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into an organized system, in which, while they preserve their characteristic differences, they are fitted to possess, by the instrumentality of each other, a higher life than if they existed separately.

Foreign influences, moreover, give to a literature variety in its successive periods; and this gives vitality. Without new thought literature cannot live ; and there is more room for new thought when there are in a literature various styles of recognized excellence which may prevail in succession, so as to give oscillations to its history.

To a nation such as ours this variety is more needful in our literature. There is a Celtic as well as a Germanic element in the kingdom; and it is well for the Celtic element that there has been a period in which a French influence was combined with the classical, so as to mark English literature with features which Celtic genius may recognize as its own, and by which it may be encouraged to aspire to immortality.

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EVORY KENNEDY, M.D., E. AND T.C. D. (Hon.)

Fellow AND Past PRESIDENT OF THE KING AND
QUEEN'S COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS IN IRELAND,
Vice-Pres. Soc. D'AFRIQUE, Paris, Hon.

MEM. MED. Soc. HAMBURGH,

ETC. ETC.

ON THE PRINCIPLES AND USES OF

ALLITERATION IN POETRY.

[graphic]

N dealing with the subject of alliteration

in poetry, I shall endeavour to bring under your notice, for investigation, a

page in our English historical literature, obscure and remote though it be, yet not without its interest to those who are naturally anxious to know something of the refinements of the language in daily use amongst us.

In undertaking this, I confess I have been influenced by the dictum of that worthy and sound-judging Prince, Alfred, in his address to Wulfsig, Bishop of London: 6. Let those learn Latin afterwards that will know more, and advance to a higher condition; I think better, that all the youth, that are now in England, who are free men and possess sufficient wealth, may for a time apply to no other task, until they first know well how to read English.”

Before entering upon the special alliterative school, we must deal briefly with the general subject.

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Alliteration in

poetry,

has been defined, as the repetition, once or oftener, of the initial letter of a word in the same verse, for instance, Had my sweet Harry bad but half their numbers.” But we shall find, as we proceed, that this definition is inadequate in its present more comprehensive application. In fact, that alliteration is a generic term, whose species it will be our duty to develope in our progress.

Observe the difficulty with which an infant acquires the power of accomplishing the articulate sounds submitted to its imitation. The repeated, nay, the reiterated and oft-multiplied repetitions elicited, ere the accurate result is accomplished. Observe the comparative pleasure with which, whilst new sounds are submitted to him, he returns to those with which he is already by practice familiar; and, further recall to your memory the greater pleasure that he and you reciprocally experienced from the repetition of those words with which he is familiarized. All this is explicable upon a very simple principle.

There are numerous muscles, acting under the impulse of volition, in the organs of voice, and those accomplishing articulation; the exact action and influence of each of which can only be produced by an individual effort of each, co-operating with the common consent in all the others. The articulation of every syllable requires a change in the action of the special muscles engaged, as well as in the harmonized cooperation of all the others.

The voice, unlike the pianoforte, is not a mere 'mechanical instrument, producing an approximation to

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