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Xlli.

LECT. lating the measures of prose, he comes at last,

with his usual good sense, to this conclusion: “ In universum, fi fit neceffe, duram potiùs

atque asperam compofitionein malim effe,

quam effeminatam ac enervem, qualis apud “ multos. Ideòque, vineta quædam de in« duftria sunt folvenda, ne laborata videantur ;

neque ullum idoneum aut aptum verbum prætermittamus, gratiâ lenitatis *.” Lib. ix.

C. 4.

CICERO, as I before observed, is one of the most remarkable patterns of a harmonious style. His love of it, however, is too visible; and the pomp of his numbers fometimes de, tracts from his strength. That noted close of his, esse videatur, which, in the Oration Pro Lege Manilia, occurs eleven times, exposed hiin to censure among his cotemporaries. We must observe, however, in defence of this great Orator, that there is a remarkable union in his style, of harmony with ease, which is always a great beauty; and if his harmony be studied,

Upon the whole, I would rather chuse, that com. « position should appear rough and harsh, if that be neces

sary, than that it should be enervated and effeminate, “ such as we find the style of too many:

Some fentences, “ therefore, which we have ftudiously formed into melody, “ fhould be thrown loofe, that they may not seem too much " Jaboured; nor ought we ever to omit any proper or expressive word, for the sake of smoothing a period."

that

that study appears to have cost him little L ECT. trouble.

XIII.

AMONG our English clasics, not many are distinguished for musical arrangement. Milton, in some of his prose works, has very finely turned periods ; but the writers of his age indulged a liberty of inversion, which now would be reckoned contrary to purity of style: and though this allowed their Sentences to be more stately and sonorous, yet it

gave them too much of a Latinized construction and order. Of later writers, Shaftsbury is, upon the whole, the most correct in his numbers. As his ear was delicate, he has attended to music in all his Sentences; and he is peculiarly happy in this respect, that he has avoided the monotony into which writers, who ftudy the grace of found, are very apt to fall: having diversified his periods with great variety. Mr. Addison has also much harmony in his style; more easy and smooth, but less varied, than Lord Shaftsbury. Sir William Temple is, in general, very flowing and agreeable. Archbishop Tillotson is too often careless and languid, and is much outdone by bishop Atterbury in the music of his periods. Dean Swift despised musical arrangement altogether.

HITHERTO I have discoursed of agreeable found, or modulation, in general.' It yet re

mains

XIII.

i E c T. mains to treat of a higher beauty of this kind;

the sound adapted to the sense. The former was no more than a simple accompaniment, to please the ear; the latter supposes a peculiar expression given to the music, We may remark two degrees of it: First, the current of found, adapted to the tenor of a discourse: next, a particular resemblance effected between some object, and the sounds that are employed in describing it.

First, I say, the current of sound may be adapted to the tenor of a discourse, Sounds have, in many respects, a correspondence with our ideas; partly natural, partly the effect of artificial associations. Hence it happens, that any one modulation of sound continued, imprints on our Style a certain character and expression. Sentences constructed with the Ciceronian fulness and swell, produce the impression of what is important, magnificent, fedate; for this is the natural tone which such a course of sentiment affumes. But they suit no violent passion, no eager reasoning, no familiar address. These always require measures brisker, easier, and often more abrupt. And, therefore, to swell, or to let down the periods, as the subject demands, is a very important rule in oratory. No one tenor whatever, sup posing it to produce no bad effect from fatiety, will anfwer to all different compositions; nor even to all the parts of the same compofi6

tion,

tion. It were as abfurd to write a panegyric, LECT.

XIII. and an invective, in a style of the same cadence, as to set the words of a tender lovesong to the air of a warlike march.

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Observe how finely the following Sentence of Cicero is adapted, to represent the tran• quillity and ease of a satisfied state: “Elfi is homini nihil eft magis optandum quam

prospera, æquabilis, perpetuaque fortuna, “ secundo vitæ fine ulla offensione curfu ; “ tamen, fi mihi tranquilla et placata omnia

fuiffent, incredibili quâdam et pene divinâ,

quâ nunc vestro beneficio fruor, lætitiæ « voluptate caruissem *." Nothing was ever more perfect in its kind : it paints, if we may fo speak, to the ear. But, who would not have laughed, if Cicero had employed such periods, or such a cadence as this, in inveighing against Mark Antony, or Catiline What is requisite, therefore, is, that we previously fix, in our mind, a just idea of the general tone of sound which suits our subject; that is, which the sentiments we are to express, most naturally assume, and in which they most commonly vent themselves; whether round and smooth, or stately, and folemn, or brisk and quick, or interrupted and abrupt. This general idea muft direct the modulation of our periods: to speak in the style of music, must * Orat. ad Quirites, poft Reditum.

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LE C T. give us the key note, must form the ground of

the melody; varied and diversified in parts, according as either our sentiments are diversified, or as is requisite for producing a suitable va. riety to gratify the ear.

Ít may be proper to remark; that our tranflators of the Bible have often been happy in suiting their numbers to the subject. Grave, solemn, and majestic subjects undoubtedly require such an arrangement of words as runs much on long syllables; and, particularly, they require the close to rest upon such. The very first verses of the Bible, are remarkable for this melody : “ In the beginning, God « created the heavens and the earth; and the “ earth was without form, and void ; and “ darkness was upon the face of the deep; and “ the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Several other passages, particularly some of the Psalms, afford striking examples of this sort of grave, melodious construction. Any composition that rises considerably above the ordinary tone of prose, fuch as monumental inscriptions, and panegyrical characters, naturally runs into numbers of this kind

But, in the next place, besides the general correspondence of the current of sound with the current of thought, there may be a more

particular

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