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with great dignity and importance, while the several articles of the next line must be pronounced simply and without ornament; but the succeeding couplet has an awfulness and dignity approaching to devotion : the next four lines abate of this dignity, to express rapture and surprise at such sudden and increasing flashes of beauty; while the four last lines descend to an expression of alertness and activity, concluding with a complacency and satisfied at having so well performed the important task.
Under the figure called hypotyposis may be classed such words as are naturally descriptive of the things they signify; that is, such words as either from the softness or harshness, length or shortness, of the letters of which they are composed, are expressive of the nature of the objects for which they stand; or, as Pope has happily expressed it, words, the sound of which is an echo to the sense. The occasional coincidence of the sound and sense of words has been an object of. attention with all writers, both ancient and modern, and those must be severe critics indeed who deny the propriety and beauty of this coincidence. It must be confessed that the affectation of this, like every other affectation, is truly disgusting ; but proves, at the same time, that when this coincidence of sound and sense is natural and unaffected, it is really an excellence : for though defects are sometimes the objects of imitation, they are not imitated as defects, but because they happen to be associated with some beauties which the imitator is unable to represent. That there is much of imagination in this imitation of the sense by the sound of words, must be allowed. A judicious critic has very justly observed, that it most
frequently exists only in the fancy of the writer or reader, and that the words we often suppose to echo the sense have no other resemblance than what arises from association. * But whence can arise the very general opinion that so many words are really expressive of the sense they stand for? It must be from their being generally accompanied by a certain emotion of mind, which the meaning of the words excite; and this emotion of mind being constantly associated with the words, the very sound of the words, according to the laws of association, seems tinctured with the emotion, which naturally it has no relation to. This, however, sufficiently shows how natural it is for man to accompany his words with emotions, and to expect emotions when he sees the words that generally accompany them. Hence we may infer this general rule, that wherever there are words expressive of emotions, we ought to pronounce these words with the emotions they signify; that is, when the language is impassioned, and the words are not merely narrative or didactic; for in this case the words expressive of passion are to be pronounced as coolly, as if they stood for the most uninteresting objects. Thus in Pope's Essay on Man:
Love, hope, and joy, fair Pleasure's smiling train ;
Make and maintain the balance of the mind. It would border greatly on affectation to give the first line of this passage any distinct and marking expression of love, hope, and joy; or the second line any strong expression of hate, fear, and grief; because these passions are presented to the mind in a
* Rambler, No. 93.
philosophic view, and only mentioned as the materials
Curs'd be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
Or from the soft-ey'd virgin steal a tear.
But though the words themselves frequently direct us to the passion we ought to express, it must be carefully observed, that there is often a master passion, which so swallows up the rest, that whatever passions or emotions are mentioned by this leading passion, they have scarcely any expression of their own, but seem to fall into the general expression of the passion that is principal. Thus when the duke of York, after describing the entry of Bolingbroke, gives an account of that of king Richard, he says,
As in a theatre, the eyes of man,
The badges of his grief and patience)
Shakspeare's Richard II. In this passage the prevailing passions are grief and pity; these must so possess the speaker, in reciting these lines, that no expression of contempt must accompany that word in the fifth line, nor the least glimpse of joy or acclamation the lines that follow : a slight expression of meekness may accompany the word gentle in the ninth line, and the two last lines may with great propriety be a little diversified from the rest, by dropping in some measure the sorrowful, and assuming the tone of reverence and resignation.
Having premised these restrictions, it may be observed, that there are some words which afford a speaker a good opportunity of showing his expression by the very nature of the letters of which they are composed. Thus the word all has a full, bold, open sound, which will admit of being dwelt upon longer than common, especially if the language is animated; either when emphatical, as in Satan's speech to Beelzebub, in Paradise Lost,
What though the field be lost,
All is not lost :-
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
In these instances, as in most others, we seldom hear the word all pronounced sufficiently full, and expressive of the extent of its signification. The word shame will generally admit of being dwelt on in the same manner, as in the following example :
Strong and weighty, o Catiline ! is the decree of the senate we can now produce against you; neither is wisdom wanting in this state, nor authority in this assembly; but we, let me bere take shame to myself, we, the consuls, are wanting in our duty.
Cicero against Catiline, Oralion i. The word detestable is seldom used but when the language is animated, and then an uncommon force upon the accented syllable test, that is, as Shakspeare calls it, in his picture of anger, “holding hard the breath, and pronouncing it through the fixed teeth," will give it an expression of detestation very suitable to the idea it excites. This manner of pronouncing may be supposed to be what Shakspeare meant in Hamlet's advice to the players, by “suiting the action to the word and the word to the action.” The actor cannot suit the word to the action any other way than by pronouncing it. Thus where Cassius, in Julius Cæsar, decribes Cæsar and himself plunging into the Tyber,
-Upon the word,
And bade him follow; so indeed he did. We may with the utmost propriety give a downward plunge with the arm, to express the action implied by the word, and I think as properly accompany this word and action with a full, deep, hollow, forcible tone of voice as suitable to the action ; this, if overdone, or come tardy off, as Shakspeare expresses it, I own is truly disgusting: but let those who dissuade youth from attempting expression, by reminding