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"the work. Homer hurries us with a commanding "impetuosity; Virgil leads us with an attractive maj"esty. Homer scatters with a generous profusion; "Virgil bestows with a careful magnificence, Homer, "like the Nile, pours out his riches with a sudden "overflow; Virgil, like a river in its banks, with a


constant stream. When we look upon their ma "chines, Homer seems like his own Jupiter in his ter (6 rors, shaking Olympus, scattering lightnings, and fir"ing the heavens. Virgil like the same power in his benevolence, counselling with the gods, laying plans "for empires, and ordering his whole creation." Peri. ods, thus constructed, when introduced with propriety, and not too frequently repeated, have a sensible beauty. But, if such a construction be aimed at in every sentence, it betrays into a disagreeable uniformity, and produces a regular jingle in the period, which tires the ear, and plainly discovers affectation.


HAVING considered sentences with regard to their meaning under the heads of Perspicuity, Unity, and Strength; we shall now consider them with respect to their sound..

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In the harmony of periods two things are to be considered. First, agreeable sound or modulation in gene

ral without any particular expression. Next, the sound so ordered as to become expressive of the sense. The first is the more common; the second the superior beauty.

The beauty of musical construction depends upon the choice and arrangement of words. Those words are most pleasing to the ear, which are composed of smooth and liquid sounds, in which there is a proper intermixture of vowels and consonants without too many harsh consonants, or too many open vowels in succession. Long words are generally more pleasing to the ear than monosyllables; and those are the most musical, which are not wholly composed of long and short syllables, but of an intermixture of them; such as delight, amuse, velocity, celerity, beautiful, impetuosity. If the words, however, which compose a sentence, be ever so well chosen and harmonious; yet, if they be unskilfully arranged, its music is entirely lost. As an instance of a musical sentence, we may take the following from Milton: "We shall conduct you to a hill. "side, laborious indeed at the first ascent; but else, so « smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospects and ❝ melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Or"pheus was not more charming." Every thing in this sentence conspires to render it harmonious. The words are well chosen; laborious, smooth, green, goodly, melodious, charming; and so happily arranged, that not alteration can be made without injuring the melody.

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There are two things on which the music of a sentence principally depends; these are, the proper dis tribution of the several members of it, and the close or cadence of the whole.

First, the distribution of the several members should be carefully regarded. Whatever is easy to the organs of speech, is always grateful to the ear. While a period advances, the termination of cach member forms a pause in the pronunciation; and these pauses should be so distributed, as to bear a certain musica! proportion to each other. This will be best illustrated by example. "This discourse concerning the easiness "of God's commands does all along suppose and ac"knowledge the difficulties of the first entrance upon a "religious course; except only in those persons who "have had the happiness to be trained up to religion "by the easy and insensible degrees of a pious and vir "tuous education." This sentence is far from being harmonious owing chiefly to this, that there is but one pause in it, by which it is divided into two members; each of which is so long as to require a considerable stretch of breath in pronouncing it. On the contrary, let us observe the grace of the following passage from Sir William Temple, in which he speaks sarcastically of man. "But, God be thanked, his pride is greater ❝ than his ignorance; and, what he wants in knowledge, "he supplies by sufficiency. When he has looked about "him as far as he can, he concludes there is no more

"to be seen; when he is at the end of his line, he is "at the bottom of the ocean; when he has shot his "best, he is sure none ever did, or even can shoot "better, or beyond it. His own reason he holds to be "the certain measure of truth; and his own know"ledge of what is possible in nature." Here every thing is at once easy to the breath, and grateful to the ear. We must however observe, that if composition abound with sentences, which have too many rests, and these placed at intervals apparently measured and regular, it is apt to savour of affectation.


The next thing which demands attention, is the close or cadence of the period. The only important rule, which can here be given, is this, when we aim at dignity or elevation, the sound should increase to the last; the longest members of the period, and the fullest and most sonorous words should be reserved for the conclusion. As an instance of this, the following sentence of Addison may be given. "It fills the mind "with the largest variety of ideas;

converses with its


objects at the greatest distance; and continues the "longest in action without being tired or satiated with. "its proper enjoyments." Here every reader must be sensible of beauty in the just distribution of the pauses, and in the manner of rounding the period, and of bringing it to a full and harmonious close.


It be remarked, that little words in the conclusion of a sentence are injurious to melody, as they are I

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inconsistent with strength of expression. A musical close in our language seems in general to require either the last syllable, or the last but one, to be a long syllable. Words which consist chiefly of short syllables, as contrary, particular, retrospect, seldom terminate a sentence harmoniously, unless a previous run of long syllables have rendered them pleasing to the ear.

Sentences, however, which are so constructed as to make the sound always swell toward the end, and rest either on the last or penult syllable, give a discourse the tone of declamation. If melody be not varied, the ear is soon cloyed with it. Sentences constructed in the same manner, with the pauses at equal intervals, should never succeed each other. Short sentences must be blended with long and swelling ones, to render discourse sprightly as well as magnificent.

We now proceed to treat of a higher species of har mony; the sound adapted to the sense. Of this we may remark two degrees. First, the current of sound suited to the tenor of a discourse. Next, a peculiar resemblance effected between some object and the sounds that are employed in describing it.

Sounds have in many respects an intimate correspondence with our ideas; partly natural, partly produced by artificial associations. Hence any one modulation of sound continued, stamps on style a certain character. and expression. Sentences, constructed with Ciceroni

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