Page images
PDF
EPUB

paffing under the name of particles. Upon these the question occurs, Whether, they can be separated by a pause from the words that make them fignificant ? Whether, for example, in the following lines, the separation of the accessory preposition from the prin: cipal substantive be according to rule ?

The goddess with a discontented air
And heighten'd by the diamond's circling rays
When vi&ims at || Fon altar's foot we lay
So take it in the very words of Creech
An ensign of the delegates of Jove
Two ages o'er | bis native realm he reign'd
While angels, with their silver wings o'ershade.

Or the separation of the conjunction from the word that is connected by it with the antecedent word :

Talthybius and || Eurybates the good

It will be obvious at the first glance, that the fores going reasoning upon 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 insignifa icant : to give them a meaning, they must be joined to certain words; and the necessity of this junétion, together with custom, forms an artificial connection that has a strong influence upon the mind : it cannot bear even a momentary feparation, 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

Hitherto upon that pause only which divides the line. We proceed to the pause that concludes the line ; and the question is, whether the same rules be 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 conclud. ing pause of the couplet is in a different condition : it resembles greatly ihe concluding pause in an Hex. ameter line. Both of thein indeed are fo remarkable, that they never can be graceful, unless where they accompany a pause in the fense. Hence it follows, that a couplet ought always to be finished with fome close in the sense ; if not a point, at least a comma. The truth is, that this rule is seldom tranigressed. In Pope's works, I find very few deviations from the rule. Take the following instances :

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

Another :

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

I add, with respect to pauses in general, that sup. posing the connection to be so flender as to admit a paule, 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 :

Ulylics, first || in public cares, Me found

And,

And,

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

[ocr errors]

With respect to inversion, it appears, both from reason and experiments, 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, fuch 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 :

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

As with cold lips || I kiss'd the sacred veil
With o:her beauties || charm my partial eyes
Full in my view || let all the bright abode
With words like these the troops Ulyfes rul'd
Back to th' assembly roll || the thronging train
Not for their griet | the Grecian holt 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,
Aftuine what sexes and what thapes they please.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

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

[merged small][ocr errors]

'Twas where the plane-tree spreads its shades around
The altars heav'd, and from ale crumbling ground
A nighty dragon shot.

Thus

[ocr errors]

Thus a train of reasoning hath 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 words intimately connected. One would conjecture, that where. ever words are feparable by interjecting a circumftance, they should be equally separable by interject. ing a pause : but upon a more nårrow inspection, the appearance of analogy vanislieth. This will be evident from considering, that a pause in the sense distinguishes the different members of a period from cach other ; whereas, when two words of the same inember are separated by a circumstance, all the three make still but one member; and therefore that words may be feparated 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 in. timately 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 senfe ; 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 fignificant.

Abstracting at present from the peculiarity of mel. ody arising from the different pauses, it cannot fail to be observed in general, that they introduce into our verfe no flight degree of variety. A number of uniform lines having all the same pause, are extremely fatiguing ; which is remarkable in French verfi. fication. This imperiection will be discerned by 2 fine car even in the Thortest succellion, and becomes intolerable in a long poems Pope excels in the va

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

riety 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 verle-lines, 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 :

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Again :

Bright as the fun || her eyes the gazers strike :

And, like the sun, || they shine on all alike.
Speaking of Nature, or the God of Nature :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Warms in the fun | refreshes in the breeze,
Giows in the stars || and blofToms in the trees;
Lives through all lite || extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided || operates unspent.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 but four capital pauses ; and that the capital pause of ev. ery line is determined by the sense to be after the fourth, the fifth, the fixth, or seventh fyllable. That this doctrine holds true as far as melody alone is concerned, will be testified by every good car.

At the same time, I admit, that this rule may be varied

where VOL. II.

H

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »