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Title: The Art of English Poetry (1708)
Author: Bysshe, Edward
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Art of English Poetry (1708)" ***

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    The Augustan Reprint Society


    _The Art of English Poetry_


    With an Introduction by
    A. Dwight Culler

    Publication Number 40

    Los Angeles
    William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
    University of California


    H. Richard Archer, _Clark Memorial Library_
    Richard C. Boys, _University of Michigan_
    Ralph Cohen, _University of California, Los Angeles_
    Vinton A. Dearing, _University of California, Los Angeles_


    W. Earl Britton, _University of Michigan_


    Emmett L. Avery, _State College of Washington_
    Benjamin Boyce, _Duke University_
    Louis Bredvold, _University of Michigan_
    John Butt, _King's College, University of Durham_
    James L. Clifford, _Columbia University_
    Arthur Friedman, _University of Chicago_
    Edward Niles Hooker, _University of California, Los Angeles_
    Louis A. Landa, _Princeton University_
    Samuel H. Monk, _University of Minnesota_
    Earnest Mossner, _University of Texas_
    James Sutherland, _University College, London_
    H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., _University of California, Los Angeles_


    Edna C. Davis, _Clark Memorial Library_


The _Art of English Poetry_ (1702) may be roughly described as an
English version of the _Gradus ad Parnassum_. At least that is the
tradition to which it belongs. Its immediate predecessor was the
pleasant _English Parnassus: Or, a Helpe to English Poesie_ (1657)
compiled by a Middlesex schoolmaster named Joshua Poole, and this work
was avowedly modeled on Ravisius Textor's _Epitheta_ and the _Thesaurus
Poeticus_ of Joannes Buchler. But whereas the _English Parnassus_ was
designed for the schoolroom, the _Art of English Poetry_ was designed
for the world of polite letters, and so may be called the first example
in English of the handbook for the serious poet.

In its original form the work was an octavo of nearly four hundred pages
divided into three parts: "Rules For making English Verse," a rhyming
dictionary, and a poetical commonplace book containing all the "Most
Natural, Agreeable, and Noble _Thoughts_" of the English poets digested
alphabetically by their subject. Only the first part is reproduced here,
but it seems desirable to say something about the book as a whole.[1]

It is one of those works which is scorned by all, and used by all who
scorn it. In the sixty years after its publication it went through nine
editions, and though Charles Gildon thought it "a book too scandalously
mean to name," he was constrained to admit that it had "spread, by many
editions, thro' all _England_" and had "carried off so many Impressions,
as have made it with the ignorant, the _Standard_ of Writing."[2] Not
only with the ignorant. Pope knew and used the work, and likewise
Richardson, Fielding, Isaac Watts, Johnson, Goldsmith, Walpole, Blake,
Sir Walter Scott, Bulwer-Lytton, and many others. Indeed, it would be
safe to say that there was hardly a literary man in the eighteenth
century who was not familiar with it. If he used a rhyming dictionary,
he used that in Bysshe, at least until 1775, when it was superseded by
John Walker's _Dictionary of the English Language_. And if he used a
poetical commonplace book, he used either Bysshe or one of the five
other works which were produced in imitation of Bysshe. "Quoi qu'ils en
disent," said the Abbé du Bos of a similar work in French, "ils ont tous
ce livre dans leur arrière cabinet."

The _Art of English Poetry_ is dominated in every part by the concept of
the heroic poem. The rhyming dictionary, which was enlarged and improved
from that in Poole, contains only those words which "both for their
Sense and Sound are judg'd most proper for the Rhymes of Heroick
Poetry;"[3] and the quotations in the commonplace book are drawn chiefly
from the heroic poem and the heroic drama. In the last revised edition
(1718) the most frequently quoted authors were Lee (104 passages), Rowe
(116), Milton (117), Shakespeare (118), Blackmore (125), Otway (127),
Butler (140), Cowley (143), Pope (155), and Dryden (1,201). Dryden,
therefore, was the great exemplar of the heroic poet, and his _Aeneid_,
which was cited 493 times, was the great exemplar of the heroic poem.
Its meter, the heroic couplet, was for Bysshe the only serious poetic
instrument, all longer lines being used merely to vary and decorate it
and the shorter ones being fit only for masks and operas and Pindaric
odes. As for stanzas, the rhyme royal was not "follow'd" anymore,
Spenser's choice was "unlucky," and in general, as Cowley had said, "no
kind of Staff is proper for a Heroic Poem; as being all too

