Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

ELEMENTS OF CRITICISM.

CHAPTER XVIII.

Beauty of Language.

OF all the fine arts, painting only and sculpfure are in their nature imitative. An ornamented field is not a copy or imitation of nature, but nature itself embellished. Architecture is productive of originals, and copies not from nature. Sound and motion may in some measure be imitated by music; but for the most part music, like Architecture, is productive of originals. Language copies not from nature, more than music or architecture; unless, where, like music, it is imitative of sound or motion. Thus, in the description of particular sounds, language sometimes furnisheth words, which, beside their customary power of exciting ideas, resemble by their softness or harshness the sounds described ; and there are words, which by the celerity or slowness of pronunciation, have some resemblance to the motion they signify. The imitative power of words goes one step farther: the loftiness of some words makes them proper symbols of lofty ideas; a rough subject is imitated b harsh-sounding words; and words of many o lables pronounced slow and smooth, are expressive of grief and melancholy. Words have a se

parate effect on the mind, abstracting from their - y

« PreviousContinue »