Meiosis contrary to Auxesis when a lesse word is put for a greater, to make the thing appeare lesse then it is, or verie litle, as to call a learned Doctor a prettie scholler, a great wound a scratch, a flat fall a foile, a raging railer a testie fellow: as Auxesis doth magnifie and lift up, so doth this diminish and pul downe: the other of small thnges, maketh great matters, so this of great matters maketh but trifles.
The use hereof serveth to sundry effectes, to excuse by extenuation, also to remove despaire, and plant hope, as doth the
Phisition in comforting his despairing patient, by calling his
3. To comfort by extenuation.
disease a matter of no danger, no cause of any feare, an obstruction easily remedied, an inflamation quickly quenched, whereby the Phisition doth much relieve and lighten the heavie spirits of his feeble Patient, by decreasing the causes and diminishing the danger.
He that regardeth his credite must take heede that aswell in
augmenting as in decreasing he respecteth the truth, and diligently observe the Poets warning, vt ne quid nimis: in diminishing regard ought to be had, that in coveting too great a decrease, the speaker fall not into that fault of speech, which is usually called Tapinosis, that is when the dignitie or majestie of a high matter is much defaced by the basenesse of a word, as to call the Ocean a streame, or the Thames a brooke, a foughten field a fray, great wisedome prettie witte, and Oration a tale, or as if one should say to a King: may it please your mastership: To this is opposed Bomphiologia, which giveth high titles to base persons, and great praises to small deserts. There is another faultie tearme of speech, called Paradiastole, which in this place may well be mentioned, for that it also opposeth the truth by false tearmes, and wrong names, as in calling dronkennesse good felloship, insatiable avarice good husbandrie, craft and deceit wisedome and pollicie.
This vice of speech is a fit instrument of excuse serving to selfe-love, partiall favour, blinde affection, and a shamelesse person, which for the better maintenance of wickednesse useth to cover vices with the mantles of vertues.