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ed in English. It was not only the termination of many of the participles, but also of most plurals both of nouns and of verbs. As a plural termination, if we except a very few nouns, we may say it is now en

a tirely banished, and very much, perhaps too much, disused in participles. The sound is unmusical, and

, consequently, when too frequent, offensive, but may nevertheless have a good effect when used sparingly. Besides, it would be convenient, especially in verse, that we could oftener distinguished the preterit from the participle, than our language permits.

Now, of the five sorts of sound above explained, it may be remarked by the way, that the first is characteristic of the Italian, the second of the Spanish, the third of the Dutch, and perhaps of most of the Teutonic dialects; the fourth of the English, and the fifth of the French, whose final m and n, when not followed by a vowel, and whose terminations, ent and ant, are much more nazal than the ng and nk of the English. I suspect, too, both from their prosody and from their pronunciation, that of all the languages above mentioned, the French is the least capable of that kind of imitation of which I have been speaking. On the other hand, I think, but in this opinion I am not confident, that of all those languages the English is, on the whole, the most capable. There is perhaps no particular excellence of sound in which it is not outdone by one or other of them ;-the Italian hath doubtless more sweetness, the Spanish more majesty,

Of vivacity as depending on the choice of words.

the German perhaps more bluster; but none of them is in this respect so various as the English, and can equal it in all the qualities.

So much for the properties in things that are susceptible of a kind of imitation by language, and the degree in which they are susceptible.

PART II.... In what esteem ought this kind of imitation to be

held, and when ought it to be attempted?

It remains now to consider what rank ought to be assigned to this species of beauty, and in what cases it ought to be attempted.

As to the first of these inquiries, from what hath been already said it appears very plain, that the rèm semblance or analogy which the sound can be made in any case to bear to the sense, is at best, when we consider the matter abstractly, but very remote.

Of ten a beauty of this kind is more the creature of the reader's fancy, than the effect of the writer's ingenuity.

ANOTHER observation, which will assist us in determining this question, is, that when the other properties of elocution are attained, the absence of this kind of imagery, if I may express it by so strong a term, occasions no defect at all. We never miss it. We never think of it. Whereas an ambiguous, ob

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scure, improper, languid, or inelegant expression, is quickly discovered by a person of knowledge and taste, and pronounced to be a blemish. Nor is this species of resemblance to be considered as on the same footing with those superior excellencies, the want of which, by reason of their uncommonness, is never censured as a fault, but which, when present, give rise to the highest admiration. On the contrary, not the absence only, but even the attainment of this resemblance, as far as it is attainable, runs more risk of passing unheeded than any other species of beauty in the style. I ought however to except from this, the imitation produced by the different kinds of measure in poetry, which, I acknowledge, is sufficiently observable, and hath a much stronger effect than any other whereof language alone is susceptible. The reason why in other cases it may so readily pass unnoticed, is, that even the richest and most diversified language hath very little power, as hath been shown already, in this particular. It is therefore evident, that if the merit of every kind of rhetorical excellence is to be ascertained by the effect, and I know of no other standard, to this species we can only assign with justice the very lowest rank.

lowest rank. It ought consequently ever to give place to the other virtues and ornaments of elocution, and not they to it.

As to the other question, In what cases it may be proper to aim at the similitude in sound of which I have been treating; those cases will appear to one

Of vivacity as depending on the choice of words.

who attentively considers what hath been already advanced on the subject, to be comparatively few. Hardly any compositions in prose, unless those whose end is to persuade, and which aim at a certain vehemence in style and sentiment, give access to exemplify this resemblance. And even in poetry it is only the most pathetic passages, and the descriptive parts, to which the beauty whereof I am speaking seems naturally adapted. The critical style, the argumentative, and the didactic, by no means suit it. Yet it may be said, that some of the examples above quoted, for the illustration of this subject, are taken from writings of the kind last mentioned, from Pope on Criticism, and Vida on Poesy. But it must be observed, that the authors, in the passages alluded to, are discoursing on this very subject. An exemplification was therefore necessary in them, in order to convey to their readers a distinct idea of what they meant to recommend.


I must further observe, that, even in those poems wherein this kind of resemblance is most suitable, it is only in a few passages, when something more striking than ordinary comes to be described, that it ought to be attempted. This beauty in language is not to be considered as bearing an analogy to dress, by which the whole person is adorned, but to those jewels which åre intended solely for the decoration of certain parts, and whose effect depends very much on their being placed with judgment. It is an invariable rule, that

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in every poem and oration, whatever be the subject, the language, in the general tenor of it, ought to be harmonious and easy. A deviation, in a few particu: lar passages, may not only be pardonable, but even meritorious. Yet this merit, when there is a merit in introducing harsh sounds and jarring numbers, as on some occasions there doubtless is, receives great relief from its contrariety to the general flow of the style. And, with regard to the general flow, as I observed already, the rule holds invariably. Supposing the subject of the piece were the twelve labours of Hercules, should the poet, in order to adapt his language to his theme, choose words of the most difficult utterance, and through the whole performance studiously avoid harmony and grace ; far from securing to himself admiration, he would not even be read.

I SHALL only add, that though it is not prudent in an author to go a step out of his way in quest of this capricious beauty, who, when she does not act spontaneously, does nothing gracefully, a poet in particular may not unreasonably be more solicitous to avoid her opposite, especially in the expression of the more striking thoughts; as nothing in such a case can be more ungraceful in the style, than when, either in: sjund or in measure, it serves as a contrast to the sentiment.

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