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Here the third pair of syllables in the first, and fourth pair in the second, verse, have their accents retrograde or inverted; the first fyllable being strong or acute, and the second weak. The detriment, which the measure suffers by this inversion of the accents, is sometimes less perceptible, when the verses are carried one into another, but is remarkably striking in this place, where the vicious verse concludes a period; and is yet more offensive in rhyme, when we regularly attend to the flow of every single line. This will appear by reading a couplet, in which Cowley, an author not fufficiently ftudious of harmony, has committed the same fault;

« His harmless life “ Does with fubftantial blessedness abound, “ And the soft wings of peace cover him round.”

In these the law of metre is very grossly violated by mingling combinations of sound directly opposite to each other, as Milton expresses it in his Sonnet to Henry Lawes, by committing short and long, and setting one part of the measure at variance with the rest. The ancients, who had a language more capable of variety than ours, had two kinds of verse; the lambick, consisting of Mort and long syllables alternately, from which our heroick measure is derived; and the Trochaick, consisting in a like alternation of long and short. These were considered as opposites, and conveyed the contrary images of speed and flowness; to confound them, therefore, as in these lines, is to deviate from the established practice. But, where VOL. II.


the senses are to judge, authority is not necessary; the ear is sufficient to detect diffonance; nor should I have fought auxiliaries, on such an occasion, against any naine but that of Milton.

“ There is no reputation for genius,” says Quintilian, “to be gained by writing on things, which, however neceffary, have little fplendour or fhow. The height of a building attracts the eye, but the foundations lie without regard. Yet, fince there is not any way to the top of science but from the lowest parts, I shall think nothing unconnected with the art of oratory, which he that wants cannot be an orator."

Confirmed and animated by this illustrious preccdent, I fhall continue my inquiries into Milton's art of versification. Since, however minute the employment may appear of analysing lines into fyllables, and whatever ridicule may be incurred by a folemn deliberation upon accents and pauses, it is certain that without this petty knowledge no man can be a poet; and that from the proper dir position of single sounds results that harmony which adds force to reason, and gives grace to sublimity; which shackles attention, and governs passion.

That verse may be melodious and pleasing, it is necessary, not only that the words be so ranged as that the accent may fall on its proper place,

e as that the accent may fall on its proper pluce,] Mr. Tyrwhitt says, “ It is agreed, I believe, that, in our heroick metre, those verses, considered tingly, are the most harmonious, in which the accents fall upon the even fyllables; but it has never, that I know, been defined, how far a verso may vary from this its most perfect form, and yet reinain a verse. On the tenth (or rhyming)

but that the syllables themselves be so chosen as to flow smoothly into one another. This is to be effected by a proportionate mixture of vowels and consonants, and by tempering the mute consonants, with liquids and semivowels. The Hebrew grammarians have observed, that it is impossible to pronounce two consonants without the intervention of a vowel, or without some emission of the breath between one and the other; this is longer and more perceptible, as the sounds of the confonants are less harmonically conjoined; and by consequence, the flow of the verse is longer interrupted.

It is pronounced by Dryden, that a line of monofyllables is almost always harsh, This, with regard to our language, « is evidently true, not

syllable a strong accent is in all cases indispensably required; and, in order to make the line tolerably harmonious, it seems neceffary that at least two more of the even fyllables should be accented, the fourth being (almost always) one of them. Milton, however, has not subjected his verse even to these rules; and particularly, either by negligence or design, he has frequently put an unaccenteil fyllable in the fourth place. See Pur. Loft, B. ii. 36, 586, B. v. 413, 750, 874." Ejay on the Lang, and Verhf. of Chancer, p. 62. The second passage, to which Mr. Tyrwhitt refers, is considered by another critick as a verse of admirable effect; the rapidity of the dactyl in the second place, where it is unusual, having great force, especially when joined, as in this instance, with other quick feet, the truchee or pyrrhick:

Shoots indrīsīšlel virtue even to the deep.” Again, B. ii. sso.

IV ith im\pēt vožs) recoil, and jarring found." See Foster's El. on Accent, 2d edit. p. 58. TODD.

is evidently true,] With fubmiffion to Dr. Johnfon's opinion, I think I may produce, from Milton's poetry, lines conffting of

because monosyllables cannot compose harmony, out because our monosyllables being of Teutonick original, or formed by contraction, commonly begin and end with consonants, as,

every lower faculty ? Of sense, whereby. they hear, see, smell, touch, taste."

The difference of harmony, arising principally from the collocation of vowels and confonants, will be sufficiently conceived by attending to the following passages :

—there grows,

Immortal amarant “ And flowers aloft Ahading the fount of life, And where the river of bliss tlırough midst of Heaven " Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber fiream ; “ With these that never fade the Spirits elect “ Bind theịr resplendent locks inwreath'd with beams."

The same comparison that I propose to be made between the fourth and fixth verses of this passage,

monofyllables, which are by no means harsh; but, on the contrary, most musically expressive: As in Comus, v. 87, of Thyrsis :

“ Who with his soft pipe, and smootlı-dittied song,

Well knows to fill the wild winds when they roar,And in Par, Lol, B. y. 193.

“ His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters blow,

" Breathe soft or loud; and, wave your tops, ye Pines.Many instances indeed might be added. I must not omit that truly sublime description at the beginning of the address juft cited :

On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol
( Him firs, him lur, him midt, and without end." TODD,

may be repeaid between the last lines of the following quotations :

« Underfoot the violet, “ Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay Broider'd the ground, more colour'd than with fone « Of costlieft emblern.”

“ Here, in close recess, “ With flowers, garlands, and sweet-Imelling herbs,

Espoused Eve deck'd tirst her nuptial bed; And heavenly quires the hymenaan fung.

Milton, whose ear had been accustomed not only to the musick of the ancient tongues, which, however vitiated by our pronunciation, excell all that are now in use; but to the softness of the Italian, the mott mellifluous of all modern poetry; seems fully convinced of the unfitness of our language for smooth versification, and is therefore pleated with an opportunity of calling in a softer 'word to his assistance; for this reason, and I believe for this only, he fometimes indulges himself in a long series of proper names, and introduces them where they add little but musick to his Poem:

« The richer seat « Of Atabalipa ; and yet unspoil'd “ Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons “ Call El Dorado.".


whose orb Through optick glass the Tuscan artist views

« The

and I believe for this only,] Yet the second passage, which Dr. Johnson here cites, seems to have been introduced by Milton rather as a compliment 1o Galileo; as an affectionate remembrance alfo of thofe delightful scenes in Italy which the poet had formerly visited. TODD,

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