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Smooth flow the waves | the zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smil'd || and all the world was gay.
He rais'd his azure wând || and thus began.
Examples of the other kind :

There lay three garters || half a pair of gloves,
And all the trophies || of his former loves.
Our humble province || is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing | though less glorious care.
And hew triumphal arches || to the ground.

These accents make different impressions on the mind, which will be the subject of a following speculation. In the mean time, it may be safely pronounced a capital defect in the composition of verse, to put a low word, incapable of an accent, in the place where this accent should be: this bars the accent altogether; than which I know no fault more subversive of the melody, if it be not the barring of a pause altogether. I may add affirmatively, that no single circumstance contributes more to the energy of verse than to put an important word where the accent should be, a word that merits a peculiar emphasis. To shew the bad effect of excluding the capital accent, I refer the reader to some instances given above,* where particles are separated by a pause from the capital words that make them significant; and which particles ought, for the sake of melody, to be accented, were they capable of an accent. Add to these the following instances from the Essay on Criticism.

Of leaving what is natural and fit

Not yet purg'd off, of spleen and sour disdain
No pardon vile || obscenity should find
When love was all an easy monarch's care
For 'tis but half || a judge's task to know.
'Tis not enough, || taste, judgment, learning, join
That only makes superior sense belov'd
Whose right it is, uncensur'd, to be dull.
'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain.

But of this frame the bearings, and the ties,
The strong connexions, nice dependencies.

When this fault is at the end of a line that closes a couplet, it leaves not the slightest trace of melody:

In these deep sôlitudes || and awful cells
The pôor inhabitant || behôlds in vain.

line 448.

1. 528.

1. 531.

1. 537.

In a line expressive of what is humble or dejected, it improves the resemblance between the sound and sense to exclude the capital accent. This, to my taste, is a beauty in the following lines.


1. 578.


1. 597.

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To conclude this article, the accents are not, like the syllables, -confined to a certain number; some lines have no fewer than five,

Pages 292, 293.

and there are lines that admit not above one. This variety, as we have seen, depends entirely on the different powers of the compo nent words; particles, even where they are long by position, can. not be accented; and polysyllables, whatever space they occupy, admit but one accent. Polysyllables have another defect, that they generally exclude the full pause. It is shewn above, that few polysyllables can find place in the construction of English verse; and here are reasons for excluding them, could they find place.

I am now ready to fulfil a promise concerning the four sorts of lines that enter into English heroic verse. That these have, each of them, a peculiar melody distinguishable by a good ear, I ventured to suggest, and promised to account for: and though the subject is extremely delicate, I am not without hopes of making good my engagement. But first, by way of precaution, I warn the candid reader not to expect this peculiarity of modulation in every instance. The reason why it is not always perceptible has been mentioned more than once, that the thought and expression have a great influence upon the melody: so great, as in many instances to make the poorest melody pass for rich and spirited. This consideration makes me insist upon a concession or two that will not be thought unreasonable : first, That the experiment be tried upon lines equal with respect to the thought and expression; for otherwise one may easily be misled in judging of the melody; and next, That these lines be regularly accented before the pause; for, upon a matter abundantly refined in itself, I would not willingly be em. barrassed with faulty and irregular lines.

These preliminaries adjusted, I begin with some general observations, that will save repeating the same thing over and over upon every example. And, first, an accent succeeded by a pause, as in lines of the first and third order, makes a much greater figure than where the voice goes on without a stop. The fact is so certain, that no person who has an ear can be at a loss to distinguish that accent from others. Nor have we far to seek for the efficient cause; the elevation of an accenting tone produceth in the mind a similar elevation, which continues during the pause ;* but where the pause is separated from the accent by a short syllable, as in lines of the second and fourth order, the impression made by the accent is more slight when there is no stop, and the elevation of the accent is gone in a moment by the falling of the voice in pronouncing the short syllable that follows. The pause also is sensibly affected by the position of the accent. In lines of the first and third order, the close conjunction of the accent and pause occasions a sudden stop without preparation, which rouses the mind, and bestows on the melody a spirited air. When, on the other hand, the pause is separated from the accent by a short syllable, which always happens

*Hence the liveliness of the French language as to sound, above the English; the last syllable in the former being generally long and accented, the long syl. lable in the latter being generally as far back in the word as possible, and often without an accent. For this difference I find no cause so probable as temperament and disposition: the French being brisk and lively, the English sedate and reserved; and this, if it holds, is a pregnant instance of a resemblance between the character of a people and that of their language.

in lines of the second and fourth order, the pause is soft and gentle for this short unaccented syllable, succeeding one that is accented, must of course be pronounced with a falling voice, which naturally prepares for a pause; and the mind falls gently from the accented syllable, and slides into rest as it were insensibly. Further, the lines themselves derive different powers from the position of the pause, which will thus appear. A pause after the fourth syllable divides the line into two unequal portions, of which the larger comes last; this circumstance resolving the line into an ascending series, makes an impression in pronouncing like that of ascending; and to this impression contributes the redoubled effort in pronouncing the larger portion, which is last in order. The mind has a different feeling when the pause succeeds the fifth syllable, which divides the line into two equal parts; these parts pronounced with equal effort, are agreeable by their uniformity. A line divided by a pause after the sixth syllable, makes an impression opposite to that first mentioned; being divided into two unequal portions, of which the shorter is last in order, it appears like a slow descending series; and the second portion being pronounced with less effort than the first, the diminished effort prepares the mind for rest. And this preparation for rest is still more sensibly felt where the pause is after the seventh syllable, as in lines of the fourth order.

