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But thou hast promis'd from us two a race To fill the earth, who shall with us extol Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep. 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 less licentious with respect to the accent. In some the accent is equally upon two syllables together, and in both strong. As
Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heav'n. In others the accent is equally upon two syllables, but upon both weak:
— atace To fill the earth, who shall with us extol Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep. 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 aberration from the rule in any single verse.
There are two lines in this passage more remarkably unharmonious;
-This delicious place,
Partakers, and uncropp'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 syllable being strong or acute, and the second weak. The detriment which the measure suffers by this inversion of the accents is sometimes less perceptible, when the verses are carried one into another, but is remarkably striking in this place, where the vitious verse concludes a period; and is yet more offensive in rhyme, when we regu. larly 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 committed the same fault:
his harmless life
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 short and long syllables alternately, from which our heroick measure is derived, and the Trochaick, consisting in a like alternation of long and short. These were considered as opposites, and conveyed the contrary images of speed and slowness; to con
found them, therefore, as in these lines, is to deviate from the established practice. But where the senses are to judge, authority is not necessary, the ear is sufficient to detect dissonance, nor should I have sought auxiliaries on such an occasion against any name but that of Milton.
No. LXXXVII. TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 1751.
Invidus, iracundus, iners, vinosus, amator,
THAT few things are so liberally bestowed, or squandered with so little effect, as good advice, has been generally observed; and many sage positions have been ådvanced concerning the reasons of this complaint, and the means of removing it. It is indeed an important and noble inquiry, for little would be wanting to the happiness of life, if every man could conform to the right as soon as he was shown 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 performed: we are directed by what tokens to discover the favourable moment at which the heart is disposed 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 specious expedient, we find the world yet in the same state; advice is still given, but still received with disgust; nor has it appeared that the bitterness of the medicine has been get abated, or its power increased, 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 affec. tionate, are frequently useless. For what is the advice that is commonly given? A few general maxims, enforced with vehemence, and inculcated with importu. nity, but failing for want of particular reference and immediate application.
It is not often that any man can bave so much knowledge of another as is necessary to make instruction 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 sight 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 endeavour's to cure our intellectual maladies, mistakes their cause; and that his prescriptions avail nothing, because he knows not which of the passions or desires is vitiated.
Advice, as it always gives a temporary appearance of superiority, can never be very grateful, even when it is most necessary or most judicious. But for the same reason every one is eager to instruct his neighhours. To be wise or to be virtuous, is to buy dignity