The "Rules For making English Verse," which is the most important part
of Bysshe's work, is the first attempt to treat English prosody in a
systematic and comprehensive way. As the title indicates, it is
prescriptive in tone, and it is strictly syllabic in what it
prescribes. The English verse line, according to Bysshe, consists of a
specified number of syllables, usually ten, but permissably from four to
twelve with double rhyme adding an uncounted syllable. A verse with an
extra or a missing syllable (as compared with the pattern established by
the rest of the poem) is either a faulty verse or, more properly, just a
verse of a different kind. There are no feet in English poetry.
Nevertheless, accent, which Bysshe apparently considered a variation in
pitch rather than in duration or loudness, is recognized, and its role
is clearly prescribed. It falls on the even syllables in verses whose
total number is even and on the odd syllables in verses whose odd number
is not due to double rhyme. This, of course, means duple time only, and
Bysshe recognizes no other. When he quotes Congreve's verse, "Apart let
me view then each Heavenly fair," he feels that the measure is somehow
disagreeable, but he does not notice that the accents fall other than he
had prescribed, and he apparently thinks that the line is distinguished
from heroic verse only in having eleven syllables instead of ten. This
is highly important because it shows that although the nomina basis of
his prosody is both accentual and syllabic, the latter element is really
its defining principle.

In a syllabic prosody it is clearly necessary to determine the number of
syllables in a word whenever that is doubtful and also, if convenient,
to provide ways of regulating that number by syncope and elision. A
large part of Bysshe's treatise, therefore, is concerned with this task,
and in order to understand this part it is necessary to realize that the
shortened forms which he recommends (_am'rous_, _ta'en_, and the like)
were not originally "poetic" in character. By his day some very few had
become slightly archaic and hence were usually restricted to poetry;
others existed side by side, in both prose and poetic speech, with the
longer forms which at last superseded them; but the great majority
represent the regular colloquial idiom of the late seventeenth and early
eighteenth century. Bysshe wanted them used in poetry because he wanted
the language of poetry to conform to that of cultivated conversation and
prose and because he did not want the heroic line weakened by allowing
for syllables that were not there, or were there only to the eye.

Bysshe says that he extracted his rules from the practice of the best
poets, but this is not true. He extracted them almost entirely from the
_Quatre Traitez de Poësies, Latine, Françoise, Italienne, et Espagnole_
(1663) by Claude Lancelot, one of the Port Royal educators. From the
Italian, Spanish, and possibly the Latin sections of this work Bysshe
took his rules on the position of the caesura and a few other hints; but
from the French section, the "Breve Instruction sur les Regles de la
Poësie Françoise," he took almost his entire prosodical system. Indeed,
his "Rules" are simply a translation and adaptation of the "Breve
Instruction" with English examples replacing the French. The opening
sentence, for example, which contains the very heart of his doctrine,
reads: "The Structure of our Verses, whether Blank, or in Rhyme,
consists in a certain Number of Syllables; not in Feet compos'd of long
and short Syllables, as the Verses of the _Greeks_ and _Romans_." And
the source: "La structure ne consiste qu'en vn certain nombre de
syllabes, & non pas en pieds composez de syllabes longues & breves,
comme les vers des Grecs & des Romains."[5]

