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Talthybius and | Eurybates the good

It will be obvious at the first glance, that the foregoing reasoning pon objects naturally connected, is not applicable to words which of themselves are mere ciphers: we must, therefore, have recourse to some other principle for solving the present question. These particles out of their place are totally insignificant to give them a meaning, they must be joined to certain words; and the necessity of this junction, together with custom, forms an artificial connection that has a strong influence upon the mind; it cannot bear even a momentary separation, which destroys the sense, and is at the same time contradictory to practice. Another circumstance tends still more to make this separation disagreeable in lines of the first and third order, that it bars the accent, which will be explained afterward, in treating of the accent.

Hitherto we have spoken of that pause only which divides the line. We proceed to the pause that concludes the line; and the question is, whether the same rules are applicable to both? This must be answered by making a distinction. In the first line of a couplet, the concluding pause differs little, if at all, from the pause that divides the line; and for that reason, the rules are applicable to both equally. The concluding pause of the couplet is in a different condition it resembles greatly the concluding pause in an Hexameter line. Both of them indeed are so remarkable, that they never can be graceful, unless where they accompany a pause in the sense. Hence it follows, that a couplet ought always to be finished with some close in the sense; if not a point, at least a comma. The truth is, that this rule is seldom transgressed. In Pope's works, I find very few deviations from the rule. Take the following in


Another :

Nothing is foreign parts relate to whole;
One all-extending, all-preserving soul
Connects each being

To draw fresh colors from the vernal flow'rs,
To steal from rainbows ere they drop in show'rs
A brighter wash

I add, with respect to pauses in general, that supposing the connection to be so slender as to admit a pause, it follows not that a pause may in every such case be admitted. There is one rule to which every other ought to bend, that the sense must never be wounded or obscured by the music; and upon that account I condemn the following lines:

Ulysses, first in public cares, she found


Who rising, high || th' imperial sceptre rais'd.

With respect to inversion, it appears, both from reason and ex periments, that many words which cannot bear a separation in their natural order, admit a pause when inverted. And it may be added, that when two words, or two members of a sentence, in their natural order, can be separated by a pause, such separation can never be

amiss in an inverted order. An inverted period, which deviates from the natural train of ideas, requires to be marked in some measure even by pauses in the sense, that the parts may be distinctly known. Take the following examples:

As with cold lips || I kiss'd the sacred veil
With other beauties | charm my partial eyes
Full in my view Il set all the bright abode
With words like these II the troops Ulysses rul'd
Back to th' assembly roll ! the thronging train
Not for their grief | the Grecian host I blame.

The same where the separation is made at the close of the first line of the couplet:

For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease,
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.

The pause is tolerable even at the close of the couplet, for the reason just now suggested, that inverted members require some slight pause in the sense:

'Twas where the plane tree spreads its shades around:
The altars heav'd; and from the crumbling ground
A mighty dragon shot.

Thus a train of reasoning has insensibly led us to conclusions with regard to the musical pause, very different from those in the first section, concerning the separating by a circumstance of words intimately connected. One would conjecture, that wherever words are separable by interjecting a circumstance, they should be equally separable by interjecting a pause: but, upon a more narrow inspection, the appearance of analogy vanishes. This will be evident from considering, that a pause in the sense distinguishes the different members of a period from each other; whereas, when two words of the same member are separated by a circumstance, all the three make still but one member; and therefore that words may be separated by an interjected circumstance, though these words are not separated by a pause in the sense. This sets the matter in a clear light; for, as observed above, a musical pause is intimately connected with a pause in the sense, and ought, as far as possible, to be governed by it: particularly a musical pause ought never to be placed where a pause is excluded by the sense; as, for example, between the adjective and following substantive, which make parts of the same idea; and still less between a particle and the word that makes it significant.

Abstracting at present from the peculiarity of melody arising from the different pauses, it cannot fail to be observed in general, that they introduce into our verse no slight degree of variety. A number of uniform lines having all the same pause, are extremely fatiguing; which is remarkable in French versification. This imperfection will be discerned by a fine ear even in the shortest succession, and becomes intolerable in a long poem. Pope excels in the

variety of his melody; which, if different kinds can be compared, is indeed no less perfect than that of Virgil.

From what is last said, there ought to be one exception. Uniformity in the members of a thought demands equal uniformity in the verbal members which express that thought. When therefore resembling objects or things are expressed in a plurality of verselines, these lines in their structure ought to be as uniform as possible; and the pauses in particular ought all of them to have the same place. Take the following examples :

Again :

By foreign hands I thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands II thy decent limbs compos'd,
By foreign hands || thy humble grave adorn'd.

