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were said to be either long by nature, or long by position. Those long by nature were such as were long, though succeeded by a single consonant, as the u in natura, and were a sort of exception to the general rule; for a vowel before a single consonant was commonly short, as in every u in the word tumulus. Those vowels which were long by position were such as were succeeded by two or more consonants, as the first o in sponsor : but if the long and short quantity of the ancients was the same distinction of the sound of the vowel as we make in the words cadence and magic, calling the first a long, and the second short, then the a in mater and pater + inust have been pronounced like our a in later and latter; and those vowels which were long by position, as the a in Bacchus and campus, must have been sounded by the ancients as we hear them in the English words bake and came.
13. If therefore the long quantity of the ancients was no more than a retardation of voice on the consonants, or that duration of sound which an assemblage of consonants is supposed naturally to produce without making any alteration in the sound of the vowel, such long quantity as this an English ear has not the least idea of. Unless the sound of the vowel be altered, we have not any conception of a long or short syllable ; and the
** If the long quantity of the Greek and Latin arose naturally from the retardation of sound occasioned by the succeeding consonants, the long vowels in this situation ought to have been termed long by nature, and those long vowels which come before single consonants should have been called long by custom : since it was nothing but custom made the v.wel e in decus (honour) short, and in dedo (to give) long; and the vowel a in ovum (an egg) long, and in. qvo (to triumph) short.
+ I do not here enter into the question concerning the ancient sound of the Latin a, which I am convinced was like our a in water; but whether it was like the a in paper, father, or water, is not of any importance in the present question; the quantity is the same, supposing it to have been any one of them,
first syllables of banish, banner, and banter, have, to our ears, exactly the same quantity.
14. But if the long quantity of the ancients arose naturally from the obstruction the voice meets with in the pronunciation of two or more consonants, how does it happen that the preceding consonants do not lengthen the vowel as much as those which succeed *? Dr. Gally tells us, the reason of this is,
that the vowel being the most essential part of the syllable, the voice hastens to seize it; and, in order to do this, it slurs over all the consonants that are placed before it, so that the voice suffers little or no delay. But the case of the consonant that follows is not the same: it cannot be slurred over, but must be pronounced full and distinct, otherwise it would run into and be confounded with the following syllable. By this mean the voice is delayed more in the latter than in the former part of the syllable, and ór' is longer than otgo, and yiv longer than Σπλη.”
I must own myself at a loss to conceive the force of this reasoning: I have always supposed the consonant, when it forms part of a syllable, to be as essential to its sound as the vowel; nor can I conceive why the latter consonants of a syllable may not be pronounced as rapidly as the former, without running the former syllable into the latter, and thus confounding them together; since no such confusion arises when we end the first syllable with the vowel, and begin the following syllable with the consonants, as pro-crastino, pro-stratus, &c. as in this case there is no consonant to stop the first syllable, and prevent its running into the second; so that Dr. Gally seems to have slurred over the matter rather than to have explained it; but as he is the only writer who has attempted to account for the man
*" Dissertation against pronouncing the Greek Language according to Aca certs."-Dissert, ii. page 50, second edition.
ner in which quantity is produced by consonants, he is entitled to attention.
15. In the first place, then, in words of more than one syllable, but one consonant can belong to the preceding vowel, as the others must necessarily be considered as belonging to the succeeding vowel, and, according to Dr. Gally, must be hurried over, that the voice may seize its favourite letter. As one consonant, therefore, does not naturally produce long quantity, where is the delay if the other consonants are hurried over? and, consequently, where is the long quantity which the delay is supposed to produce? This is like adding two nothings together to produce a somiething.
