Hyperbole lies, but not so as to intend to deceive by lying. . . . It is in common use, as much among the unlearned as among the learned; because there is in all men a natural propensity to magnify or extenuate what comes before them, and no one is contented with the exact truth. But such departure from the truth is pardoned, because we do not affirm what is false. In a word, the hyperbole is a beauty, when the thing itself, of which we have to speak, is in its nature extraordinary; for we are then allowed to say a little more than the truth; and language is more efficient when it goes beyond reality.


下面节选了Monty Python的Four Yorkshiremen一文中四个人争相比惨的片段,一起来欣赏一下他们的夸张吧~

A: You were lucky. We lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down mill for 14 hours a day week in, week out. When we got home, our Dad would thrash us to sleep with his belt!


B: Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!


C: Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the shoebox at 12 o'clock at night, and lick the road clean with our tongues. We had half a handful of freezing cold gravel, worked 24 hours a day at the mill for four pence every six years, and when we got home, our Dad would slice us in two with a bread knife.


D: I had to get up in the morning at 10 o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work 29 hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing "Hallelujah."


A: But you try and tell the young people today that, and they won't believe ya'.


All: Nope, nope.