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and for that reason arbitrary sounds are ill fitted for a melody which is chiefly. supported by quantity. In Latin and Greek Hexameter invariable sounds direct and ascertain the melody. English Hexameter would be destitute of melody, unless by artful pronunciation; because of necessity the bulk of its sounds must be arbitrary. The pronunciation is easy in a simple movement of alternate long and short syllables; but would be perplexing and unpleasant in the diversified movement of Hexameter verse.

Rhyme makes so great a figure in modern poetry, as to deserve a solemn trial. I have for that reason reserved it to be examined with deliberation; in order to discover, if I can, its peculiar beauties, and its degree of merit. The first view of this subject leads naturally to the following reflection: "That rhyme, having no relation to sentiment, nor any effect upon the ear other than a mere jingle, ought to be banished all compositions of any dignity, as affording but a trifling and childish pleasure." It will also be observed, "That a jingle of words hath in some measure a ludicrous effect; witness the double rhymes of Hudibras, which contribute no small share to its drollery: that in a serious work this ludicrous effect would be equally remarkable, were it not obscured by the prevailing gravity of the subject; that having, however, a constant tendency to give a ludicrous air to the composition, more than ordinary fire is requisite to support the dignity of the sentiments againt such an undermining antagonist."*

These arguments are specious, and have undoubtedly some weight. Yet, on the other hand, it ought to be considered, that in modern tongues rhyme has become universal among men as well as children; and that it cannot have such a currency without some foundation in human nature. In fact, it has been successfully employed by poets of genius, in their serious and grave compositions, as well as in those which are more light and airy. Here in weighing authority against argument, the scales seem to be upon a level; and therefore to come at any thing decisive, we must pierce a little deeper.

Music has great power over the soul; and may successfully be employed to inflame or soothe passions, if not actually to raise them. A single sound, however sweet, is not music; but a single sound repeated after intervals, may have the effect to rouse attention, and to keep the hearer awake and a variety of similar sounds, succeeding each other after regular intervals, must have a still stronger effect. This consideration is applicable to rhyme, which connects two verse-lines by making them close with two words similar in sound. And considering attentively the musical effect of a couplet, we find, that it rouses the mind, and produceth an emotion moderately gay without dignity or elevation: like the murmuring of a brook gliding through pebbles, it calms the mind when perturbed, and gently raises it when sunk. These effects are scarce perceived when the whole poem is in rhyme; but are extremely remarkable by contrast, in the couplets that close the several acts of our later tragedies: the tone of the mind is sensibly

*Vossius, De Poematum Cantu, p. 26, says, “Nihil æque gravitatem orationis afficit, quam in sono ludere syllabarum."

varied by them, from anguish, distress, or melancholy, to some degree of ease and alacrity. For the truth of this observation, I appeal to the speech of Jane Shore in the fourth act, when her doom was pronounced by Gloster; to the speech of Lady Jane Grey at the end of the first act; and to that of Calista, in the Fair Penitent, when she leaves the stage, about the middle of the third act. The speech of Alicia, at the close of the fourth act of Jane Shore, puts the matter beyond doubt: in a scene of deep distress, the rhymes which finish the act produce a certain gaiety and cheerfulness, far from according with the tone of the passion:

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Alicia. For ever? Oh! for ever!
Oh! who can bear to be a wretch for ever!
My rival too: his last thoughts hung on her:
And, as he parted, left a blessing for her:
Shall she be bless'd, and I be curs'd for ever!
No; since her fatal beauty was the cause
Of all my suff'rings, let her share my pains;
Let her, like me of ev'ry joy forlorn,
Devote the hour when such a wretch was born:
Like me to deserts and to darkness run,
Abhor the day, and curse the golden sun;
Cast ev'ry good and ev'ry hope behind;
Detest the works of nature, loathe mankind:
Like me with cries distracted fill the air,
Tear her poor bosom, and her frantic hair,
And prove the torments of the last despair.

