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mouth, produce a succession of weak and feeble
sounds; witness the French words dit-il, (says he);
pathetique, (pathetic): on the other hand, a fyl-
lable of the greatest aperture succeeding one of
the smallest, or the opposite, makes a succession,
which, because of its remarkable disagreeable-
ness, is distinguished by a proper name, viz.
hiatus. The most agreeable succession, is,
where the cavity is increased and diminished al-
ternately within moderate limits. Examples,
alternative, longevity, pufillanimous. Secondly,
words consisting wholly of syllables pronounced
flow, or of syllables pronounced quick, common-
ly called long and short syllables, have little me-
lody in them; witness the words petitioner,
fruiterer, dizziness.: on the other hand, the in-
termixture of long and short fyllables is remark-
ably agreeable ; for example, degree, repent,
wonderful, altitude, rapidity, independent, im-
petuosity *. The cause will be explained after-
ward, in treating of versification.

Distinguishable from the beauties above men-
tioned, there is a beauty of some words which a-
rises from their signification : when the emotion
raised by the length or shortness, the roughness

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* Italian words, like those of Latin and Greek, have this property almost universally : English and French words are gencrally deficient; in the former, the long fyllable being removed from the end as far as the found will permit; and in the latter, the last syllable being generally long. For example, Senator in Eng. lish, Senātor in Latin, and Senatēur in French.

or

or smoothness, of the found, refembles in any degree what is raised by the sense, we feel a very remarkable pleasure. But this subject belongs tb the third section.

The foregoing observations afford a standard to every nation, for estimating, pretty accurately, the comparative merit of the words that enter into their own language : but they are not equally useful in comparing the words of different languages; which will thus appear. Different nations judge differently of the liarshness or smoothness of articulate sounds; a sound, for example, harsh and disagreeable to an Italian, may be abundantly smooth'to a northern ear: here every nation must judge for itself; nor can there be any folid ground for a preference, when there is no common standard to which we can appeal. The case is precisely the same as in behaviour and manners : plain-dealing and sincerity, liberty in words and actions, form the character of one people; politeness, reserve, and a total disguise of every sentiment that can give offence, form the character of another people: to each the manners of the other are disagreeable. An effeminate mind cannot bear the least of that roughness and severity, which is generally esteemed manly when exerted upon proper occasions: neither can an effeminate ear bear the harshness of certain words, that are deemed nervous and founding by those accustomed to a rougher tone of speech. Mult we then relinquish all thoughts of comparing languages in the point of roughnefs and smoothness, as a fruitless inquiry? Not altogether so; for we may proceed a certain length, though without hope of an ultimate decision : a language with difficulty pronounced even by natives, must yield to a smoother language : and supposing two languages pronounced with equal facility by natives, the rougher language, in my judgement, ought to be preferred, provided it be also stored with a competent fhare of more mellow sounds; which will be evident from attending to the different effects that articulate found hath upon the mind. A sinooth gliding found is agreeable, by smoothing the mind, and Julling it to relt: a rough bold sound, on the contrary, animates the mind; the effort perceived in pronouncing, is coinmunicated to the hearers, who feel in their own minds a similar effort, rousing their attention, and disposing them to action. I add another consideration; that the agreeableness of contrast in the rougher language, for which the great variety of sounds gives ample opportunity, must, even in an effeminate ear, prevail over the more uniform sounds of the smoother language *. This appears to me all that can be safely determined upon the present point. With respect to the other circumstances

* That the Italian tongue is rather too smooth, secms probable from considering, that in versification vowels are frequently suppressed in order to produce a rougher and bolder tone.

that

that constitute the beauty of words, the standard above mentioned is infallible when apply'd to foreign languages as well as to our own : for every man, whatever be his mother-tongue, is equally capable to judge of the length or shortness of words, of the alternate opening and closing of the mouth in speaking, and of the relation that the found bears to the sense : in these particulars, the judgement is susceptible of no prejudice from custom, at least of no invincible prejudice.

That the English tongue, originally harf, is at present much foftened by dropping in the pronunciation many redundant consonants, is undoubtedly true: that it is not capable of being further mellowed without suffering in its force and energy, will scarce be thought by any one who possesses an ear; and yet such in Britain is the propensity for dispatch, that overlooking the majesty of words composed of many fyllables aptly connected, the prevailing taste is to shorten words, even at the expence of making them difagreeable to the ear, and harsh in the pronunciation. But I have no occasion to insist upon this article, being prevented by an excellent writer, who possessed, if any man ever did, the true genius of the English tongue *. I cannot however forbear urging one observation, borrowed from that author: several tenses of our verbs are

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* See Swift's proposal for correcting the English tongue, in a letter to the Earl of Oxford.

formed

formed by adding the final fyllable ed, which, being a weak sound, has remarkably the 'worse effect by possessing the most confpicuous place in the word; upon which account, the vowel in common speech is generally suppressed, and the consonant added to the foregoing syllable; and hence the following rugged sounds, drudg'd, disturb'd, rebuk'd, fledg'd. It is still less excufable to follow this practice in writing; for the hurry of speaking may excuse what is altogether improper in a composition of any value: tlie fyllable ed, it is true, makes but a poor figure at the end of a word; but we ought to submit to that defect, rather than multiply the number of harsh words, which, after all that has been done, bear an over-proportion in our tongue. The author above mentioned, by showing a good example, did all in his power to restore that fyllable; and he well deserves to be imitated. Some exceptions however I would make : a word that fignifies labour, or any thing harsh or rugged, ought not to be smooth; therefore forcid, with an apostrophe, is better than forced, without it : another exception is, where the penult fyllable ends with a vowel; in that case the final syllable ed may be apostrophized without making the word harsh: examples, betray'd, carry'd, destroy'd, employ'd.

The article next in order, is to consider the music of words as united in a period. And as the arrangement of words in fucceffion fo as to af

ford

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