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Then in dissyllables where the penult, is long, we are by our common practice in no danger; but where it is short, as already mentioned, or the last syllable is long, particular attention is required not to give all the prominence to the short syllable,
and to knock the long one down in the hurry—duces -P—P
Special care must also be taken in pronouncing all the Spondees
like the English word female—as trudas, longos. In trisyllables again, we have to guard against the double danger of slurring over the unaccented finals and penultimate syllables when they are long, and of shortening the ante-penultimate when it is long.
Thus we shall say, not dominos, but dominos, not detrudas, but
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detrudas, not generositas, but generositas.—A little practice will
soon make all this quite easy; and then when we read Horace
and scan Alcaics, both our tongue and our ear shall know what
our understanding is doing; which seems only reasonable.
I should now proceed to give a specimen of the manner in
which a Horatian stanza or Virgilian period ought to be read or
chaunted, according to the principles of rhythmical enunciation
just explained, did not one weighty matter remain. The musical
accent was mentioned in the outset as a thing different from the
elocutionary accent; and the intimate connexion that subsisted
between ancient music and ancient poetry leads us now to suspect,
that, unless the musical accent always coincided with the spoken
accent, (as is the case in modern songs set to music) we have
a difficulty behind which it may not be so easy to get over. To
make this clear by an example. According to the doctrine of the
ancient musicians, as well as the nature of the thing and the
practice of the moderns, dactylic verse, or | time, receives the
accent on the first syllable of every bar. Keeping the time
therefore musically, according to this law, the first line of Virgil's
JEmeid should be read thus:
But. by this close adherence to the regular return of the musical beat—a practice recommended by Vossius and Manwaring, but scouted by Bentley "'—we manifestly go directly in the
teeth of that which we know to have been a first principle of the
ancient Roman, as of the old ^Eolic and modern German tongue,
that no word is accented on the terminational syllable. The
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Romans in common discourse did not say cawno, or canno, but
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canno, not Trojae, like evade, but Trojse, as in female. Did
they therefore systematically sink the spoken accent in singing or
reciting poetry, as we do, only in some old words, such as — J. I u w \j — ^J\y\^
ladye, for lady, marinere for mariner, &c, or did they preserve
the spoken accent wherever it clashed with the musical, and read
thus' , /
Arma virumque cano Trojce qui primus ab oris.
Unquestionably a great difficulty lies here; the real clash of these two accents is a thing much more difficult to reconcile than that imagined inconsistency of an energetic accent, with a short quantity, which so sadly puzzled Messrs. Primatt and Gaily, eighty years ago. To our modern ears such a practical clash as this between music and speech seems altogether unintelligible; for though we make no scruple to squeeze as much quantity out of a short spoken syllable, and to snip as much from a long one as the musical note may require, (what the ancients did certainly at times also, but as it should seem, only by way of licence) yet we have no conception of a habitual collision between the colloquial accent of the word, and that which it receives when adapted to any musical note. But so the matter seems to have been; and there is nothing monstrous or unnatural about it, when we consider it more narrowly. Music and speech are two things which, though they have strong resemblances and affinities in many points, and among the Greeks especially were closely connected in
M "Sane si quis scire desideret qualis fuerit antiqua carminum pronuntiatio is non multum a veritate aberrabit, qui Mam similem fuisse existimat atque sit ea quiz vulgo in scandendis versibus adhibitur." De Poematum cantu. p. 30. But note here Vossius carefully guards himself against an absolute sing-song, such as boys are apt to get into when you tell them to read as they scan—he does not say exactly the same; but only like it. "Some modems distinguish between scan
ning and reading verse, but for what reason I cannot conceive. To measure or scan verse one way and read another, is a contradiction; and to read orscan verse as verse ough t to be read or scanned, requires more rules than are contained in our grammar." Stichology, p. 12. What Bentley says on this subject, in the Schediasma de metris Terentianis, is too well known and too. easily accessible to need repetition here.
