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exciting ideas, resemble by their softness or harshnefs the founds defcribed; and there are words which, by the celerity or flownefs of pronunciation, have fome refemblance to the motion they fignify. The imitative power of words goes one ftep farther the loftiness of fome words makes them proper symbols of lofty ideas; a rough fubject is imitated by harfh-founding words; and words of many fyllables pronounced flow and fmooth, are expreffive of grief and melancholy. Words have a separate effect on the mind, abftracting from their fignification and from their imitative power: they are more or lefs agreeable to the ear, by the fulness, sweetness, faintness, or roughness of their tones.

These are but faint beauties, being known to those only who have more than ordinary acuteness of perception. Language poffeffeth a beauty fuperior greatly in degree, of which we are eminently fenfible when a thought is communicated with perfpicuity and fprightlinefs. This beauty of language, arifing from its power of expreffing thought, is apt to be confounded with the beauty of the thought itself: the beauty of thought, tranfferred to the expreffion, makes it appear more beautiful. But these beauties, if we wish to think

We are

*Chap. 2. part 1. fect. 5. Demetrius Phalereus (of Elocution, fect. 75.) makes the fame observation. apt, fays that author, to confound the language with the fubject; and if the latter be nervous, we judge the fame



think accurately, must be diftinguished from each other. They are in reality fo diftinct, that we fometimes are confeious of the highest pleasure language can afford, when the fubject expreffed is disagreeable: a thing that is loathfome, or a scene of horror to make one's hair ftand on end, may be described in a manner fo lively, as that the difagreeableness of the subject shall not even obfcure the agreeableness of the defcription. The caufes of the original beauty of language, confidered as fignificant, which is a branch of the prefent fubject, will be explained in their order. I fhall only at present obferve, that this beauty is the beauty ofmeans fitted to an end, that of communicating thought and hence it evidently appears, that of feveral expreffions all conveying the fame thought, the most beautiful, in the sense now mentioned, is that which in the most perfect manner anfwers its end.

The several beauties of language above mentioned, being of different kinds, ought to be handled feparately. I fhall begin with those beauties of language that arife from found; after which will follow the beauties of language confidered as fignificant: this order appears natural; for the


of the former. But they are clearly diftinguishable; and it is not uncommon to find fubjects of great dignity dreffed in mean language. Theopompus is celebrated for the force of his diction; but erroneously: his fubject indeed has great force, but his style very little.

found of a word is attended to, before we confider its fignification. In a third fection come those fingular beauties of language that are derived from a refemblance between found and fignification. The beauties of verse are handled in the last fection for though the foregoing beauties are found in verfe as well as in profe, yet verse has many peculiar beauties, which for the fake of connection must be brought under one view; and verfification, at any rate, is a fubject of fo great importance as to deserve a place by itself.

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Beauty of Language with respect to Sound.


HIS fubject requires the following order. The founds of the different letters come firft: next, these founds as united in fyllables: third, fyllables united in words: fourth, words united in a period and in the laft place, periods united in a discourse.

With refpect to the first article, every vowel is founded with a fingle expiration of air from the wind-pipe, through the cavity of the mouth. By varying this cavity, the different vowels are founded: for the air in paffing through cavities differing in fize, produceth various founds, fome high or


fharp, fome low or flat: a small cavity occafions a high found, a large cavity a low found. The five vowels accordingly, pronounced with the fame extenfion of the wind-pipe, but with different openings of the mouth, form a regular feries of founds, descending from high to low, in the following order, i, e, a, o, u*. Each of these founds is agreeable to the ear: and if it be required which of them is the most agreeable, it is perhaps safest to hold, that those vowels which are the fartheft removed from the extremes, will be the most relifhed. This is all I have to remark upon the first article: for confonants being letters that of themfelves have no found, ferve only in conjunction with vowels to form articulate founds; and as every articulate found makes a fyllable, confonants come naturally under the second article; to which we proceed.

A confonant is pronounced with a lefs cavity than any vowel; and confequently every fyllable into which a confonant enters, must have more than one found, though pronounced with one expiration of air, or with one breath as commonly expreffed: for however readily two founds may unite, yet where they differ in tone, both of them muft be

In this fcale of founds, the letter i must be pronounced as in the word intereft, and as in other words beginning with the fyllable in; the letter e as in perfuafion; the letter a as in bat; and the letter u as in number.

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be heard if neither of them be fuppreffed. For the fame reason, every fyllable must be compofed of as many founds as there are letters, fuppofing every letter to be distinctly pronounced.

We next enquire, how far fyllables are agreeable to the ear. Few tongues are fo polifhed, as entirely to have rejected founds that are pronounced with difficulty; and it is a noted obfervation, That fuch founds are to the ear harfh and disagreeable. But with respect to agreeable founds, it appears, that a double found is always more agreeable than a fingle found: every one who has an ear must be sensible, that the dipththong oi or ai is more agreeable than any of these vowels pronounced fingly: the fame holds where a confonant enters into the double found; the fyllable le has a more agreeable found than the vowel e, or than any vowel. And in fupport of experience, a fatiffactory argument may be drawn from the wifdom of Providence: fpeech is beftowed on man, to qualify him for fociety; and his provifion of articulate founds is proportioned to the ufe he hath, for them; but if founds that are agreeable fingly were not alfo agreeable in conjunction, the neceffity of a painful felection would render language intricate and difficult to be attained in any perfection; and this selection, at the fame time, would abridge the number of useful founds, so as perhaps not to leave fufficient for anfwering the different ends of language.

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