Syllogismus, is a forme of speech by which the Orator amplifieth a matter by conjecture, that is, by expressing some signes or circumstances of a matter, which circumstances be of three sorts, either going before it, annexed with it, or following after it.
Circumstances going before. An example of the holy scriptures: “As the Lord God liveth before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor raine these yeares, but according to my word.” 1. Reg. 17. 1.
Here by the great drought, Elias signifieth the great hunger and dearth following the drought.
“Seven daies hence will I cause it to raine upon the earth fortie daies and fortie nights” Gen.7.4.
, wherby the Lord gave to understand what a mightie floud should follow.
2 Circumstances annexed: Virgill speaking of Poliphemus, saith he held a pine tree in his hand to stay himselfe, and walked through the sea: by this we conjecture what a great bodie he had.
The huge stature and great strength of Goliath is signified by the weight of his brigandine & speare head, and by the monstrous bignesse of his speare staffe compared to a weavers beame.
“Foelix trembled” Act.14.16.
, which did plainly betoken his inward horror, at the hearing of Gods judgements.
“And he went forth and wept bitterly” Mat.26.75.
: By Peters bitter weeping, we gather how effectually he was touched with repentance by the motion of Gods spirit.
Circumstances following after: David is described sorrowfully bewailing the death of his sonne Absolon, by which is collected how dearly he loved him, notwithstanding his evil inclination.
The use of this figure.
This figure is a verie commendable ornament of eloquence, and is a meet forme of speech to amplifie any great or excellent matter. For by this figure the Orator speaketh to his hearer a far off, giving some signe or token to the reason of the hearer, whereby his whole meaning may easily be gathered.
In using this figure, it is requisite and necessary to signifie out meaning by such circumstances as may best amplifie the matter, and most clearly signifie our meaning: otherwise we shall speake in the clowdes without profit.