« PreviousContinue »
quantity. In the following examples we perceive the same defect :
And old impertinence expel by new
The great variety of melody conspicuous in English verse, arises chiefly from the pauses and accents ; which are of greater importance than is commonly thought. There is a degree of intricacy in this branch of our subject, and it will be difficult to give a distinct view of it, but it is too late to think of difficulties after we are engaged. The pause, which paves the way to the accent, offers itself first to our examination; and from a very fort trial, the following facts will be verified. ift, A line admits but one capital pause. 2d, In different lines, we find this pause after the fourth fyllable, after the fifth, after the sixth, and after the seventh. These four places of the pause lay a solid foundation for dividing English Heroic lines into four kinds and I warn the reader beforehand, that unless he attend to this distinction, he cannot have any just n tion of the richness and variety of English versification. Each kind or order hath a melody peculiar to itself, readily distinguishable by a good ear : and I am not without hopes to make the cause of this peculiarity fufficiently evident. It must be observed, at the same time, that the pause cannot be made indifferently at any of the places mentioned : it is the sense that rega ulates the pause, as will be seen afterward ; and con
sequently, it is the fanse that determines of what or, der every line must be : there can be but one capital musical pause in a line ; and that pause ought to coincide, if possible, with a pause in the sense, in or. der that the sound may accord with the sense.
What is said shall be illustrated by examples of each sort or order. And first of the pause after the fourth fyllable :
Back through the paths || of pleasing sense I ran. Again,
Profuse of bliss || and pregnant with delight.
So when an angel || by divine command,
After the 6th :
Speed the soft intercourse | from soul to foul. Again,
Then from his closing eyes | thy form shall part.
After the 7th :
And taught the doubtful battle || where to rage. Again,
And in the smooth description || murmur still. Beside the capital pause now mentioned, infcrior pauses will be discovered by a nice ear.
Of these there are commonly two in each line : one before the capital pause, and one after it. The former
comes invariably after the first long syllable, whether the line begin with a long fyllable or a short. The other in its variety imitates the capital pause : in some lines it comes after the 6th fyllable, in some after the 7th, and in some after the 8th. Of these semipauses take the following examples.
Ist and 8th :
Led through a fad || variety / of wo.
Ist and 7th :
Still on that breast cnamour'd | let me lie.
2d and 8th :
From storms | a shelter || and from heat | a shade.
2d and 6th :
Let wealth. let honour #wait the wedded dame. 2d and 7th :
Above all pain | all passion and all pride. Even from these few examples it appears, that the place of the last femipause, like that of the full pause, is directed in a good measure by the sense. Its proper place with respect to the melody is after the eighth fyllable,' so as to finish the line with an lambus distinály pronounced, which, by a long syllable after a short, is a preparation for rest : but sometimes it comes after the 6th, and fometimes after the 7th fyllable, in order to avoid a pause in the middle of a word, or between two words intimately connected ; and so far melody is justly sacrificed to sense. G3
In discoursing of Hexameter verse, it was laid down as a rule, That a full pause ought never to di. vide a word : such licence deviates too far from the coincidence that ought to be between the pauses of sense and of melody. The same rule mult obtain in an English line ; and we shall support reason by ex. periments :
A noble super||luiry it craves
Abhor, a perpef uity should land
Are these lines distinguishable from profe? Scarcely, I think.
The same rule is not applicable to a semipause, which being short and faint, is not sensibly disagree. able when it divides a word.
Relen Hess walls i whose dark some round | contains
It must however be acknowledged, that the melody here fuffers in fome degree: a word ought to be pronounced without any rest between its component syllables : a semipause that bends to this rule, is scarce perceived.
The capital pause is so essential to the melody, that one cannot be too nice in the choice of its place, in order to have it clear and distinct. It cannot be in better company than with a pause in the sense ; and if the fenfe require but a comma after the fourth, fifth, fixth, or seventh fyllable, it is sufficient for the musical pause. But to make such coincidence essential, would cramp versification too much ; and we have experience for our authority, that there may be a pause in the melody where the sense requires
it I neras farhus
We must not however imagine, that a mufical pause may come after any word indifferently: some words, like fyllables of the same word, are so intimately connected, as not to bear a separation even by a pause. The separating, for example, a fuli? untive from its article would be harsh and unplea.unt : witness the following line, which cannot be pronounced with a pause as marked,
nuit obri rcalon be
If Delia sinile, the flow'rs begin to spring. But ought to be pronounced in the following manner,
If Delia smile, l the flow'rs begin to spring,
If then it be not a matter of indifference where to make the pause, there ought to be rules for determining what words may be separated by a pause, and what are incapable of such feparation. I shall endeavour to ascertain these rules ; not chiefly for their utility, but in order to unfold fome latent principles, that tend to regulate our taste even where we are scarce sensible of them : and to that end, the method that appears the most promiling, is to run over the verbal relations, beginning with the most intimate. The first that presents itself is that of adjective and substantive, being the relation of subject and quality, the most intimate of all : and with respect to such intimate companions, the question is, Whether they can bear to be separated by a paute. What occurs is, that a quality cannot exist independent of a subject ; nor are they separable even in imagination, because they make parts of the same idea : and for that reason, with respect to melody as well as sense, it must be disagreeable, to beltow upon the adjective &