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where the sense or expression requires a variation, and that so far the melody may justly be facrificed. 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 lic cence may be taken, even gracefully, when it adds vigour 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 niin bounds;
plain : There ftops || 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 mufical 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 : the 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 licence : witness the following examples from his Paradise loft.
-Thus with the year
Celestial voices to the midnight-air
And over them triumphant Death his dart
And wild uproar
Stood rul'd | stood valt infinitude confin'd.
And hard'ning in his strength
From his flack hand the garland wreath'd for Eve
Of unessential night receives him next,
For now the thought
Torments him | round he throws his baleful eyes, &c. If we consider the foregoing passages with respect to melody fingly, the paules 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 observa ed, 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 nó less' to the sense, by distinguishing important words from others.* These two effects never can be separated, without impairing the concord that
ought * An accent considered with respect to lense in termed emphasis.
ought to fubfift 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 fecms 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 fignificant. The other general observation is, That a word of whatever number of syllables, is not accented upon more than onc 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 fyllables ; for a short fyllable is not capable of an accent. In the next place, as the melody is 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 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 fyllable. The former belongs to lines of the first and third or
der ; the latter to those of the second and fourth. Examples of the first kind :
Snooth flow the waves || the zephyrs gently play,
Examples of the other kind :
There lay three gârters || half a pair of gloves,
Our humble province || is to tend«he fair,
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 subver. live of the melody, if it be not the barring 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 significant ; 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 Effay on Crite icifin.
* Page 109
Of leaving what is natural and fit
Not yet purg'd off, || of spleen and sour disdain
No pardon vile || obscenity should find
When love was all || an easy monarch's care
For 'tis but half || a judge's talk to know
'Tis not enough, || taste, judgment, learning, join
That only makes || superior sense belov’d
Whose right it is, || uncensur'd, to be dull
'Tis best sometimes your censure to restrain.
When this fault is at the end of a line that closes a couplet, it leaves not the flightest trace of melody:
But of this frame the bearings, and the ties,
The strong connections, nice dependencies, In a line expressive of what is humble or dejected, it improves the resemblance between the found and sense to exclude the capital accent. This, to my talte, is a beauty in the following lines.
In the fe deep fólitudes || and awful cells