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fus he mean melody or mufical measure: "stinctio, et æqualium et fæpe variorum inter"vallorum percuffio, numerum conficit; quem "in cadentibus guttis, quod intervallis diftinguuntur, notare poffumus." Falling drops, whether with equal or unequal intervals, are certainly not musical: we are not fenfible of a mufical expreffion but in a fucceffion of long and fhort notes. And this alfo was probably the opinion of the author cited, though his expreffion be a little unguarded *.

It will probably occur, that melody, as de pending on long and short fyllables combined in a fentence, may be found in profe as well as in verfe; confidering efpecially; that in both, particular words are accented or pronounced in a higher tone than the reft; and therefore that verse cannot be distinguished from profe by melody merely. The observation is juft; and it follows, that the distinction between them, fince it depends not fingly on melody, muft arife from the difference of the melody: which is precifely the cafe, though this difference cannot with any accuracy be explained in words, further than by

From this paffage, however, we difcover the etymology of the Latin term for mufical expreffion. Every one being fenfible that there is no music in a continued found; the first inquiries were probably carried no farther, than that to produce a mufical expreffion, a number of founds is neceffary; and mufical expreffion obtained the name of numerus, before it was clearly ascertained, that variety is neceffary as well as number.


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faying, that verfe is more musical than profe, and its melody more perfect. The difference between verse and profe, resembles the difference in mufic properly fo called between the fong and the recitative: and the resemblance is not the lefs complete, that thefe differences, like the fhades of colours, approximate fometimes fo near

as fcarce to be difcernible: a recitative in its movement approaches fometimes to the liveliness of a fong; which, on the other hand, degenerates fometimes toward a plain recitative. Nothing is more diftinguishable from profe, than the bulk of Virgil's Hexameters: many of thofe composed by Horace, are very little removed from profe: Sapphic verse has a very sensible melody that, on the other hand, of an Iambic, is extremely faint *.

This more perfect melody of articulate founds, is what diftinguisheth verfe from profe. Verfe is fubjected to certain inflexible laws; the number and variety of the component fyllables being afcertained, and in fome measure the order of fucceffion. Such reftraint makes it a matter of difficulty to compose in verse; a difficulty that is not to be furmounted but by a peculiar genius. Useful leffons of every fort convey'd to us in verfe, are agreeable by the union of mufic with

* Mufic, properly fo called, is analyfed into melody and har mony. A fucceffion of founds fo as to be agreeable to the ear, conftitutes melody: harmony arifes from coexifting founds. Verse therefore can only reach melody, and not harmony.

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inftruction. But are we for that reafon to reject knowledge offered in a plainer drefs? drefs That would be ridiculous; for knowledge may be acquired without mufic, and mufic is entertaining independent of knowledge: many there are, not lefs willing than capable to inftruct us, who have no genius for verfe. Hence the use of profe; which, for the reafon now given, is not confined to precife rules. There belongs to it, a certain melody of an inferior kind, which, being extremely ornamental, ought to be the aim of every writer; but to fucceed in it, practice is neceffary more than genius. Nor are we rigid on this article: provided the work convey inftruction, its chief end, we are the lefs folicitous about its drefs.

Having ascertained the nature and limits of our fubject, I proceed to the laws by which it is regulated. These would be endlefs, were verfe of all different kinds to be taken under confideration. I propose therefore to confine the inquiry, to Latin or Greek Hexameter, and to French and English Heroic verfe; which perhaps may carry me farther than the reader will chufe to follow. The obfervations I fhall have occafion to make, will at any rate be fufficient for a specimen; and thefe, with proper variations, may easily be transferred to the compofition of other forts of verse.

Before I enter upon particulars, it must be premised in general, that to verse of every kind, five things are of importance. ft, The num


2d, The

ber of fyllables that compofe a verfe. different lengths of fyllables, i. e. the difference of time taken in pronouncing. 3d, The arrangement of these fyllables combined in words. 4th, The pauses or ftops in pronouncing. 5th, Pronouncing fyllables in a high or a low tone. The three first mentioned are obviously effential to verfe if any of them be wanting, there cannot be that higher degree of melody which diftinguifheth verfe from profe. To give a juft notion of the fourth, it must be observed, that paufes are neceffary for three different purposes: one, to feparate periods, and members of the fame period, according to the fenfe: another, to improve the melody of verfe: and the laft, to afford opportunity for drawing breath in reading. A pause of the first kind is variable, being long or fhort, frequent or lefs frequent, as the fenfe requires. A pause of the fecond kind, is in no degree arbitrary; its place being determined by the melody. The last fort again is in a measure arbitrary, depending on the reader's command of breath: this fort ought always to coincide with the first or fecond; for one cannot read with grace, unlefs, for drawing breath, opportunity be taken of a pause in the fenfe or in the melody; and for that reafon this pause may be laid afide. With refpect then to the paufes of fense and of melody, it may be affirmed without hesitation, that their coincidence in verse is a capital beauty but as it cannot be expected, in

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a long work especially, that every line fhould be fo perfect; we fhall afterward have occafion to fee, that the paufe neceffary for the fenfe muft often, in fome degree, be facrificed to the verse-pause, and the latter fometimes to the former.

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The pronouncing fyllables in a high or low tone, contributes alfo to melody. In reading, whether verfe or profe, a certain tone is affumed, which may be called the key-note; and in this tone the bulk of the words are founded, Sometimes to humour the fenfe, and fometimes the melody, a particular fyllable is founded in a higher tone; and this is termed accenting a fyllable, or gracing it with an accent. Opposed to the accent, is the cadence, which I have not mentioned as one of the requifites of verfe, because it is entirely regulated by the fenfe, and hath no peculiar relation to verfe. The cadence is a falling of the voice below the key-note at the clofe of every period; and fo little is it effential to verfe, that in correct reading the final fyllable of every line is accented, that fyllable only excepted which clofes the period, where the sense requires a cadence. The reader may be fatisfied of this by experiments; and for that purpose I recommend to him the Rape of the Lock, which, in point of verfification, is the most complete performance in the English language. Let him confult in particular a period canto 2, beginning at line 47. and closed line 52. with the word gay, which only of the whole final fyllables is pronoun


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