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'The quantity of enunciated sound is, in the language of grammarians and rhetoricians, the how much (quantus) or how little of duration or extension given to any particular moment of that
enunciation in comparison of the rest. So in the word glory, the vowel in the first syllable has a long quantity, in the second
a short (a Trochee); in the word to renew the first syllable is short,
the second long (an Iambus); in the word ever both the vowels
are short; in the word female both are long (a Spondee).
Third. The next matter to be defined is Rhythm. What is Rhythm? and what are Metres? Some writers, and many especially of the English school, use rhythmical in opposition to metrical, and understand thereby merely a lower and more rude sort of versification. Thus the admirers of Pope, at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century, were accustomed to praise his verses as the perfection of polished metre, while Coleridge, Wordsworth, Scott, and so many others whom we now honour, were ridiculed as the affected imitators of the rude "rhythmical versification" of the old ballads. But this application of the word rhythm, however justified by certain favourite forms of contradistinction among the ancient grammarians*, is, in philosophical language, incorrect; inasmuch as rhythm, in its original and only scientific acceptation, comprehends all metre, as genus does the species, and can never be opposed to it, any more than an animal can be to a horse. No metre indeed is conceivable without rhythm. Rhythm is the intellectual, innate, or transcendental law of progression in a movement, according to those principles of beauty which plastically inform the universe; metres -are the individual parts of that movement as they are produced by the operation of that law,—parts conceived indeed to exist separately by the understanding, but having, in fact, no significance, no existence, except in combination with other parts, as vital units of an organized whole. Our metaphysical poet personifies the
* "Siqua autem apud poetas lyricos aut tragicos quisquiam repererit, in quibus certa pedum conlatiane neglecta, sola tern, porura ratio considerata sit, meminerit, ea stmt apud doctissimos quosque Scripturn invenimus,nonMETB.AsedRHYTHMos appellari oportere." Mallius Theo
dorus, Script. Lat. rei metricce. Gsisford. Oxon. 1837. P- 527. For the true inference to be drawn from this and not a few other passages to the same effect, see the admirable little tract of Fuessner, quoted below, note 18.
all-controlling principle of rhythm in the universe, when he talks
"Spirits of plastic power that interfused,
We may see therefore what an unskilful and unscientific proceeding it was in certain old Greek scholiasts, and more modern Greek scholars, at the head of whom stands Burney, to set about arranging the odes of Pindar and the choruses of ^Eschylus according to some empirical nomenclature of motley metres (for I can call it nothing betterj, without regard to any controlling and over-riding principle of rhythm. To talk of metres without rhythm, as the syllable-counting generation of Prosodians have so often done, is to talk of a body without a soul, of a world without a God7.
7 Edward Manwaring, in the year 1737, assaying to make " a recovery of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew numbers," on the principles of musical rhythm, was not afraid to write: "I dare assert Hephaestion has not one reduction right in all his chapter of Antispasts." (Sticho%y, P- 47). The reverend Stichologist did not succeed altogether in his rhythmical reductions of the discordant metres of the grammarians; but he seems to have been led by a happy instinct to select that antispastic chapter of Hephaestion (c. x.) as the surest butt of his ridicule. Accordingly, in due course of time, Hermann cut them down to moderate dimensions; and when Boeckh in 1811 heard of what Burney in 1809 (Tenla"ten de metris JEschyli. Cantab.) had been laboriously doing to restore them to their lost dignity, he had merely time to
exclaim "JEgrisomnia!" (De Met.Pind. Lib. II. c. 149), and coolly passed on his way. I do not know indeed in the wide world of books a more pitiful example of thoughtless-thoughtful laboriosity than that book of Bumey's. To my understanding, Apel, in his Metriky (1st edit. 1814-16), with the simple enunciation that Dochmiac verse is triple time, did more towards the intelligent enjoyment of an jEschylean chorus by a modern ear, than all the Antispastic doctors from Hephaestion to Burney put together. Who, for instance, that has ever heard a stirring overture, or whistled a brisk tune, can doubt that the following Dochmiac Dimeter, from the first chorus of the Seven against Thebes, consists of rapidly executed bars of triple time?
