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good! Al-migh-ty, thine
this u - ni-versal frame,
Thus wondrous fair, thy - self
how wondrous then!
We find in this example eleven sorts of notes, or eleven syllables of different lengths, which, with the rests or pauses, make up a rhythmical order. The notes simply convey to us the exact time in which the words should be spoken. As yet we are without efficient characters to represent the flashing tones of the speaking voice.
It is but a rude distinction which prosodians make in classing words under the terms
The two first only prove that the syllables move in triple time, and the two latter in common. A cultivated ear will find no difficulty in perceiving that in these measures syllables may be of all possible lengths. To prove which, we may put into notes a poem of Mr. Moore's, in triple time.
Subjects of a graver cast require the more stately march of common time, as in the following :
The ploughman homeward plods his wea - ry way, And
to darkness and
One of the principal features of measured poetry is that of the syllables partaking of a similar and uniform motion, agreeable to that flow which is impressed upon them by the laws of melody. In heroic or blank verse, this measured effect is but seldom used. The following quotation from Lord Byron will show with what success the triple time is mingled with the common.
Language then is an art made up of sounds, by which we instantly communicate our ideas. In its earliest stages it simply gave names to things, and expressed the crude emotions of the human mind; but since it has received the intellectual contrivance of grammar, we are enabled to describe and define all the properties of matter, and enter into the most abstruse labyrinths of human reason.
Its use depends upon the clearness of its structure and vocality, and its beauty upon the musical disposition of its parts. As it progresses into order it gradually throws out its asperities, retaining only those sounds which are pleasing to the ear. Could
we call up the familiar conversation of ages past, and anticipate that of the future, the ruggedness of the one would resemble the Welsh, the softness of the other the flexible Italian.
BEFORE knowledge was conveyed by the art of writing, or the use of books, men resorted to an elevated mode of speaking when they had any thing to communicate, in which the common interests were concerned; and as circumstances arose, oratory or public speaking must have prevailed with the ancients more than ourselves.* The feelings of a speaker in addressing a large assembly are not those of common life. He is excited by the multitude around him, and becomes the focal point of every eye and every ear. In a situation like this, his passions are roused; nature dictates the tone of voice in which he speaks; and what in ordinary conversation would be expressed in many words, he forcibly depicts by a figure. Oratory is the language of the passions, and we 'catch fire by what
* The improvisatori are, no doubt, relics of the ancient poets and orators, or musicians, who used to recount their laws and feats to the lyre.