Apostrophe: Pure or personified

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Apostrophe: Pure or personified

From English Composition and Rhetoric, by Alexander Bain;  English Composition by W. Davidson; Practical Rhetoric, by Albert Raub:

Apostrophe (Latin apo, from strophe, ‘a turning’) is a figure by which the speaker turns from the subject of discourse and addresses some other person or thing:
O Death, where is thy sting?
O Grave, where is thy victory?
—I Corinthians 15:55


I. It supposes intensity of emotion.

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee!
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
—Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 1

There can be no apostrophe without intense feeling.

II. It may exist in either of two forms.

A. Pure apostrophe

O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!—II Samuel 18:33

B. Apostrophe combined with personification

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so
—John Donne, “Holy Sonnet X

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