Bright as the sun II her eyes the gazers strike; And, like the sun, II they shine on all alike. Speaking of Nature, or the God of Nature:

Warms in the sun | refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars and blossoms in the trees;
Lives through all life | extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided || operates unspent.

Pauses will detain us longer than was foreseen; for the subject is not yet exhausted. It is laid down above, that English heroic verse admits no more than four capital pauses; and that the capital pause of every line is determined by the sense to be after the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, or seventh syllable. That this doctrine holds true as far as melody alone is concerned, will be testified by every good ear. At the same time, I admit, that this rule may be varied where the sense or expression requires a variation, and that so far the melody may justly be sacrificed. Examples accordingly are not unfrequent, in Milton especially, of the capital pause being after the first, the second, or the third syllable. And that this license may be taken, even gracefully, when it adds vigor to the expression, will be clear from the following example. Pope, in his translation of Homer, describes a rock broke off from a mountain, and hurling to the plain, in the following words:

From steep to steep the rolling ruin bounds;
At every shock the crackling wood resounds;
Still gath'ring force, it smokes; and urg'd amain,

Whirls, leaps, and thunders down, impetuous to the plain:
There stops. So Hector. Their whole force he prov'd,
Resistless when he rag'd; and when he stopt, unmov'd.

In the penult line, the proper place of the musical pause is at the end of the fifth syllable; but it enlivens the expression by its coincidence with that of the sense at the end of the second syllable: stopping short before the usual pause in the melody, aids the impression that is made by the description of the stone's stopping short; and what is lost to the melody by this artifice, is more than compensated by the force that is added to the description. Milton makes a happy use of this license: witness the following examples from his Paradise Lost:

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-For now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

Torments him ll round he throws his baleful eyes, &c.

If we consider the foregoing passages with respect to melody singly, the pauses are undoubtedly out of their proper place; but being united with those of the sense, they enforce the expression, and enliven it greatly; for, as has been more than once observed, the beauty of expression is communicated to the sound, which by a natural deception, makes even the melody appear more perfect than if the musical pauses were regular.

To explain the rules of accenting, two general observations must be premised. The first is, that accents have a double effect: they contribute to the melody, by giving it air and spirit; they contribute no less to the sense, by distinguishing important words from others,* These two effects never can be separated, without impairing the concord that ought to subsist between the thought and the melody: an accent, for example, placed on a low word, has the effect to burlesque it, by giving it an unnatural elevation; and the injury thus done to the sense does not rest there, for it seems also to injure the melody. Let us only reflect what a ridiculous figure a particle must make with an accent or emphasis put upon it—a particle that of itself has no meaning, and that serves only, like cement, to unite words significant. The other generai observation is, that a word of whatever number of syllables, is not accented upon more than one of them. The reason is, that the object is set in its best light by a single accent, so as to make more than one unnecessary for the sense: and if another be added, it must be for the sound merely; which would be a transgression of the foregoing rule, by separating a musical accent from that which is requisite for the sense.

Keeping in view the foregoing observations, the doctrine of accenting English heroic verse is extremely simple. In the first place, accenting is confined to the long syllables; for a short syllable is not capable of an accent. In the next place, as the melody is

* An accent considered with respect to sense is termed emphasis.

enriched in proportion to the number of accents, every word that has a long syllable may be accented; unless the sense interpose, which rejects the accenting of a word that makes no figure by its signification. According to this rule, a line may admit five accents—a case by no means rare.

But supposing every long syllable to be accented, there is, in every line, one accent that makes a greater figure than the rest, being that which precedes the capital pause. It is distinguished into two kinds; one that is immediately before the pause, and one that is divided from the pause by a short syllable. The former belongs to lines of the first and third order; the latter to those of the second and fourth. Examples of the first kind:

Smooth flow the wâves II 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 II half a pair of gloves,
And all the trophies | of his former loves.

Our humble province l is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing || though less glorious care.
And hew triumphal ârches 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 show 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 signifi cant; 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.

line 448. 1. 528.

1. 531.

1. 537.

Of leaving what || is natural and fit
Not yet purg'd off, I of spleen and sour disdain
No pardon vile I 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, U taste, judgment, learning, join
That only makes || superior sense belov'd
Whose right it is, I uncensur'd, to be dull
'Tis best sometimes, your censure to restrain.

1. 56°

1. 563. 1.578. 1. 590.


1. 597.

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

* Pages 308, 309

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