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Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
starry pole : thou also mad's the night,
In this passage it will be at first observed, that all the lines are not equally harmonious, and upon a nearer examination it will be found that only the fifth and ninth lines are regular, and the rest are more or lefs licentious with respect to the accent. In some the accent is equally upon two fyllables together, and in both strong. As
Thus at their shady lodge arrivd, both food,
In others the accent is equally upon two fyllables, but upon
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, And when we feek, as now, thy gift of fleepa
In the first pair of syllables the accent may deviate from the rigour of exactness, without any unpleasing diminution of harmony, as may be observed in the lines already cited, and more remarkably in this,
- Thou also mad'st the night, Maker omnipotent! and thou the day. But, excepting in the first pair of syllables, which may be considered as arbitrary, a poet who, not having the invention or knowledge of Milton, has more need to allure his audience by musical cadences, should seldom suffer more than one abberration from the rule in any fingle verse.
There are two lines in this passage more remarkably unharmonious :
This delicious place,
Partakers, and uncrop'd falls to the ground. Here the third pair of syllables in the first, and fourth pair in the second verse, have their accents retrograde or inverted; the first fyllable being strong or acute, and the second weak. The detriment which the measure suffers by this inversion of the accents is sometimes lefs perceptible, when the verses are car, ried one into another, but is remarkably striking in this place, where the vicious verse concludes a period, and is yet more offensive in rhyme, when we regularly attend to the flow of every single line. This will appear by reading a couplet in which Cowley, an author not sufficiently studious of harmony, has com. mitted the same fault.
his harmless life Does with substantial blessedness abound, And the soft wings of peace cover him round.
In these the law of metre is very grossly violated by mingling combinations of sound directly opposite to each other, as Milton expresses in his sonnet, by committing short and long, and setting one part of the measure at variance with the rest. The ancients, who had a language more capable of variety than ours, had two kinds of verse, the lambick, consisting of fhort and long syllables alternately, from which our heroick measure is derived, and the Trochaick, confisting in a like alternation of long and short. These were considered as oppofites, and conveyed the contrary images of speed and slowness; to confound them, therefore, as in these lines, is to deviate from the establihed practice. But where the senses are to judge, authority is not necessary, the ear is suf. ficient to detect dissonance, nor should I have fought auxiliaries on such an occasion against any name but that of Milton.
NUMB. 87. Tuesday, January 15, 1751.
Invidus, iracundus, iners, vinofus, amator,
The Nave to envy, anger, wine, or love,
or squandered with so little effect, as good advice, has been generally observed ; and many fage positions have been advanced concerning the reasons of this complaint, and the means of removing it. It is indeed an important and noble enquiry, for little would be wanting to the happiness of life, if every man could conform to the right as soon as he was fhown it.
This perverse neglect of the most salutary precepts, and stubborn resistance of the most pathetick persuasion, is usually imputed to him by whom the counsel is received, and we often hear it mentioned as a sign of hopeless depravity, that though good advice was given, it has wrought no reformation.
Others, who imagine themselves to have quicker sagacity and deeper penetration, have found out that the inefficacy of advice is usually the fault of the counsellor, and rules have been laid down, by which this important duty may be successfully perVOL. V.
formed : We are directed by what tokens to discover the favourable moment at which the heart is difposed for the operation of truth and reason, with what address to administer, and with what vehicles. to disguise the catharticks of the soul.
But, notwithstanding this fpecious expedient, we find the world yet in the fame state : advice is still given, but still received with disgust; nor has it appeared that the bitterness of the medicine has been yet abated, or its power encreased, by any methods of preparing it.
If we consider the manner in which those who assume the office of directing the conduct of others execute their undertaking, it will not be very wonderful that their labours, however zealous or af. fectionate, are frequently useless. For what is the advice that is commonly given ? A few general maxims, enforced with vehemence and inculcated with importunity, but failing for want of particular reference and immediate application.
It is not often that any man can have so much knowledge of another, as is necessary to make infiruction useful. We are sometimes not ourselves conscious of the original motives of our actions, and when we know them, our first care is to hide them from the fight of others, and often from those most diligently, whose superiority either of power or understanding may entitle them to inspect our lives; it is therefore very probable that he who endeavours the cure of our intellectual maladies, mistakes their cause; and that his prescriptions avail nothing, because he knows not which of the passions or desires is vitiated.