« הקודםהמשך »
ble; and upon the nth, where the line concludes with a monosyllable. Such conclusion, by the by, impairs the melody, and for that reason is not to be indulged unless where it is expressive of the fense. The following lines are marked ■with all the accents.
Ludcrc que vellcm calamo pcrmlilt agresti
Parturiunt montes, nascStur rldiculus mus
Inquiring into the melody of Hexameter verse, we soon discover, that order or arrangement doth not constitute the whole of it; for when we compare different lines, equally regular as to the succession of long and short syllables, the melody is found in very different degrees of perfection; which is not occasioned by any particular combination of Dactyles and Spondees, or of long and short syllables, because we find lines where Dactyles prevail and lines where Spondees prevail, equally melodious. Of the former take the following instance:
jEneadum genitrix hominum divumque volup.tas.
Of the latter:
What can be more different as to melody than the two following lines, which, however, as to the succession of long and short syllables, ar© constructed precisely in the same manner?
Spond. Dact. Spond. Spond Dact. Spond.
Ad talos stola dimissa et circumdata palla. Hor.
Spond. Dact. Spond. Spond. Dact. Spond.
In the former, the pause falls in the middle of a word, which is a great blemiih, and the accent is disturbed by a harlh elision of the vowel a upon the particle et. In the latter the pauses and the accent are all of them distinct and full: there is no elision: and the words are more liquid and sounding. In these particulars consists the beauty of an Hexameter line with respect to melody; and by neglecting these, many lines in the Satires and Epistles of Horace are less agreeable than plain prose ; for they are neither the one nor the other in perfection : to draw melody from these lines, they must be pronounced without relation to the fense: it must not be regarded, that words arc divided by pauses, nor that harsh elisions are multiplied. To add to the account, prosaic low(bunding words are introduced; and which is still worse, accents are laid on them. Of such faulty lines take the following instances.
Candida rectaque sit, munda hactenus sit neque longa.
Next in order comes English Heroic verse, which shall be examined under the whole five heads, of number, quantity, arrangement, pausej and accent. This verse is of two kinds; one named rhyme or metre, and one blank verse. In the former, the lines are connected two and two by similarity of found in the final syllables; and two lines so connected are termed a couplet: similarity of sound being avoided in the latter, couplets are baniihed. These two sorts mull be handled separately, because there are many peculiarities in each. Beginning with rhyme or metre, the first article shall be discusled in a few words. . Every line consists of ten syllables, five short and five long; from which there are but two exceptions, both of them rare. The first is, where each line of a couplet is made eleven syllables, by an additional ihort syllable at the end:
There heroes' wits are kept in pond'rous vases,
H 4 The
The piece, you think, is incorrect? Why, take it;
This licence is sufftrable in a single couplet; but if frequent would soon become disgustful.
The other exception concerns the second line of a couplet, which is sometimes stretched out to twelve syllables, termed an Alexandrine line:
A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
That, like a wounded snake, drags its flow length along.
It doth extremely well when employ'd to close a period with a certain pomp and solemnity, where the subject makes that tone proper.
With regard to quantity, it is unnecessary to mention a second time, that the quantities employ'd in verse are but two, the one double of the other; that every syllable is reducible to one or other of these standards; and that a syllable of the larger quantity is termed long, and of the lesser quantity short. It belongs more to the present article, to examine what peculiarities there may be in the Engliih language as to long and short syllables. Every language has syllables that may be pronounced long or short at pleasure j but the English above all abounds in syllables of that kind: in words of three or more syllables, the quantity for the most part is invariable: the exceptions are more frequent in dissyllables: but as to monosyllables, they may, without many exceptions, be pronounced either long or sliort j
nor nor is the ear hurt by this liberty, custom rendering it familiar. This shows, that the melody of English verse must depend less upon quantity, than upon other circumstances: in which it differs widely from Latin verse, where every syllable, having but one sound, strikes the ear uniformly with its accustomed impression; and a reader must be delighted to find a number of such syllables, disposed so artfully as to raise a lively sense of melody. Syllables variable in quantity cannot possess this power; for though custom may render familiar, both a long and a fliort pronunciation of the fame word; yet the mind wavering between the two sounds, cannot be so much affected, as it is with the melody of a line, the syllables of which bear always the fame found. What I have further to fay upon quantity, will fall more properly under the following head, of arrangement.
And with respect to arrangement, which may be brought within a narrow compass, the English Heroic line is commonly Iambic, the first syllable lhort, the second long, and so on alternately through the whole line. One exception there is, pretty frequent, of lines commencing with a Trochæus, i. e. a long and a short syllable: but this affects not the order of the following syllables, which go on alternately as usual, one lhort and one long. The following couplet affords an example of each kind,