Needless to say, this description is accurate when applied to French
verse, but it is not accurate when applied to English. The rhythm of
English verse consists in the regular recurrence of a unit whose exact
nature is variously conceived but which is easily identified by the
accent which signalizes it. In French, however, stress in connected
speech is too weak and uncertain to be made the basis of a satisfactory
rhythm and is replaced in this function by the verse unit itself. These
units are made equal by their having an equal number of syllables, and
their recurrence is signalized by the final pause, by rhyme, and by the
accentuation of the rhymed syllable. In each language there are, of
course, other subsidiary rhythms, but the basic rhythm is founded upon
the verse unit in French and upon a unit within the verse in English.
Clearly, a prosody which applied to one system could not apply to the
other, and to suppose that it did was Bysshe's sole but disastrous
mistake. He was not the first to make it. What prosody there had been
before him had hesitated uncertainly among three systems, the
quantitative, the accentual, and the syllabic, but Bysshe, by
formulating for the first time a complete and explicit _prosodia_,
confirmed it in the one it was already favoring, the syllabic system of
the French. Through him the mistake became irreparable for over a
hundred years, and thus his "Rules" have an importance which is far
beyond their merit. Critically, they are nothing; but historically, they
dominated the popular prosodic thought of the eighteenth century.

Their supremacy was finally ended in 1816 by the preface to
_Christabel_. There Coleridge wrote that the meter of the poem was not,
properly speaking, irregular, though it might seem so from its being
founded on "a new principle: namely, that of counting in each line the
accents, not the syllables."[6] Scholars have wondered what was "new"
about this, and the answer is that it was not new in English poetry, but
in English prosodical criticism it was new, for it was a departure from

    A. Dwight Culler
    Yale University


The nine editions of the _Art of English Poetry_ were as follows: 1702,
1705, 1708, 1710, 1714, 1718, 1724, 1737, and 1762. Four of these--1705,
1708, 1710, and 1718--represent a revision of the preceding edition,
that of 1718 only in the matter of adding new passages to the
commonplace book. The last revised text of the "Rules," therefore, is
that of the fourth edition (1710), but since this differs from the third
only by the omission of one passage, which is of some interest, it
seemed best to reproduce the text of the third edition (1708). The
omitted passage is the last five lines, beginning "and therefore ...,"
of the second paragraph on page 22.


[1] For a fuller discussion see my "Edward Bysshe and the Poet's
Handbook," _PMLA_ LXIII (September, 1948), 858-885, from which the
material for this introduction is largely taken. I am indebted to the
Editor for permission to use it again.

[2] Charles Gildon, _The Laws of Poetry_ (London, 1721), p. 72, and _The
Complete Art of Poetry_ (London, 1718), I, 93.

[3] Edward Bysshe, _The Art of English Poetry_ (London, 1708), p. ii of
the rhyming dictionary (the three parts are paginated separately).

[4] _Ibid._, "Rules," pp. 32-33; Cowley is quoted in Dryden, tr., _The
Works of Virgil_ (London, 1697), sig. fl^v.

[5] _Ibid._, "Rules," p. 1; _Quatre Traitez_, p. 51. Lancelot adds that
Italian and Spanish verse, "like that of all other vernacular
languages," are syllabic (_ibid._, p. 93).

[6] Coleridge, _Complete Poetical Works_, ed. E. H. Coleridge (Oxford,
1912), I, 215.






    I. _Rules_ for making _VERSES_.

    II. A _Collection_ of the most Natural,
    Agreeable, and Sublime _THOUGHTS_, viz.
    Allusions, Similes, Descriptions and Characters,
    of Persons and Things; that are to be found
    in the best _ENGLISH_ POETS.

    III. A _Dictionary_ of _RHYMES_.

    _By_ Edw. Bysshe. _Gent._

    The Third Edition, with large Improvements.


    Printed for Sam. Buckley, at the _Dolphin_ in
    _Little Britain_. MDCCVIII.