practice, are yet in other points essentially distinct, and because they have a different object in view, can never be made to travel exactly the same road. Music delights to dwell on its sweet sounds, and requires often, to produce its full effect, a frequency, and even a continuity of long syllables. Speech, on the other hand, loves to hurry over its eager communications, and deals more in emphasis of the significant syllables than in quantity of any. This tendency of spoken language, however much it may be unfavourable to beauty, is inherent in the very nature and necessity of social talk; and from this tendency it was that the Greek language at Byzantium, when the schools of the musicians ceased to co-operate with the practice of great living poets in keeping alive the quantitative element, became, like other languages in modern times, essentially accentual in verse as well as in prose. Our own English language, which has suffered more from this colloquial rapidity than perhaps any other, has accordingly, so far as quantity is concerned, become altogether unfit for musical purposes. We, therefore, in setting words to rhythm, or adapting rhythmical words to music, have been forced to leave the rules for syllabic quantity as loose as possible, and to permit on all occasions an ugly discord between the quantity of speech and the quantity of music. This does not strike us now as anything particularly improper; only, however, one may guess, because we have so long been accustomed to do it. The ancient Greeks, on the other hand, in their musical practice were not wont to tolerate such a clash between musical and spoken quantities; on the contrary, in their oratory and in their tragic dialogue they preserved systematically the full sonorous vocality of every syllable, and in their literary composition tied themselves down exactly to laws which strictly speaking belonged to music and not to recitation. On the other hand, however, as it was impossible for poets to fetter their literary composition altogether by the laws of music, the musical composer seems to have allowed them to deal with the spoken accents as they pleased, provided they preserved the stated order and proportion of short and long syllables in the rhythm. And thus an accent seems to have been systematically allowed in music different from that which was current in colloquial discourse; the effect of which was, that while the language of recitation and oratory became decidedly more musical than anything of which we moderns have any idea, the language of singing (with one main advantage, that of full vowel sounds) laboured under a defect from which our singing language is happily free. Proceeding on this view, and I confess I see no other that can solve the difficulty, we may lay it down finally, as the rule of ancient versification, that while both in prose and in verse, in declamation and in singing, the quantities of all the syllables were strictly preserved, in musical performances the colloquial accent was sunk altogether, or at least made audibly subordinate to the accent of the musical bars; but in oratory and in declamation of poetry, as approaching more to the character of common discourse, the speaking accent was preserved as much as possible, so far at least as was consistent, with the preservation of anything like a regular rhythm; and it seems to me, as any one may observe in reading, that this method of recitation, in the case of Latin poetry at least, so far from injuring, rather improves the flow of the verse, and adds one element to ancient metre in which it certainly seems not a little inferior to the modern, I mean variety. I would, therefore, in reciting ancient poetry, by observing as much as possible the spoken accent as well as the rhythmical quantity, seek to avoid anything like a tvving-twang, and
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in the first line of Virgil would certainly read canno, and Trojae,
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rather than cano, and Trojae; and I do so with the more satisfaction, because Mr. Herbert, by his most ingenious and learned essay in the Edinburgh Review27, has long ago taught all English scholars that ancient verse was not composed without any regard to spoken accent in all cases, any more than modern verse can in all cases afford to dispense with a certain regard to quantity.
I shall now take an ode of Horace, and, in conformity with the principles here laid down, mark the accented cadence with which I believe it to have been recited. How it was sung I do not inquire. That is a matter about which the musical composer, in the exercise of his legitimate office of pv6(umoua, alone could instruct us. The Quantities will be pronounced according to the following table, which I have drawn up for academical uses in Scotland; the English of course will not say Imperawtor, as we do, but Imperator, and so with the other vowels; but it were hard indeed, in a matter of this kind, which needs not to be settled absolutely either way, if we who are probably in the right, should be forced to yield to them who are certainly in the wrong.
"Edinburgh Review. Vol. VI. p. 357. 1805.
TABLE OF VOCAL QUANTITIES.
E long ... LEGES PRAISE
— short ... ES MESS.
I long ... VIS TREES.
— short ... BIS THIS.
O long ... NOS NOSE.
— short ... os— (ossis) Dross.
U long ... MUS GOOSE.
— short ... CUM COME.
Y The same as I.
N.B. Observe also that every vowel followed by two consonants is pronounced long; nor need we concern ourselves about the distinction practised by the Romans, whereby all naturally long vowels in the penult were circumflexed, while those long by position were only acuted.
Horace. Ode I. 2.
Jam satis terris nivis atque dira
These verses recited with the true metrical quantity and the natural spoken accent will (according to our Scotch pronunciation of all the vowels) read thus:
Jawm sattees | taerees || niv'is autque I dee'rse