To apply these observations is an easy task. A line of the first order is of all the most spirited and lively; the accent being fol. lowed instantly by a pause, makes an illustrious figure; the ele. vated tone of the accent elevates the mind; the mind is supported in its elevation by a sudden unprepared pause, which rouses and animates; and the line itself, representing by its unequal division an ascending series, carries the mind still higher, making an impression similar to that of going upward. The second order has a modulation sensibly sweet, soft, and flowing; the accent is not so sprightly as in the former, because a short syllable intervenes be tween it and the pause; its elevation, by the same means, vanisheth instantaneously the mind by a falling voice, is gently prepared for a stop and the pleasure of uniformity, from the division of the line into two equal parts, is calm and sweet. The third order has a modulation not so easily expressed in words: it in part resembles the first order, by the liveliness of an accent succeeded instantly by a full pause; but then the elevation occasioned by this circumstance is balanced in some degree by the remitted effort in pronouncing the second portion, which remitted effort has a tendency to rest. Another circumstance distinguisheth it remarkably; its capital accent comes late, being placed on the sixth syllable; and this circumstance bestows on it an air of gravity and solemnity. The last order resembles the second in the mildness of its accent, and softness of its pause; it is still more solemn than the third, by the lateness of its capital accent; it also possesses in a higher de. gree than the third the tendency to rest; and by that circumstance is of all the best qualified for closing a period in the completest


But these are not all the distinguishing characters of the different

orders. Each order, also, is distinguished by its final accent and pause the unequal division in the first order makes an impression of ascending; and the mind at the close is in the highest elevation, which naturally prompts it to put a strong emphasis upon the concluding syllable, whether by raising the voice to a sharper tone, or by expressing the word in a fuller tone. This order accordingly is of all the least proper for concluding a period, where a cadence is proper and not an accent. The second order, being destitute of the impression of ascent, cannot rival the first order in the elevation of its concluding accent, nor consequently in the dignity of its concluding pause; for these have a mutual influence. This order, however, with respect to its close, maintains a superiority over the third and fourth orders: in these the close is more humble, being brought down by the impression of descent, and by the remitted effort in pronouncing; considerably in the third order, and still more considerably in the last. According to this description, the concluding accents and pauses of the four orders being reduced to a scale, will form a descending series probably in an arithmetical progression.

After what is said, will it be thought refining too much to suggest, that the different orders are qualified for different purposes, and that a poet of genius will naturally be led to make a choice accordingly? I cannot think this altogether chimerical. As it appears to me, the first order is proper for a sentiment that is bold, lively, or impetuous; the third order is proper for what is grave, solemn, or lofty; the second for what is tender, delicate, or melancholy, and in general for all the sympathetic emotions; and the last for subjects of the same kind, when tempered with any degree of solemnity. I do not contend that any one order is fitted for no other task than that assigned it; for at that rate no sort of melody would be left for accompanying thoughts that have nothing peculiar in them. I only venture to suggest, and I do it with diffidence, that each of the orders is peculiarly adapted to certain subjects, and better qualified than the others for expressing them. The best way to judge is by experiment; and to avoid the imputation of a partial search, I shall confine my instances to a single poem, beginning with the

First order:

On her white breast, a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those :
Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide :
If to her share some female errors fall,

Look on her face, and you'll forget them all.➡Rape of the Lock.

In accounting for the remarkable liveliness of this passage, it will

be acknowledged by every one who has an ear, that the melody must come in for a share. The lines, all of them, are of the first order; a very unusual circumstance in the author of this poem, so eminent for variety in his versification. Who can doubt that he has been led by delicacy of taste to employ the first order prefera bly to the others. Second order:

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Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care;
To save the powder from too rude a gale,

Nor let th' imprison'd essences exhale ;
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flowers;

To steal from rainbows, ere they drop their showers, &c.


Oh, thoughtless mortals! ever blind to fate,
Too soon dejected, and too soon elate,
Sudden, these honours shall be snatch'd away,
And curs'd for ever this victorious day.

A plurality of lines of the fourth order would not have a good effect in succession; because, by a remarkable tendency to rest, their proper office is to close a period. The reader, therefore, must be satisfied with instances where this order is mixed with others.

To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
We trust th' important charge, the petticoat

O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?

Not louder shrieks to pitying Heav'n are cast,
When husbands, or when lapdogs, breathe their last.

Steel could the works of mortal pride confound,
And hew triumphal arches to the ground.

She sees, and trembles at th' approaching ill,
Just in the jaws of ruin and Codille.

With earnest eyes, and round unthinking face,
'He first the snuff-box open'd, then the case.

And this suggests another experiment, which is, to set the ditferent orders more directly in opposition, by giving examples, where they are mixed in the same passage.

First and second orders.

Sol through white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
And oped those eyes that must eclipse the day.

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