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It will probably occur, that melody, if it depend on long and short syllables combined in a sentence, may be found in prose as well as in verse; considering especially, that in both, particular words are accented or pronounced in a higher tone than the rest; and therefore that verse cannot be distinguished from prose by melody merely. The observation is just; and it follows, that the distinction between them, since it depends not singly on melody, must arise from the dif ference of the melody, which is precisely the case; though that difference cannot with any accuracy be explained in words; all that can be said is, that verse is more musical than prose, and its melody more perfect. The difference between verse and prose resembles the difference, in music properly so called, between the song and the recitative and the resemblance is not the least complete, that these differences, like the shades of colours, approximate sometimes so nearly as scarce to be discernible: the melody of a recitative approaches sometimes to that of a song; which, on the other hand, degenerates sometimes to that of a recitative. Nothing is more distinguishable from prose than the bulk of Virgil's Hexameters: many of those composed by Horace, are very little removed from prose: Sapphic verse has a very sensible melody: that, on the other hand, of an Iambic, is extremely faint.*

This more perfect melody of articulate sounds is what distinguisheth verse from prose. Verse is subjected to certain inflexible laws; the number and variety of the component syllables being ascertained, and in some measure the order of succession. Such restraint makes it a matter of difficulty to compose in verse; a difficulty that is not to be surmounted but by a peculiar genius. Useful lessons conveyed to us in verse, are agreeable by the union of music with instruction but are we for that reason to reject knowledge offered in a plainer dress? That would be ridiculous: for knowledge is of intrinsic merit, independent of the means of acquisition; and there are many not less capable than willing to instruct us, who have no genius for verse. Hence the use of prose; which, for the reason now given, is not confined to precise rules. There belongs to it a certain melody of an inferior kind, which ought to be the aim of every writer; but for succeeding in it, practice is necessary more than genius. Nor do we rigidly insist for melodious prose; provided the work convey instruction, its chief end, we are the less solicitous about its dress.

Having ascertained the nature and limits of our subject, I proceed to the laws by which it is regulated. These would be endless, were verse of all different kinds to be taken under consideration. I propose, therefore, to confine the inquiry to Latin or Greek Hexameter, and to French and English heroic verse: which perhaps may carry me farther than the reader would choose to follow. The observations I shall have occasion to make, will, at any rate, be sufficient for a specimen; and these, with proper variations, may easily be transferred to the composition of other sorts of verse.

Before I enter upon particulars, it must be premised in general, that to verse of every kind five things are of importance. 1st. The

Music, properly so called, is analyzed into melody and harmony. A succesion of sounds so as to be agreeable to the ear, constitutes melody: harmony arises om co-existing sounds, Verse therefore can only reach melody, and notharmony.

number of syllables that compose a verse line. 2d. The different lengths of syllables, i. e. the difference of time taken in pronouncing. 3d. The arrangement of these syllables combined in words. 4th. The pauses or stops in pronouncing. 5th. The pronouncing syllables in a high or low tone. The three first mentioned are ob. viously essential to verse: if any of them be wanting there cannot be that higher degree of melody which distinguisheth verse from prose. To give a just notion of the fourth, it must be observed, that pauses are necessary for three different purposes: one, To separate periods, and members of the same period, according to the sense; another, To improve the melody of verse; and the last, To afford opportunity for drawing breath in reading. A pause of the first kind is variable, being long or short, frequent or less frequent, as the sense requires. A pause of the second kind, being determined by the melody, is in no degree arbitrary. The last sort is in a measure arbitrary, depending on the reader's command of breath. But as one cannot read with grace, unless, for drawing breath, opportunity be taken of a pause in the sense or in the melody, this pause ought never to be distinguished from the others; and for that reason shall be laid aside. With respect, then, to the pauses of sense and of melody, it may be affirmed, without hesitation, that their coincidence in verse is a capital beauty: but as it cannot be expected, in a long work especially, that every line should be so perfect, we shall afterwards have occasion to see, that the pause necessary for the sense must often, in some degree, be sacrificed to the versepause, and the latter sometimes to the former.