16. But what does he mean by the necessity there is of pronouncing the latter consonant full and distinct, that it may not run into and be confounded with the following syllable ? Must not every consonant be pronounced full and distinct, whether we pronounce it rapidly or slowly, whether before or after the vowel? Is not the str in stramen pronounced as full and distinct as the same letters in castra, castrametor? &c. I know there is a shadow of difference by pronouncing the vowel in our short English manner so as to unite with the s, as if written cass; but if we make the preceding vowel long, as in case, and, according to the rules of syllabication laid down by Ramus, Ward, and the Latin grammarians, carry the consonants to the succeeding syllable, as if written cay-stray, we find these consonants pronounced exactly in the same manner : and this leads us to suppose that double consonants were the signs only, and not the efficients of long quantity; and that this same long quantity was not simply a duration of sound upon the consonants, but exactly what we call long quantity- a lengthening of the sound by pronouncing the vowel open, as if we were to pronounce the a long in mater, by sounding it as if written mayter ; and the same letter short in pater, as if it were written patter*
* What exceedingly corroborates this idea of quantity is, the common or
17. The reason of our repugnance to admit of this analogy of quantity in the learned languages is, that a diametrically opposite analogy has been adopted in the English, and, I believe, in most modern tongues-an analogy which makes the vowel long before one consonant, and short before more than one.
13. If, however, the quantity of the ancients lay only in the vowel, which was lengthened and shortened in our manner by altering the sound, how strange must have been their poetical language, and how different from the words taken singly! Thus the word nec, which, taken singly, must have been pronounced with the vowel short, like our English word neck-in composition, as in the line of Virgil, where it is long.
Fulgura, nec diri toties arsere cometæ.”
This word must have been pronounced as if written neek; just as differently as the words proper, of, mankind, is, and man, in the line of Pope, would be pronounced by the same rule,
The proper study of mankind is man ;
and as if written,
The propeer study ove mane-kind ees mane." When to this alteration of the quantity, by the means of suc. ceeding consonants, we add that rule--
Finalem cæsura brevem producere gaudet," ---
doubtful vowels, as they are called ; that is, such as come before a mute and a. liquid; as the first a in patria, the e in refluo, &c.; as in these words the vowel preceding the mute and liquid is either long or short, as the writer or speaker pleases to make it; but if the consonants naturally retarded the sound of the syllable, so as to make it long, how could this be? If the syllable was to be made long, did the speaker dwell longer on the consonants, and if it was to be made short, did he hurry them over? And did this make the difference in the quantity of these syllables ?--The utter impossibility of conceiving this to have been the case renders it highly probable that the long or short quantity lay only in the vowel.
which makes the short or doubtful vowel long, that either ime mediately precedes the cæsura, or concludes the hexameter verse—what must be our astonishment at this very different sound of the words arising merely from a different collocation of them, and at the strange variety and ambiguity to the ear this difference must occasion !
19. But if this system of quantity among the ancients appears strange and unaccountable, our wonder will not be diminished when we inquire into the nature of their accent.
20. From what has been said of accent and quantity in our own language, we may conclude them to be essentially distinct and perfectly separable : nor is it to be doubted that they were equally separable in the learned languages : instances of this from the scholiasts and commentators are innumerable ; but so loose and indefinite are many of their expressions, so little do they seem acquainted with the analysis of the human voice, that a great number of quotations are produced to support the most opposite and contradictory systems. Thus Vossius, Henninius, and Dr. Gally, produce a great number of quotations which seem to confound accent and quantity, by making the acute accent and long quantity signify the same; White, Michaëlis, Melancthon, Forster, Primat, and many other men of learning, produce clouds of witnesses from the ancients to. prove that accent and quantity are essentially different t. The
* See this idea of the different sound of words, when taken singly, and when in composition, most excellently treated by the author of the Greek and Latin Prosodies, attributed to the present Bishop of St. Asaph, page 101.
+ It is not astonishing that learned men will wrangle with each other for whole
pages about the sense of a word in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, upon the difference between singing and speaking sounds, when this difference is just as open to them by experiment as it was to him. Who can sufficiently admire the confidence of Isaac Vossius, who says-" In cantu latius evagari sonos, quam in 6 recitatione aut communi sermone, utpote in quo vitiorum habeatur, si vox ule.