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True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence ;
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows ;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow;
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.
In this oft-quoted passage from the Essay o?i Criticism Pope sounds the note of, and attempts to illustrate, what is known as " Imitative Harmony " in language, by which is meant a resemblance, real or fancied, that the sounds of words bear to the sense they convey.
The Onomatopcetic, or " Bow-wow " theory of the origin of language, is no longer seriously held by any philological authority, but at the same time the mimetic origin of a large number of words is undoubted. Such forms, for instance, as coo, hiss, bump, thud, smash, pop, bang, crash, whizz, buzz, stun, tingle, chatter, squeak, murmur, scream, gurgle, hoivly