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o f all the fire arte, painting orly and sculp
ture are in their nåture imitative. An ornamented field is agi a cipy or imitation of nature, but nature itself embellished. Architecture is productive of originals, and copies not from nature. Sound and motion may in some measure be imitated by music; but for the most part music, like architecture, is productive of originals. Language copies not from nature, more than music or architecture ; unless, where, like music, it is imitative of found or motion. Thus, in the description of particular sounds, language fometimes furnisheth words, which, beside their customary power of exciting ideas, resemble by their softness or harsh
ness the sounds described ; and there are words which, by the celerity or flowness of pronunciation, have some resemblance to the motion they fignify. The imitative power of words goes one step farther : the loftiness of some words makes them proper symbols of lofty ideas; a rough subject is imitated by harsh-sounding words ; and words of many syllables pronounced flow and smooth, are expressive of grief and melancholy. Words have a separate effect on the mind, abstracting from their fignification and from their imitative power: they are more or less agreeable to the ear, by the fulness, sweetness, faintness, or roughness of their tones.
These are but faint beauties, being known to those only who have more than ordinary acuteness of perception Language polkręth a beauty superior greatly in.degree of which we are eminently sensible when I ftovight is communicated with perspicuity andifpxiglaținess. This beauty of language, arising from its power of expressing thought, is apt to be confounded with the beauty of the thought itself: the beauty of thought, transferred to the expression, makes it appear more beautiful *. But these beauties, if we wish to
* Chap. 2. Part 1. Sect. 5. Demetrius Phalereus (of Elocution, sect. 75.) makes the same observation. We are apt, says that author, to confound the language with the subject; and if the latter be nervous, we judge the
same think accurately, must be distinguished from each other. They are in reality so distinct, that we sometimes are conscious of the highest pleasure language can afford, when the subject expressed is disagreeable : a thing that is loathsome, or a scene of horror to make one's hair stand on end, may be described in a manner so lively, as that the disagreeableness of the subject shall not even obscure the agreeableness of the description. The causes of the original beauty of language, considered as significant, which is a branch of the present subject, will be explained in their order. I shall only at present observe, that this beauty is the beauty of means fitted to an end, that of communicating thought: and hence it) evidently appears, that of several expressions all conveying the same thought, the most beautiful, in the sense now mentioned, is that which in the most perfect manner answers its end.
The several beauties of language above mentioned, being of different kinds, ought to be handled separately. I shall begin with those beauties of language that arise from found ; after which will follow the beauties of language considered as fignificant: this order appears natural;
same of the former. But they are clearly distinguishable; and it is not uncommon to find subjects of great dignity dressed in mean language. Theopompus is celebrated for the force of his di&ion; but erroneously: his fubje& indeed has great force, but his style very little.
for the found of a word is attended to, before we consider its signification. In a third section come those singular beauties of language that are derived from a resemblance between found and fignification. The beauties of verse are handled in the last section : for though the foregoing beauties are found in verse as well as in prose, yet verse has many peculiar beauties, which, for the sake of connection, must be brought under one view; and versification, at any rate, is a subject of so great importance as to deserve a place by itself.
Sect. I.—Beauty of Language with respect to
THIS subject requires the following order :
1 The sounds of the different letters come first: next, these sounds as united in fyllables : third, syllables united in words : fourth, words united in a period : and, in the last place, periods united in a discourse.
With respect to the first article, every vowel is founded with a single expiration of air from the wind-pipe, through the cavity of the mouth. By varying this cavity, the different vowels are founded; for the air in passing through cavities differing in size, produceth various sounds, some high or