Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

When two syllables likewise are abscinded from the rest, they evidently want some associate sounds to make them harmonious.

[ocr errors]

-Eyes--

-more wakeful than to drowse,
Charm'd with Arcadian pipe, the past'ral reed
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Meanwhile
To re-salute the world with sacred light
Leucothea wak’d.

He ended, and the Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watch'd : he blew
His trumpet.

First in the east his glorious lamp was seen,
Regent of day; and all th' horizon round
Invested with bright rays, jocund to run
His longitude through heav'n's high road; the gray
Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danc'd,
Shedding sweet influence.

The same defect is perceived in the following line, where the pause is at the second syllable from the beginning

The race

Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, 'till the savage clamour drown'd
Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend:

So fail not thou, who thee implores.

Her son.

When the pause falls upon the third syllable or the seventh, the harmony is better preserved; but as the third and seventh are weak syllables, the period

leaves

leaves the ear unsatisfied, and in expectation of the remaining part of the verse.

He, with his horrid crew,
Lay vanquish'd, rolling in the fiery gulph,
Confounded though iminortal. But his doom
Reserv'd him to more wrath ; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him.

God,- with frequent intercourse,
Thither will send his winged messengers
Onerrands of supernal grace.

So

sung The glorious train ascending:

L

It may be, I think, established as a rule, that a pause which concludes a period should be made for the most part upon a strong syllable, as the fourth and sixth ; but those pauses which only suspend the sense may be placed upon the weaker. Thus the rest in the third line of the first passage satisfies the ear better than in the fourth, and the close of the second quotation better than of the third.

The evil soon
Drawn back, redounded (as a flood) on those
From whom it sprung ; impossible to mix
With blessedness.

What we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides;
Tending to wild.

The paths and bow'rs doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with ease as wide
As we need walk, till

younger hands ere long
Assist us.

The rest in the fifth place has the same inconvenience as in the seventh and third, that the syllable is weak.

Beast now with beast ’gan war, and fowl with fowl,
And fish with fish, to graze the herb all leaving,
Devour'd each other: Nor stood much in awe
Of man, but fled him, or with countenance grim,
Glar'd on him passing.

The noblest and most majestic pauses which our versification admits, are upon the fourth and sixth syllables, which are both strongly sounded in a pure and regular verse, and at either of which the line is so divided, that both members participate of harmony

But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of heav'n
Shoots far into the bosom of dim night
A glimmering dawn : here nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and chaos to retire,

But far above all others, if I can give any crea dit to my own ear, is the rest upon the sixth syllable, which, taking in a complete compass of sound, such as is sufficient to constitute one of our lyrick measures, makes a full and solemn close. Some passages which conclude at this stop, I could never read without some strong emotions of delight or admiration,

Before the hills appear'd, or fountain flow'd,
Thou with the eternal wisdom didst converse,
Wisdom thy sister, and with her didet play
In presence of the Almighty Father, pleas'd
With thy celestial song,

Or

Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens fam’d of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales,
Thrice happy isles! But who dwelt happy there
He staid not to inquire.

He blew
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since, perhaps
When God descended; and, perhaps, once more
To sound at general doom.

If the poetry of Milton be examined, with regard to the pauses and flow of his verses into each other, it will appear, that he has performed all that our language would admit; and the comparison of his numbers with those who have cultivated the same manner of writing, will show that he excelled as much in the lower as the higher parts of his art, and that his skill in harmony was not less than his invention or his learning

NUMB. 91. Tuesday, January 29, 1751.

Dulcis inexpertis cultura potentis amici,
Expertus metuit,

HOR.

To court the great ones, and to sooth their pride,
Seems a sweet task to those that never tried;
But those that have, know well that danger's near. CREECH,

T

HE SCIENCES having long seen their votaries

labouring for the benefit of mankind without reward, put up their petition to Jupiter for a more equitable distribution of riches and honours. Jupiter was moved at their complaints, and touched with the approaching miseries of men, whom the Sciences, wearied with perpetual ingratitude, were now threatening to forsake, and who would have been reduced by their departure to feed in dens upon the mast of trees, to hunt their prey in deserts, and to perish under the paws of animals stronger and fiercer than theinselves.

A synod of the celestials was therefore convened, in which it was resolved, that PATRONAGE should descend to the assistance of the SCIENCES. PATRONAGE was the daughter of AstrEA, by a mortal father, and had been educated in the school of TRUTH, by the Goddesses, whom she was now appointed to protect. She had from her mother that dignity of aspect, which struck terrour into false merit, and from her mistress that reserve, which made her only accessible to those whom the Sciences brought into her presence.

She

« AnteriorContinuar »