not false or unperfect, whereby the matter is rather obscured
3. False Definitions not to be used.