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drawn up, in two former treatises, whatever observations I had made on this head, yet the present occasion lays me under a necessity of making some additions here.
Harmonious Composition has not only a natural tendency to please and to persuade, but inspires us to a wonderful degree, with generous ardour and passion. ? Fine notes
2 in music have a surprising effect on the pas inspection, every part shews peculiar symmetry and grace.
Longinus contents himself here with two or three general observations, having written two volumes already on this subject. The loss of these, I fancy, will raise no
I great regret in the mind of an English reader, who has little notion of such accuracies in composition. The free language we speak will not endure such refined regulations, for fear of incumbrance and restraint. Harmony indeed it is capable of to a high degree, yet such as flows not from precept, but the genius and judgment of composers. A good ear is worth a thousand rules; since with it the periods will be rounded and sweetened, and the style exalted, so that judges shall commend and teach others to admire; and without it, all endeavours to gain attention shall be vain and ineffectual, unless where the grandeur of the sense will atone for rough and unharmonious expression.
2 In this passage two musical instruments are mentioned, euros and submpy; but as what is said of them in the Greek, will not suit with the modern notions of a pipe and an harp, I hope I shall not be blamed for dropping those words, and keeping these remarks in a general application to music.
sions of an audience. Do they not fill the breast with inspired warmth, and lift up
the heart into heavenly transport? The very limbs receive motion from the notes, and the hearer, though he has no skill at all in music, is sensible however, that all its turns inake a strong impression on his body and mind. The sounds of any musical instrument are in themselves insignificant, yet by the changes of the air, the agreement of the chords, and symphony of the parts, they give extraordináry pleasure, as we daily experience, to the minds of an audience. Yet these are only spurious images and faint imitations of the persuasive voice of man, and far from the
gea nuine effects and operations of human nature.
What an opinion therefore may we justly form of fine Composition, the effect of that harmony, which nature has implanted in the voice of man? It is made up of words, which by no means die upon the ear, but sink within, and reach the understanding. And then, does it not inspire us with fine ideas of senti. ments and things, of beauty, and of order,
* Tanta oblectatio est in ipsa facultate dicendi, ut nihil hominum aut auribus aut mentibus jucundius percipi possit. Quis enim cantus moderata orationis pronunciatione dulcior inveniri potest? quod carmen artificiosa verborum conclusione aptius? --Cicero de oratore, l. ii.
qualities qualities of the same date and existence with our souls? Does it not, by an elegant structure and marshalling of sounds, convey the passions of the speaker into the breasts of his audience? Then, does it not seize their attention, and by framing an edifice of words to suit the sublimity of thoughts, delight, and transport, and raise those ideas of dignity and grandeur, which it shares itself, and was de-, signed, by the ascendent it gains upon the mind, to excite in others? But it is folly to. endeavour to prove what all the world will allow to be true. For experience is an indisputable conviction.
That sentiment seems very lofty, and justly deserves admiration, which Demosthenes immediately subjoins to the decree* ; TYTO TO ψηφισμα τον τοτε τη σολα περισαντα κινδυνον παρελθειν εποιησεν, ωσπερ νεφος. « This ,
de“.cree scattered, like a vapour, the danger " which at that time hung hovering over the
city." Yet the sentiment itself is not more to be admired than the harmony of the period. It consists throughout of Dactylics, the finest measure, and most conducing to Sublimity. And hence are they admitted into heroic verse, universally allowed to be
* Orat. de corona, p. 114, ed. Oxon.
the most noble of all. But for further satisfaction, only transpose a word or two, just as you please ; Τατο το ψηφισμα, ωσπερ νεφος, ;
, εποιησε τον τοτε κινδυνον παρελθειν" or take away a syllable, εποιησε παρελθειν ως νεφος, and you will quickly discern how much harmony conspires with Sublimity. In ωσπερ νεφος, the first word moves along in a stately measure of four times, and when one syllable is taken away, as ws voos, the subtraction maims the Sublimity. So on the other side, if you lengthen it, παρελθειν εποιησεν, ωσπερει νεφος, the sense indeed is still preserved, but the cadence is entirely lost. For the grandeur of the period languisheth and relaxeth, when enfeebled by the stress that must be laid upon the additional syllable,
SECTION XL, But amongst other methods, an apt Connerion of the parts conduces as much to the X aggrandizing discourse as symmetry in the members of the body to á majestic mien, If
So Mr. Pope :
ESSAY ON CRITICISM.
they are taken apart, each single member will have no beauty or grandeur, but when skilfully knit together, they produce what is called a fine person. So the constituent parts of noble periods, when rent asunder and divided, in the act of division fly off and lose their Sublimity; but when united into one body, and associated together by the bond of harmony, they join to promote their own elevation, and by their union and multiplicity bestow a more emphatical turn upon every period. Thus several poets, and other writers, possessed of no natural Sublimity, or rather entire strangers to it, have very fre- , quently made use of common and vulgar terms, that have not the least air of elegance to recommend them, yet by musically disposing and artfully connecting such terms, they clothe their periods in a kind of pomp and exaltation, and dexterously conceal their intrinsic lowness.
Many writers have succeeded by this method, but especially ? Philistus, as also Ari
2 Commentators differ about this Philistus. affirm it should be Philiscus, who, according to Dacier, wrote comedy, but according to Tollius, tragedy. Quinctilian (whom Dr. Pearce follows) mentions Philistus a Syracusan, a great favourite of Dyonisius the tyrant, whose history he wrote after the manner of Thucydides, but with the sincerity of a courtier.