The pronouncing syllables in a high or low tone contributes also to melody. In reading, whether verse or prose, a certain tone is assumed, which may be called the key-note; and in that tone the bulk of the words are sounded. Sometimes to humour the sense, and sometimes the melody, a particular syllable is sounded in a higher tone; and this is termed accenting a syllable, or gracing it with an ac. cent. Opposed to the accent is the cadence, which I have not mentioned as one of the requisites of verse, because it is entirely regulated by the sense, and hath no peculiar relation to verse. The cadence

is a falling of the voice below the key-note at the close of every period; and so little is it essential to verse, that, in correct reading, the final syllable of every line is accented, that syllable only excepted which closes the period, where the sense requires a cadence. The reader may be satisfied of this by experiments; and, for that purpose, I recommend to him the Rape of the Lock, which, in point of versification, is the most complete performance in the English language. Let him consult in a particular period canto 2, beginning at line 47, and closed line 52, with the word gay, which only of the whole final syllables is pronounced with a cadence. He may also examine another period in the 5th canto, which runs from line 45, to line 52.

Though the five requisites above-mentioned enter the composition of every species of verse, they are however governed by different rules peculiar to each species. Upon quantity only, one general observation may be premised, because it is applicable to every species of verse; that syllables, with respect to the time taken in

pronouncing, are long or short; two short syllables, with respect to time, being precisely equal to a long one. These two lengths are essential to verse of all kinds; and to no verse, as far as I know, is a greater variety of time necessary in pronouncing syllables. The voice, indeed, is frequently made to rest longer than usual upon a word that bears an important signification; but this is done to humour the sense, and is not necessary for melody. A thing not more necessary for melody occurs with respect to accenting, similar to that now mentioned. A word signifying any thing humble, low, or dejected, is naturally in prose, as well as in verse, pronounced in a tone below the key-note.

We are now sufficiently prepared for particulars; beginning with Latin or Greek Hexameter, which are the same. What I have to observe upon this species of verse will come under the four follow. ing heads,-number, arrangement, pause, and accent; for as to quantity, what is observed above may suffice.

Hexameter lines, as to time, are all of the same length; being equivalent to the time taken in pronouncing twelve long syllables or twenty-four short. An Hexameter line may consist of seventeen syllables; and when regular and not Spondaic, it never has fewer than thirteen; whence it follows, that where the syllables are many, the plurality must be short; where few, the plurality must be long.

This line is susceptible of much variety as to the succession of long and short syllables. It is, however, subjected to laws that confine its variety within certain limits; and, for ascertaining these limits, grammarians have invented a rule by Dactyles and Spondees, which they denominate feet. One, at first view, is led to think that these feet are also intended to regulate the pronunciation: which is far from being the case; for were one to pronounce according to these feet, the melody of an Hexemeter line would be destroyed, or, at best, be much inferior to what it is when properly pronounced.*

After giving some attention to this subject, and weighing deliberately every circumstance, I was necessarily led to the foregoing conclusion, That the Dactyle and Spondee are no other than artificial measures, invented for trying the accuracy of composition. Repeated experiments have convinced me, that though the sense should be neglected, an Hexameter line read by Dactyles and Spondees will not be melodious. And the composition of an Hexameter line demonstrates this to be true, without necessity of an experiment; for, as will appear afterward, there must always, in this line, be a capital pause at the end of the fifth long syllable, reckoning, as above, two short for one long; and when we measure this line by Dactyles and Spondees, the pause now mentioned divides always a Dactyle or a Spondee, without once falling in after either of these feet. Hence it is evident, that if a line be pronounced as it is scanned by Dactyles and Spondees, the pause must utterly be neglected; which destroy's the melody, because this pause is essential to the melody of an Hexameter verse. If, on the other hand, the melody be preserved by making that pause, the pronouncing by Dactyles or Spondees must be abandoned.

What has led grammarians into the use of Dactyles and Spondees, seems not beyond the reach of conjecture. To produce melody, the Dactyle and the Spondee, which close every Hexameter line, must be distinctly expressed in the pronun ciation. This discovery, joined with another, that the foregoing part of the verse could be measured by the same feet, probably led grammarians to adopt these artificial measures, and perhaps rashly to conclude, that the pronunciation is directed by these feet as the composition is: the Dactyle and the Spondee at the close serve indeed to regulate the pronunciation as well as the composition; but in the

