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ly in Paffages that are purely Satirical, where fome Allowance must be given: For Satire may be fine and true Satire, tho' it be not directly and according to the Letter, true: 'tis enough that it car ry with it a Probability or Semblance of Truth. Let it not here be objected, that I have from the Tranflators of the Greek and Roman Poets, taken fome Descriptions meerly fabulous: for the well-invented Fables of the Antients were defign'd only to inculcate the Truth with more Delight, and to make it shine with greater Splendour.
Rien n'eft beau que le Vrai. Le Vrai feul eft Aimable: Il doit regner par tout; & meme dans la Fable t De toute Fiction l' adroite Fauffeté
Ne tend qu'à faire aux yeux briller la Verité. Boileau.
I have upon every Subject given both Pro and Con whenever I met with them, or that I judg'd them worth giving: and if both are not always found, let none imagine that I wilfully fupprefs'd either; or that what is here uncontradicted must be unanswerable.
If any take Offence at the Loofness of fome of the Thoughts, as particularly up
on Love, where I have given the different Sentiments which Mankind, according to their feveral Temperaments, ever had, and ever will have of it; fuch may observe, that I have strictly avoided all manner of Obscenity throughout the whole Collection: And tho' here and there a Thought may perhaps have a Caft of Wantonness, yet the cleanly Metaphors palliate the Broadnefs of the Meaning, and the Chaftnefs of the Words qualifies the Lafciviousness of the Images they represent. And let them farther know, that I have not always chosen what I moft approv'd, but what carries with it the best Strokes for Imitation: For, upon the whole matter, it was not my Business to judge any farther, than of the Vigour and Force of Thought, of the Purity of Language, of the Aptness and Propriety of Expreffion ; and above all, of the Beauty of Colouring, in which the Poet's Art chiefly confifts. Nor, in fhort, would I take upon me to determine what things fhould have been faid; but have fhewn only what are said, and in what manner.
N the English Verfification there are two Things chiefly to be confider'd ;
1. The Verfes.
2. The feveral Sorts of Poems, or Compofitions in Verfe. But because in the Verfes there are alfo two Things to be obferv'd, The Structure of the Verfe, and the Rhyme; this Treatife fhall be divided into three Chapters;
I. Of the Structure of English Verses.
- II. Of Rhyme.
III. Of the feveral Sorts of Poems, or Compofitions in Verfe.
Of the Structure of English Verses.
HE Structure of our Verfes, whether Blank, or in Rhyme; confifts in a certain Number of Syllables; not in Feet compos'd of long and fhort Syllables, as the Verfes of the Greeks and Romans. And though fome ingenious Perfons formerly puzzled themselves in prefcribing Rules for the Quantity of English Syllables, and, in Imitation of the Latins, com pos'd Verfes by the measure of Spondees, Dactyls, &c. yet the Succefs of their Undertaking has fully evinc'd the Vainnefs of their Attempt, and given ground to fufpect they had not throughly weigh'd what the Genius of our Language would bear ; nor reflected that each Tongue has its peculiar Beau ties, and that what is agreeable and natural to one, is very often difagreeable, nay, inconfiftent with another. But that Defign being how wholly exploded, it is fufficient to have mention'd it.
Our Verfes then confift in a certain Number of Syllables; but the Verfes of double Rhyme require a Syllable more than thofe of fingle Rhyme. Thus in a Poem whofe Verfes confift of ten Syllables,thofe of the fame Poem that are accented on the laft fave one, which we call Verfes of double Rhyme, must have eleven; as may be seen by these Verses. A Man fo various that he feem'd to be
Not one, but all Mankind's Epitome :
That every Man with him was God or Devil.
Dryd. Where the 4 Verfes that are accented on the laft fave one have 11 Syllables; the others, accented on the laft, but 10.
In a Poem whofe Verfes confift of 8, the double Rhymes require 9; as,
When hard Words, Jealoufies and Fears,
Set Folks together by the Ears ;
And made 'em fight, like mad, or drunk,
In a Poem whofe Verfes confift of 7, the double Rhymes re
All thy Verfe is fefter far
Than the downy Feathers are
Of my Wings, or of my Arrows,
Of my Mother's Doves or Sparrows.
This must also be obferv'd in Blank Verfe; as,
And this Verfe of Milton,
Void of all Succour and needful Comfort.
wants a Syllable; for, being accented on the laft fave one, it ought to have 11, as all the Verfes but Two of the preceding Example have: But if we tranfpofe the Words thus,
Of Succour and all needful Comfort void.
it then wants nothing of its due Measure, because it is accented on the laft Syllable.
Of the feveral forts of Verses; and, first, of those of Ten Syllables: Of the due Obfervation of the Accent, and of the Paufe.
UR Poetry admits for the most part but of Three forts of Verfes; that is to fay, of Verfes of 10, 8, or 7 Sylla bles: Thofe of 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, and 14, are generally employ'd in Masks and Operas, and in the Stanzas of Lyrick and Pindarick Odes, and we have few intire Poems compos'd in any of thofe forts of Verfes. Thofe of 12 and of 14 Syllables are frequently inferted in our Poems in Heroick Verfe, and when rightly made use of, carry a peculiar Grace with them. See the next Section towards the End.
The Verfes of to Syllables, which are our Heroick, are us'd in Heroick Poems, in Tragedies, Comedies, Paftorals, Elegies, and fometimes in Burlesque.
In thefe Verfes Two things are chiefly to be confider'd; 1. The Seat of the Accent;
2. The Paufe.
For, 'tis not enough that Verfes have their juft Number of Syllables; the true Harmony of them depends on a due Obfer vation of the Accent and Paufe.
The Accent is an Elevation or a falling of the Voice on a certain Syllable of a Word.
The Paufe is a Reft or Stop that is made in pronouncing the Verfe, and that divides it, as it were, into Two Parts; each of which is call'd an Hemiftich, or Half-Verfe.
But this Division is not always equal, that is to fay, one of the Half-Verfes does not always contain the fame Number of. Syllables as the other: And this Inequality proceeds from the Seat of the Accent that is ftrongeft, and prevails moft in the first Half-Verfe. For the Pause must be observ'd at the Be