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UI legis Amiffam Paradifum, grandia magni
Res cunctas, & cunctarum primordia rerum,
Terræque, tractufque maris, cœlumque profundum,
Et fine fine magis, fi quid magis eft fine fine,
Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
Atque ipfo graditur vix Michaële minor!
Where couldst thou words of fuch a compafs find
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
Number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.
To Mr. JOHN MILTON,
On his Poem entitled PARADISE LOST.
Thou! the wonder of the prefent age,
immerft in luxury and vice;
A race of triflers; who can relish naught
But the gay iffue of an idle brain :
How couldst thou hope to please this tinfel race?
The labyrinth perplex'd of Heaven's decrees;
F. C. 1680.
HE measure is English heroic verfe without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; rhyme being no neceffary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verfe, in longer works efpecially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame meter; graced indeed fince by the use of fome famous modern poets, carried away by cuftom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwife, and for the most part worse than elfe they would have expreffed them. Not without caufe therefore fome both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works, as have alfo long fince our beft English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true mufical delight; which confifts only in apt numbers, fit quantity of fyllables, and the fense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling found of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned Ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect then VOL. I.
of rhyme fo little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be efteemed an example fet, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.