'Pel iroXin 8&e Aetos irpoSpofio* linroTas.
These scientific definitions being premised, we ask now, What were those peculiarities of Greek and Roman speech in respect of accent, quantity, and rhythm, which gave them a distinctive character as contrasted with modern tongues, and invests them to the philosophic enquirer with a peculiar and almost unique interest? This question, which might otherwise have been purely speculative, from the strong infusion of an antique element that characterizes our European, and more particularly our British education, assumes a directly practical bearing; and it is as a matter of most serious and immediate interest in the practical detail of education in this country, much more than as a matter of curious scientific enquiry, that I am now anxious to bring it in the present succinct shape personally and professionally before the friends of classical education in Great Britain8.
In the first place, then, as to the living practice of the ancients in these matters, a fierce crusade was once and again instituted by certain redoubtable scholars against the Greek accents, which, it was conceived, were utterly at variance with the laws of quantity laid down by the bench of Prosodians; and that to admit their authority was to change that sweet flow of Sapphic and Alcaic voices into a mad play of hissing and spitting jets and jerks of inharmonious sound—to convert, the minstrel of the Iliad and the Odyssey, with his majestic march of Dactylic sonorosity, into a halting and tripping prosaist, or at best a shallow-tinkling ballad-monger. The book of the learned and eccentric Isaac Vossius, De poematum Cantu et viribus rhythmi (Oxon. 1673), is one of the earliest',
8 A few years ago I put my first thoughts on some points of this subject into print in the shape of an article in the Foreign Quarterly Review, Vol. xxm. pp. 241-294. The principles laid down in that paper are substantially those to which I still adhere, only with regard to Porson and the illegitimate anapaests, I should now be inclined to be considerably less zealous in defence of them than I then was; convinced as I now am that in variety and freedom of versification the ancients were in many genera inferior to ourselves. The Asclepiadean verse of Horace, for instance, compared with any of our modern lyric rhythms, is to my ear most stupidly monotonous.
9 I say one of the earliest: but when Mr. Foster says, "I am not able to dis
cover that the faithfulness and propriety of the Greek accentual remarks was ever much doubted before the time of Isaac Vossius," he might have qualified the assertion a little, by recalling the curious and contemptuous declaration of Scaliger, not indeed against the faithfulness and propriety, but against the excellence and reasonableness of that ancient music of speech : Ac quod ad nostra quidem tempore, attinet .nihil turpius putamus quam cantiunculis et vocularum tremulis assultibus gesticulari. Itaque servata temporwm duntaxat rations, severioribus steculis omissus est fwmineus ille tinnitut unoque ductu multas voces eodem tenore pronunciatm." This is a passage ready made as it were for Isaac Vossius; and Dr. Gaily did not fail, if my recollection
certainly the most eloquent, of these modern philippics against the ancient triple phalanx of Acute, Grave, and Circumflex, in classical speech. What immediate effect this book produced in England, I have no means of saying, but the doctrine contained in it seems to have exercised no inconsiderable influence on the ingenious though imperfect and partial work of Manwaring, published in 1737, on the Miscellanea Critica of Dawes, published in 1745, and the stupid tract of Dr. Gaily, (A Dissertation against Greek Accents), published in 1754. Of these, the first, though he did not deny the existence of the spoken accent, flattered himself that he had solved all the difficulties of ancient metrics by simply dividing the syllables of a verse into equal musical bars, while the third anathematized the Aristophanic marks altogether, and interdicted them from all fellowship of polite learning, as a barefaced imposition and a Byzantine barbarism. Dr. Gaily seems through the whole of his book to have had no clear idea of what accent was, or what quantity was; but he certainly deserved one great praise, that of consistency, which