Abbildungen der Seite

6. Monofyllable Lines, unless very artfully managed, are stiff, or languishing : but may be beautiful to exprefs Melancholy, Slowness, or Labour.

7. To come to the Hiatus, or Gap between two words, which is caus’d by two vowels opening on each other (upon which you desire me to be particular) I think the rule in this case is either to use the Cæsura, or admit the Hiatus, just as the ear is least sockd by either : For the Cæfura sometimes offends the ear more than the Hiatus itself, and our language is naturally overcharg'd with consonants : As for example; If in this verse,

The old have Intrest ever in their eye, we should say, to avoid the Hiatus, . But th old have int'reft.

The Hiatus which has the worst effect, is when one word ends with the same vowel that begins the following; and next to this, those vowels whose founds come nearest to each other, are most to be avoided. O, A, or U, will bear a more full and graceful Sound than E, I, or Y. I know, fome people will think these Observations trivial, and therefore I am glad to corroborate them by fame great authorities, which I have met with in Tully and Quintilian. In the fourth book of Rhetoric to Herennius, are these words : Fugiemus crebras vocalium, concurfiones, que vastam atque hiantem reddunt orationem ; ut boc eft, Baccæ æneæ amænissime impen. debant. And Quintilian 1. ix. cap. 4. Vocalium concursus cum accidit, hiat & interfiftit, & quasi laborat oratio. Pellimi longe quæ eafdem inter se literas committunt, fonabunt: Præcipuus tamen erit hiatus earum que cavo aut patulo ore efferuntur. E plenior litera eft, I anguftior, But he goes on to reprove the excess on the other hand of being too solicitous in this matter, and says admirably, Nescio ar negligentia in hocs, aut folicitudo fit pejor. So likewise Tully (Orator. ad Brut.) Theopompum reprehendunt, quod eas literas tanto opere fugerit, etfi idem magifter ejus Socrates : which last author, as Turnebus on Quintilian observes, has hardly, one Hiatus in all his works. Quintilian tells us, that Tully and Demofthenes did not much observe this nicety, though Tully himself says in the Orator, Crebra ifta vocum concurfio, quam magna ex parte vitiofam, fugit Demosthenes. If I am not mistaken, Malherbe of all the moderns has been the most scrupulous in this point; and I think Menage in his observations upon him fays, he has not one in his poems. To conclude, I believe the Hiatus should be avoided with more care in poetry than in Oratory; and I would constantly try to prevent it, unless where the cutting it off is more prejudicial to the found than the Hiatus itself. I am, &c.


* Mr. Walsh died at forty-nine years old, in the year 1708, the year before the Essay on Criticism was printed, which con. cludes with his Elogy.




From the Year 1908 to 1711.


March 18, 1708. I Believe it was with me when I left the Town, as

it is with a great many men when they leave the world, whose loss itself they do not so much regret, as that of their friends whom they leave behind in it. For I do not know one thing for which I can envy London, but for your continuing there. Yet I guess you will expect me to recant this expression, when I tell you that Sappho (by which heathenith name. you have christen'd a very orthodox Lady) did not accompany me into the Country. Well, you have your Lady in the Town still, and I have my Heart in the Country still, which being wholly unemploy'd as yet, has the more room in it for my friends, and

does not want a corner at your service. You have extremely obliged me by your frankness and kindness; and if I have abus'd it by too much freedom on my part, I hope you will attribute it to the natural openness of my temper, which hardly knows how to show Respect, where it feels Affection. I* would love my Friend, as my Mistress, without ceremony; and hope a little rough usage sometimes may not be more displeasing to the one, than it is to the other.

If you have any curiosity to know in what manner I live, or rather lose a life, Martial will inform you in one line :

Prandeo, poto, cano, ludo, lego, ceno, quiefco. ; Every day with me is literally another yesterday, for it is exactly the same: It has the same business, which is Poetry; and the same pleasure, which is idleness. A man might indeed pass his time much better, but I question if any man could pass it much easier. If you will visit our Shades this spring, which I very much desire, you may perhaps instruct me to manage my game more wisely ; but at present I am satisfy'd to trifle away my time any way, rather than let it stick by me ; as shop-keepers are glad to be rid of those goods at any rate, which would otherwise always be lying upon their hands.

Sir, if you will favour me sometimes with your letters, it will be a great satisfaction to me on several accounts; and on this in particular, that it

will show me (to my comfort) that even a wise man is sometimes very idle ; for fo you must needs be when you can find leisure to write to..

Your, &c.


April 27, 1708. T Have nothing to say to you in this letter ; but I I was resolv’d to write to tell you fo. Why should not I content myself with so many great Examples of deep Divines, profound Casuists, grave Philofophers; who have written, not letters only, but whole Tomes and voluminous Treatises about No. thing? Why should a fellow like me, who all his life does nothing, be asham'd to write nothing? and that to one who has nothing to do but to read it? But perhaps you'll say, the whole world has something to do, something to talk of, something to with for, something to be employ'd about: But pray, Sir, caft up the account, put all these fomethings together, and what is the fum total but just nothing? I have no more to say, but to defire you to give my service (that is nothing) to your friends, and to believe that I am nothing more than

Your, &c.

[blocks in formation]
« ZurückWeiter »