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SMD . SUA
V OLUM E IL
The FIFTH EDITION.
With ADDITIONS and IMPROVEMENTS
CH A P. XVIII. BEAUTY OF LANGUAGE.
F all the fine arts, painting only and sculpture are in their nature imitative. An'ornamente ed field is not a copy or imilation of nature,
but nature itself embellished. Architecture deals in originals, and copies not from nature. Sound and inocion may in some measure be imitated by mufic; but for the most part, music, like architecture, deals in originals. Language copies not from nature, more than music or architecture ; unless where, like inusic, it is imitative of sound or motion : in the description, for example, of particular sounds, language sometimes fur. nilheth words, which, beside their customary power of exciting ideas, resemble by their softness or harshness the found described ; and there are words, which, by the celerity or slowness of pronunciation, have some refemblance to the motion they fignily, This, imitative power of words goes: ane, stey farther : the loftinels of fonie words, makes them proper symbols of lofty ide. as; a rough subject is inritate by barth-founding words; and words of many syllables pronovoted tow or smooth, are naturally expressive of grief and melátıcholy. Words have a separate effect on the wind, aliliating from their fignification and from their imitative power : they are more or less agreeable to the ear, by the fulness, sweetness, faintness, or roughness of their tones.
These are but faint. beauties, being known to thofe only who have more than ordinary acuteness of perception. Language poffefseth a beauty superior greatly in
degree, of which, we are eminently sensible when a thought is communicated with perspicuity and sprightliness. This beauty of language, arising from its power of expressing thought, is apt to be confounded with the beauty of the thought itself; which beauty of thought is transferred to the expression, and inakes it appear more beautiful *. But these beauties, if we wish to think accurately, must be distinguished from each other: they are in reality so distinct, that we sonetimes are con. scious of the highest pleasure language can afford, when the subject expressed is disagreeable ; a thing that is loathsome, or a scene of horror to.inake one's hair stand on end, inay be described in a manner so lively, as that the disagreeableness of the subject shall not even obscure the agreeableness of the description. The causes of the original beauty of language considered as significant, which is a branch of the present subject, will be ex'plained in their order, I shall only at present observe, ihat this beauty is the beauty of means fitted to an end, that of communicating thought: and hence it evidently appears, that of several expressions all conveying the same thought, the most beautiful, in the sense now inentioned, is that which in the inost perfect manner answers its end.
The several beauties of language above mentioned, being of different kinds, ought to be handled separately. I shall begin with those beauties of language that arise from sound; after which will follow the beauties of language considered as significant: this order appears natural; for the sound of a word is attended to, before we consider its signifieation. Es ca third section come thofe dingular Beauties of language that are derived from
* Chap. zoopard. I rect; 3. Demetrius Phalereus (of Elocution, feel.:75. 2 make the same observation. We are apt, says that author, to confound the language with the subject ; and if the latter be nervous, we judge the former to be lo also. But they are clearly distinguishable ; and it is not uncommon to find subjects of great dignity dressed in mean language. Theopompus is celebrated for the force of his diction; but erroneously : his subject indeed has great force, but his style very little.