belongs not to many of us in the year 1843; he prevailed so far as to get some books printed at Oxford without the accents; we print them most conscientiously, but we seldom or never use them. However, there is no question that, in point both of judgment and learning, Mr. Foster, in 1761, with his famous work on Accent and Quantity, was more than a match for the Oxonian doctor; but the victory which his discretion had gained was greatly endangered a few years afterwards (in 1764) by the undiscriminating zeal with which Mr. Primatt, in his Accentus Redivivi, asserted the exclusive right of accent to regulate the pronunciation of Greek prose, whatever might come of poetry. This extreme of the question, however, was not the one most likely to be over-palatable in a country where Bentley had so recently given the doctrine of metres such a prominence in polite scholarship; and where Dawes had, within the hearing of every scholar then alive, denounced all the champions of accents publicly as "barbariei plusquam Scythicee fautores"—the patrons
serves me right, to turn other passages of second book of the celebrated work De
the same work to his own advantage. Causis Lingua Latirue (I have not read
But how impertinent and how vain a the others) is certainly a very meagre and
thing is mere a priori logic in a question inconclusive affair, of the living uses of language! The I
of a more than Scythian barbarism10. We shall not be surprised therefore if we find the Bishop of St. Asaph, in 1796, writing his very judicious and learned Essay" on the prosodies of the Greek and Latin languages, without having seen Primatt; and we shall rejoice also to perceive that, with this work, the noisy beating of the air and fulmination of grammatical bulls and counterbulls against accent on the one hand and quantity on the other, in this country ceases. The practice indeed of our schools and universities, mongrel and monstrous as that was and is, remained unchanged; but, since the appearance of Horsley's tract, the steady conviction seems to have remained with all rational scholars, that, the living speech of the ancients, both in prose and verse, was regulated both by accent and quantity, whether we moderns know the exact rule on which that regulation proceeded in any particular case, or whether we know it not. This proposition therefore we shall assume, the proof being ready in the most obvious places of Cicero, Dionysius, and Quinctilian, if any body wants it. A more difficult question it may seem, what the ancients exactly meant by Accent. Did they mean elevation of the pitch of the voice, or intension of its energy, a higher key, or a greater stress, or did they perhaps mean both? That the idea of greater or less elevation of pitch was their main idea seems to me so certain, on a review of all the authorities, that. I shall say nothing here on the subject beyond setting down the testimonies themselves, from Cicero to Gerard Vossius, in a note". Indeed,
10 The main proposition of Primatt's book was in the teeth of Dawes' distinct assertion, " ipsos Grtscos sermonem non minus pedestrem quam versibus conclusum juxta syllabarum tempora pronunciare solitos," (Miscellanea Crit, § m); and this no sound scholar could deny, as it stands everywhere on the surface of Cicero, Quinctilian, and Dionysius.
11 In mentioning this excellent little work as we have done in the text, we would not be understood as expressing any agreement with that peculiar method of reading Greek by neglecting the accents in certain cases, which is detailed in the concluding propositions of the Essay.
18 (1). Est autem hi dicendo etiam quidam Cantus Obscurior, nan hie e
Phrggia et Caria rhetorum epilogus pcene canticum: sed ille quern stgnifi~ cat Demosthenes et jEschines, quum alter alteri objicit vocis Fiexiones (Walker's rising and falling inflexion). Ipsa etiam natura quasi modularetur hominum orationem in omni verbo posuit acutam vocem, nee una plus, nee a postrema syllaba citra tertiam. (N.B. There are two errors here: for long words, like long bars of music, have two accents, a primary and secondary, and in the next place, not nature, but the usage of the Greek and Roman languages, prevents the acute accent from ever going further back than the antepenultimate syllable.) Cicero, Orat. xvm.
(2). AiaXeKTov peXo? Out* iiriretverat