Having described, the best way I can, the impression that rhyme makes on the mind; I proceed to examine whether there be any subjects to which rhyme is peculiarly adapted, and for what subjects it is improper. Grand and lofty subjects, which have a powerful influence, claim precedence in this inquiry. In the chapter of Grandeur and Sublimity it is established, that a grand or sublime object inspires a warm enthusiastic emotion disdaining strict regularity and order; which emotion is very different from that inspired by the moderately enlivening music of rhyme. Supposing then an elevated subject to be expressed in rhyme, what must be the effect? The intimate union of the music with the subject produces an intimate union of their emotions; one inspired by the subject, which tends to elevate and expand the mind; and one inspired by the music, which, confining the mind within the narrow limits of regular cadence and similar sound, tends to prevent all elevation above its own pitch. Emotions so little concordant cannot in union have a happy effect.

But it is scarce necessary to reason upon a case that never did, and probably never will happen, viz. an important subject clothed in rhyme, and yet supported in its utmost elevation. A happy thought or warm expression may at times gives a sudden bound upward; but it requires a genius greater than has hitherto existed to sup. port a poem of any length in a tone elevated much above that of the melody. Tasso and Ariosto ought not to be made exceptions, and still less Voltaire. And after all, where the poet has the dead weight of rhyme constantly to struggle with, how can we expect a uniform elevation, in a high pitch; when such elevation, with all the

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support it can receive from language, requires the utmost effort of the human genius?

But now, admitting rhyme to be an unfit dress for grand and lofty images; it has one advantage however, which is, to raise a low subject to its own degree of elevation. Addison* observes, "That rhyme, without any other assistance, throws the language off from prose, and very often makes an indifferent phrase pass unregarded; but where the verse is not built upon rhymes, there pomp of sound and energy of expression are indispensably necessary to support the style, and keep it from falling into the flatness of prose. This effect of rhyme is remarkable in French verse: which, being simple, and little qualified for inversion, readily sinks down to prose where not artificially supported: rhyme is therefore indispensable in French tragedy, and may be proper even in French comedy. Voltaire* assigns that very reason for adhering to rhyme in these compositions. He indeed candidly owns, that, even with the support of rhyme, the tragedies of his country are little better than conversation-pieces; which seems to infer, that the French language is weak, and an improper dress for any grand subject. Voltaire was sensible of the imperfection, and yet Voltaire attempted an epic poem in that language.

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The cheering and enlivening power of rhyme is still more remarkable in poems of short lines, where the rhymes return upon the ear in a quick succession; for which reason rhyme is perfectly well adapted to gay, light, and airy subjects. Witness the following:

O the pleasing, pleasing anguish,

When we love and when we languish !

Wishes rising,
Thoughts surprising,
Pleasure courting,
Charms transporting,
Fancy viewing,
Joys ensuing,

O the pleasing, pleasing anguish.-Rosamond, act. 1. sc. 2.

For that reason, such frequent rhymes are very improper for any severe or serious passion: the dissonance between the subject and the melody is very sensibly felt. Witness the following:

Ardito ti renda,

Di sdegno
D'un figlio
Il periglio
D'un regno

E'dolce ad un'alma

Che aspetta

11 perder la calma

Fra l'ire del cor.-Metastasio. Arlaserse, act 3. sc. 3.

+ Preface to his tragedy of Brutus.

* Spectator, No. 235.

dipus, and in his discourse upon tragedy, prefixed to his

Again :

Now under hanging mountains,
Beside the fall of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,
All alone,

Unheard, unknown,
He makes his moan,
And calls her ghost,

For ever, ever, ever, lost;
Now with furies surrounded,

Despairing, confounded,
He trembles, he glows,

Amidst Rhodope's snows-Pope, Ode for Music, l. 97.

Rhyme is not less unfit for anguish or deep distress, than for subjects elevated and lofty; and for that reason has been long disused in the English and Italian tragedy. In a work where the subject is serious though not elevated, rhyme has not a good effect; because the airiness of the melody agrees not with the gravity of the subject the Essay on Man, which treats a subject great and important, would make a better figure in blank verse. Sportive love, mirth, gaiety, humour, and ridicule, are the province of rhyme. The boundaries assigned it by nature were extended in barbarous and illiterate ages; and in its usurpations it has long been protected by custom but taste in the fine arts, as well as in morals, improves daily; and makes a progress towards perfection, slow indeed, but uniform; and there is no reason to doubt, that rhyme, in Britain, will in time be forced to abandon its unjust conquests, and to confine itself within its natural limits.

