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justly imitated by the sound. In this respect, no periods are more perfect than those borrowed from Cicero in the first section.
The concord between sense and sound is not less agreeable -in what may be termed an anticlimax, where the progress is from great to little; for this has the effect to make diminutive objects appear still more diminutive. Horace affords a striking example:
Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
The arrangement here is singularly artful: the first place is occupied by the verb, which is the capital word by its fense as well as found: the close is reserved for the word that is the meanest in fense as well as in found: and it must not be overlooked, that the resembling sounds of the two last syllables give a ludicrous air to the whole.
Reviewing the foregoing examples, it appears to me, contrary to expectation, that in passing from the strongest resemblances to those that are fainter, every step affords additional pleasure. Renewing the experiment again and again, 1 feel no wavering, but the greatest pleasure constantly from the faintest resemblances. And yet how can this be? for if the pleasure lie in imitation, must not the strongest resemblance afford the greatest pleasure? From this vexing dilemma I am happily relieved, by reflecting on a doctrine established blislied in the chapter of resemblance and contrast, that the pleasure of resemblance is the greatest, where it is least expected, and where the objects compared are in their capital circumstances widely different. Nor will this appear surprising, when We descend to familiar examples : it raiseth not wonder in the smallest degree, to find the most perfect resemblance between two eggs of the fame bird: it is more rare to find such resemblance between two human faces; and upon that account such an appearance raises some degree of wonder 1 but this emotion rises to a still greater height, when we find in a pebble, an aggat, or other natural production, any resemblance to a tree or other organised body. We cannot hesitate a moment, in applying these observations to the present subject; what occasion of wonder can it be to find one sound resembling another, where both are of the same kind .? it is not so common to find a resemblance between an articulate sound and one not articulate; and accordingly the imitation here affords some flight pleasure: but the pleasure swells greatly, when we employ sound to imitate things jt resembles not otherwise than by the effects produced in the
I have had occasion to observe, that to complete the resemblance between sound and sense, artful pronunciation contributes not a little. Pronunciation therefore may be considered as a
branch branch of the present subject; and with some observations upon it, the section shall be concluded.
In order to give a just: idea of pronunciation, it must be distinguished from singing: the latter* is carried on by notes, requiring each of them a different aperture of the windpipe ; the notes properly belonging to the former, are expressed by different apertures of the mouth, without varying the aperture ot the windpipe. This howeever doth not hinder pronunciation to borrow from singing, as one sometimes is naturally led to do, in expressing a vehement passion.
In reading, as in singing, there is a key-note: above this note the voice is frequently elevated, to make the found correspond to the elevation of the subject: but the mind in an elevated state, is disposed to action; therefore, in order to a rest, it must be brought down to the key-note. Hence the term cadence.
The only general rule that can be given for directing the pronunciation, is, To found the words in such a manner as to imitate the things they signify. In pronouncing words signifying what is elevated, the voice ought to be raised above its ordinary pitch; and words signifying dejection of mind, ought to be pronounced in a low note: to imitate a stern and impetuous passion, the words ought to be pronounced rough and loud: a sweet and kindly passion, on the contrary, ought to be imitated by a soft and melodious lodious tone of voice: in Dryden's ode of Alexander's feast, the line, Fain, fain, fain, fain, represents a gradual sinking of the mind, and therefore is pronounced with a falling voice by every one of taste, without instruction. In general, words that make the greatest figure, ought to be marked with a peculiar emphasis. Another circumstance contributes to the resemblance between sense and sound, which is flow or quick pronunciation: for though the length or shortness of the syllables with relation to each other, be in prose ascertained in some measure, and in verse always; yet taking a whole line or period together, it may be pronounced flow or fast. A period accordingly ought to be pronounced flow, when it expresses what is solemn or deliberate; and ought to be pronounced quick, when it expresses any thing brisk, lively, or impetuous.
The art of pronouncing with propriety and grace, being calculated to make the found an echo to the fense, scarce admits of any other general rule than that above mentioned. It may indeed be branched out into many particular rules and observations: but these belong not properly to the present undertaking, because no language furnilheth words to signify the different degrees of high and low, loud and soft, fast and flow. Before these differences can be made thesubject of regular instruction, notes must be invented resembling those employ'd in music: we have reason to believe, that in Greece every tragedy was accompanied with such notes, in order to ascertain the pronunciation; but the moderns hitherto have not thought of this refinement. Cicero indeed *, without the help of notes, pretends to give rules for ascertaining the various tones of voice that are proper in expressing the different passions; and it mull be acknowledged, that in this attempt he hath exhausted the whole power of language. At the fame time, every person of discernment must perceive, that these rules avail little in point of instruction: the very words he employs, are not intelligible, except to those who beforehand are acquainted with the subject.
To vary the scene a little, I propose to close with a flight comparison between singing and pronouncing. In this comparison, the five following circumstances relative to articulate found, must be kept in view, ist, A found or syllable is harlh or smooth, 2d, It is long or short. 3d, It is pronounced high or low. 4th, It is pronounced loud or soft. And, lastly, A number of words in succession, constituting a period or member of a period, are pronounced flow or quick. Of these five, the first depending on the component letters, and the second being ascertained by custom, admit not any variety in pronouncing. The three last are arbitrary, depend
• De oratore, 1. 3. cap. 58.