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proportion of sound that syllables bear to each other iri thie two extremes of long and short; but this knowledge will not give us the general time. They teach us that two short syllables are equivalent to one long one; but can we hence collect, whether the whole movement was quick or slow, the tone variable or monotonous ?
Port Royal conceives, and with great appearance of probability, that the discriminating ears of the Romans were not contented with the present arrangement of long and short syllables only, but that they had an intermediate measure, consisting of a time and half, upon which the accent in polysyllables* often lay. He farther observes, that there was a considerable distinction in pronunciation between syllables short by nature and short by position. As the matter at present stands, it does not appear that learners derive any material advantage from mere accents. The compound A may indeed be of some service, because it is now connected with quantity; but the grave and the acute seem but little to facilitate true pronunciation. In autographs or MSS. they are rarely used, and readers find no great loss of them.
What then, the intelligent reader will observe, do you altogether reject the use of accents, so generally received? And would you reduce pronunciation to one dull monotony? Certainly not; although I conceive, with submission, that accents, as they are now managed, may in some cases be nugatory, and in some detrimental. I would distinguish, however, between the use and abuse of these modern signs of sound, and would assign to them their proper merit. It is true, I believe, that accents, by encroaching on quantity, may enable a judicious Latin reader to introduce some slight distinction into the sound of his voice! but it is also true, that they are highly inadequate to convey to us any just conception of the variety, the richness, and the extreme
* Is it lawfulto guggest, without offending Latin ears that, strictly speaks ing, there can be no such thing as a polysyllable consisting wholly of short feet, that is, of feet of equal times ? Banaides, Peripbrasis, Hominibus, Opiparus, In pronouncing a word of many syllables, it has been observed that there inust necessarily be some foundation for the voice to rest on; to which poing of support all the other parts of the sound recur, as to a common centre. On the other hand, to consider any syllable as absolutely long, which the poets have agreed to consider as short, would be to contradict their authority, and to fall into fatal heresy. What, therefore, remains in this merciless dileinma between accent and quantity, but to agree with P. R. respecting the intermediate measure of a time and half? Upon these grounds we shall treat out polysyllables and choriambics handsomely; and not, like Bays, having shtrowaced them on the stage; leave them to get off again as they can,
accuracy, of tone and time, with which the Romans, we are informed, pronounced their language.
It now only remains to consider our first proposition, namely, that accents in some cases are nugatory, and in some detrimental. They are nugatory, then, when they are not of sufficient weight to excite attention, and so teach nothing. They are detrimental where they tend to introduce confusion into the minds of learners, or lead them to make false quantities. On the other hand, they are useful where they come in aid of quantity; they are useful where they serve to distinguish one word from another, spelt in the same manner, or different inflexions of the same verb. They are also useful where they serve to mark prepositions and adverbs. 1800, July.
I. The Causes of Dreams.
TVhitby, Dec. 26, 1753. DREAMS are one of the most extraordinary phenomena of the human frame; they are by some, perhaps, too little, by others too much, regarded: some are continually torturing them into meaning, and converting them into presages and predictions, whilst others utterly slight them as the capricious workings of a wanton fancy let loose from the restraints of reason and judgment.
There are persons, and those of no inconsiderable note in the republic of letters, who have maintained, that dreams are not the creatures of our own fancy, nor the effects of the operation of our own minds; but the suggestions and infusions of spiritual beings which surround us. They say, that the soul cannot think or act without being conscious of its thinking and acting, and as all the various scenes and adventures which present themselves in sleep seem to us to be external and not our own production, it is therefore impossible that it should. They urge further, that it is not at all likely the soul should take pleasure in tormenting itself, and yet in dreams we are often tossed, or pursued by mad bulls or wild beasts; we fall over precipices, sink in rivers, and are involved in a variety of distresses as exquisitely afflictive for the time they last as if they were real. To the first of these arguments it may be answered, that every thought is not attended with consciousness; every one who has been absent, or in a reverie, knows that we often think without reflecting that we do so, we fall into trains of thought and eagerly pursue them a long time, without attending to the objects about us, or rellecting upon the operations of out
minds; and if we are thus unconscious and unreflecting when we are awake, our unconsciousness in dreaming, when all sensation is suspended, ought not to be wondered at, and can be no objection to the opinion, that dreams are the productions of our own minds. As to the other argument drawn from the improbability of our tormenting ourselves with frightful images, it will have no weight with those who consider how apt our waking thoughts are to rove and wander, and that we are so far from having an absolute command over them, that, in spite of ourselves, they will often run out upon unpleasing, and even horrid and terrible subjects.
Dr. Cheyne, I think, somewhere gives us a less exceptionable rationale of dreaming: he contends, that all dreaming is imperfect and confused thinking, and that there are various degrees of it between sound sleep, and being broad awake; conscious regular thinking and not thinking at all, being the two extremes, and that in proportion as we incline to waking or to sound sleep, we dream more or less; and our dreams are more wild, extravagant and confused, or more rational and consistent. And indeed the Dr. seems to have truly explained the phenomenon in every respect, except in supposing the soul not to think or dream at all in sound sleep, for I imagine that in sound sleep the memory and reflective powers of the soul are so locked up, or rather so clouded and impeded by the indisposition and relaxation of the bodily organs, that when we awake we cannot recol. lect the least traces of the images which the soul amuses herself with at that juncture. Although I cannot be of opinion with the celebrated Des Cartes, that extension is the essence of matter, yet I cannot but agree with him, that thought, if not the essence, is at least essential to spirit, and that the soul always thinks, though she is not always conscious of, nor always reflects upon, her thoughts.
The soul and body being strictly united, mutually affect and act upon each other, and we find that the powers of the soul are more or less vigorous, in proportion as the humours of the body are healthy or morbid. A proper tone and vigour in the corporeal organs is therefore necessary for the perfect exertion and operation of the powers of the soul; but that particular disposition of the solids and fluids which inclines to sleep, impairs this tone, relaxes the whole corporeal system, and superinduces a certain cloudiness, indolence, and inactivity on the soul. The more this soporific disposition prevails, the more the soul is indisposed to thinking, and clogged and impedes in her operations: and