Having said what occured upon rhyme, I close the section with a general observation, That the melody of verse so powerfully enchants the mind as to draw a veil over very gross faults and imperfections. Of this power a stronger example cannot be given than the episode of Aristæus, which closes the Fourth book of the Georgics. To renew a stock of bees when the former is lost, Virgil asserts, that they may be produced in the entrails of a bullock, slain and managed in a certain manner. This leads him to say, how this strange receipt was invented; which is as follows. Aristaus having lost his bees by disease and famine, never dreams of employing the ordinary means for obtaining a new stock; but, like a froward child, complains heavily to his mother Cyrene, a waternymph. She advises him to consult Proteus, a sea-god, not how he was to obtain a new stock, but only by what fatality he had lost his former stock; adding, that violence was necessary, because Proteus would say nothing voluntarily. Aristæus, satisfied with this advice, though it gave him no prospect of repairing his loss, proceeds to execution. Proteus is caught sleeping, bound with cords, and compelled to speak. He declares that Aristæus was punished with the loss of his bees, for attempting the chastity of Eurydice the wife of Orpheus; she having been stung to death by a serpent in flying his embraces. Proteus, whose sullenness ought to have been coverted into wrath by the rough treatment he met with, becomes on a sudden courteous and communicative. He gives the

whole history of the expedition to hell which Orpheus undertook in: order to recover his spouse: a very entertaining story, but without the least relation to what was in view. Aristæus, returning to his mother is advised to deprecate by sacrifices the wrath of Orpheus, who was now dead. A bullock is sacrificed, and out of the entrails spring miraculously a swarm of bees. Does it follow that the same may be obtained without a miracle, as is supposed in the receipt?

A List of the different Feet, and of their Names.

1. PYRRHICHIUS consists of two short syllables. Examples: Deus, given, cannot, hillock, running.

2. SPONDEUS consists of two long syllables: omnes, possess, forewarn, mankind, sometime.

3. IAMBUS, composed of a short and a long pios, intent, degree, appear, consent, repent, demand, report, suspect, affront, event. 4. TROCHEUS, or CHOREUS, a long and short: fervat, whereby, after, legal, measure, burden, holy, lofty.

5. TRIBRACHYs, three short: melius, property.

6. MOLOSSUS, three long: delectant.

7. ANAPESTUS, two short and a long animos, condescend, appre hend, overheard, acquiesce, immature, overcharge, serenade, opportune.

8. DACTYLUS, a long and two short: carmina, evident, excellence, estimate, wonderful, altitude, burdened, minister, tenement.

9. BACCHIUS, a short and two long: dolores.


two long and a short :


11. CRETICUS, or AMPHIMACER, a short syllable between two long: insito, afternoon.

12. AMPHIBRACHYS, a long syllable between two short honore, consider, imprudent, procedure, attended, proposed, respondent, concurrence, apprentice, respective, revenue.

13. PROCELEUSMATICUS, four short syllables: hominibus, necessary. 14. DISPONDEUS, four long syllables: infinitis.

15. DIAMBUS, composed of two Iambi: severitas.

16. DITROCHEUS, of two Trochæi: permanere, procurator.

17. IONICUS, two short syllables and two long: properabant.

18. Another foot passes under the same name, composed of two long syllables and two short: calcaribus, possessory.

19. CHORIAMBUS, two short syllables between two long: nobilitas. 20. ANTISPASTUS, two long syllables between two short: Alexan


21. PEON 1st, one long syllable and three short: temporibus, ordinary, inventory, temperament.

22. PEON 2d, the second syllable long, and the other three short: rapidity, solemnity, minority, considered, imprudently, extravagant, respectfully, accordingly.

23. PAON 3d, the third syllable long, and the other three short : animatus, independent, condescendence, sacerdotal, reimbursement, manufacture.

24. PEON 4th, the last syllable long, and the other three short: celeritas.

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