These feet must be confined to regulate the arrangement, for they serve no other purpose. They are withal so artificial and complex, that I am tempted to substitute, in their stead, other rules more simple and of more easy application; for example, the following: 1st. The line must always commence with a long syllable, and close with two long preceded by two short. 2d. More than two short can never be found together, nor fewer than two. And, 3d. Two long syllables which have been preceded by two short cannot also be followed by two short. These few rules fulfil all the conditions of an Hexameter line, with relation to order or arrangement. To these again a single rule may be substituted, for which I have a still greater relish, as it regulates more affirmatively the construction of every part. That I may put this rule into words with perspicuity, I take a hint from the twelve long syllables that compose an Hexameter line, to divide it into twelve equal parts or portions, being each of them one long syllable or two short. A portion being thus defined, I proceed to the rule. The 1st, 3d, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 12th portions, must each of them be one long syllable; the 10th must always be two short syllables; the 2d, 4th, 6th, and 8th, may either be one long or two short. Or, to express the thing still more curtly, the 2d, 4th, 6th, and 8th portions may be one long syllable or two short; the 10th must be two short syllables; all the rest must consist each of one long syllable. This fulfils all the conditions of an Hexameter line, and comprehends all the combinations of Dactyles and Spondees that this line admits. Next in order comes the pause. At the end of every Hexameter line every one must be sensible of a complete close or full pause ; the cause of which follows. The two long syllables preceded by two short, which always close an Hexameter line, are a fine prepa. ration for a pause; for long syllables, or syllables pronounced slow, resembling a slow and languid motion, tending to rest, naturally incline the mind to rest, or to pause; and to this inclination the two preceding short syllables contribute, which, by contrast, make the slow pronunciation of the final syllables the more conspicuous. Be. sides this complete close or full pause at the end, others are also requisite for the sake of melody: for which I discover two clearly, and perhaps there may be more. The longest and most remarkable

foregoing part of the line, they regulate the composition only, not the pronun. ciation,

If we must have feet in verse to regulate the pronunciation, and consequently the melody, these feet must be determined by the pauses. All the syllables interjected between two pauses ought to be deemed one musical foot; because, to preserve the melody, they must all be pronounced together without any stop. And therefore, whatever number there are of pauses in an Hexameter line, the parts into which it is divided by these pauses, make just so many musical feet.

Connexion obliges me here to anticipate, and to observe, that the same doctrine is applicable to English heroic verse. Considering its composition merely, it is of two kinds; one composed of five lambi, and one of a Trochæus followed by four lambi; but these feet afford no rule for pronouncing; the musical feet being obviously those parts of the line that are interjected between two pauses. To bring out the melody, these feet must be expressed in the pronunciation; or, which comes to the same,the pronunciation must be directed by the pauses without regard to the lambus or Trochæus.

succeeds the 5th portion; the other, which, being shorter and more faint, may be called the semi-pause, succeeds the 8th portion. So striking is the pause first mentioned, as to be distinguished even by the rudest ear. The monkish rhymes are evidently built upon it; in which, by an invariable rule, the final word always chimes with that which immediately precedes the said pause:

De planctu cudo || metrum cum carmine nudo
Mingere cum bumbis | res est saluberrima lumbis.

The difference of time in the pause and semi-pause occasions another difference no less remarkable, that it is lawful to divide a word by a semi-pause, but never by a pause, the bad effect of which is sensibly felt in the following examples.

Effusus labor, atque immitis rupta Tyranni


Observans nido im||plumes detraxit; at illa

Loricam quam 'De||moleo detraxerat ipse


The dividing a word by a semi-pause has not the same bad effect: Jamque pedem referens || casus elvaserat omnes.

Again: Again:

Qualis populea || morens Philomela sub umbra

Ludere que vellem || calamo per misit agresti.

Lines, however, where words are left entire, without being divided even by a semi-pause, run by that means much the more sweetly: Nec gemere aërea || cessabit | turtur ab ulmo.

Again : Again :

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Eurydicen toto || referebant | flumine ripæ.

The reason of these observations will be evident upon the slightest reflection. Between things so intimately connected in reading aloud, as are sense and sound, every degree of discord is unpleasant, and for that reason, it is a matter of importance, to make the musical pauses coincide as much as possible with those of sense, which is requisite, more especially, with respect to the pause, a deviation from the rule being less remarkable in a semi-pause. Considering the matter as to melody solely, it is indifferent whether the pauses be at the end of words or in the middle; but when we carry the sense along, it is disagreeable to find a word split into two by a pause, as if there were really two words: and though the disagreeableness here be connected with the sense only, it is by an easy transition of perceptions transferred to the sound; by which means, we conceive a line to be harsh and grating to the ear, when in reality it is only so to the understanding.*

To the rule that fixes the pause after the fifth portion there is one * See chap. 2. part 1. sect. 5.

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