So many are the Qualifications, as well natural as acquir'd, that are
essentially requisite to the making of a good Poet, that 'tis in vain
for any Man to aim at a great Reputation on account of his Poetical
Performances, by barely following the Rules of others, and reducing
their Speculations into Practice. It may not be impossible indeed for
Men, even of indifferent Parts, by making Examples to the Rules
hereafter given, to compose Verses smooth, and well-sounding to the Ear;
yet if such Verses want strong Sense, Propriety and Elevation of
Thought, or Purity of Diction, they will be at best but what _Horace_
calls them, _Versus inopes rerum, nugæque canoræ_, and the Writers of
them not Poets, but versifying Scriblers. I pretend not therefore by the
following Sheets to teach a Man to be a Poet in spight of Fate and
Nature, but only to be of Help to the few who are born to be so, and
whom _audit vocatus Apollo_.

To this End I give in the first Place _Rules for making_ English
_Verse_: And these Rules I have, according to the best of my Judgment,
endeavour'd to extract from the Practice, and to frame after the
Examples of the Poets that are most celebrated for a fluent and numerous
Turn of Verse.

Another Part of this Treatise, is a _Dictionary of Rhymes_: To which
having prefix'd a large Preface shewing the Method and Usefulness of it,
I shall trouble the Reader in this place no farther than to acquaint
him, that if it be as useful and acceptable to the Publick, as the
composing it was tedious and painful to me, I shall never repent me of
the Labour.

What I shall chiefly speak of here, is the largest Part of this
Treatise, which I call a _Collection of the most natural and sublime
Thoughts that are in the best_ English _Poets_. And to be ingenuous in
the Discovery, this was the Part of it that principally induc'd me to
undertake the Whole: The Task was indeed laborious, but pleasing; and
the sole Praise I expected from it, was, that I made a judicious Choice
and proper Disposition of the Passages I extracted. A Mixture of so
many different Subjects, and such a Variety of Thoughts upon them, may
possibly not satisfy the Reader so well, as a Composition perfect in its
Kind on one intire Subject; but certainly it will divert and amuse him
better; for here is no Thread of Story, nor Connexion of one Part with
another, to keep his Mind intent, and constrain him to any Length of
Reading. I detain him therefore only to acquaint him, why it is made a
Part of this Book, and how Serviceable it may be to the main Design of

Having drawn up Rules for making Verses, and a Dictionary of Rhymes,
which are the Mechanick Tools of a Poet; I came in the next Place to
consider, what other human Aid could be offer'd him; a Genius and
Judgment not being mine to give. Now I imagin'd that a Man might have
both these, and yet sometimes, for the sake of a Syllable or two more or
less, to give a Verse its true Measure, be at a stand for Epithets and
Synonymes, with which I have seen Books of this Nature in several
Languages plentifully furnish'd.

Now, tho' I have differ'd from them in Method, yet I am of Opinion this
Collection may serve to the same End, with equal Profit and greater
Pleasure to the Reader. For, what are Epithets, but Adjectives that
denote and express the Qualities of the Substantives to which they are
join'd? as _Purple_, _Rosie_, _Smiling_, _Dewy_, Morning: _Dim_,
_Gloomy_, _Silent_, Night. What Synonymes, but Words of a like
Signification? as _Fear_, _Dread_, _Terrour_, _Consternation_,
_Affright_, _Dismay_, &c. Are they not then naturally to be sought for
in the Descriptions of Persons and Things? And can we not better judge
by a Piece of Painting, how Beautifully Colours may be dispos'd; than by
seeing the same several Colours scatter'd without Design on a Table?
When you are at a Loss therefore for proper Epithets or Synonymes, look
in this Alphabetical Collection for any Word under which the Subject of
your Thought may most probably be rang'd; and you will find what have
been imploy'd by our best Writers, and in what Manner.

It would have been as easie a Task for me as it has been to others
before me, to have threaded tedious Bead-rolls of Synonymes and Epithets
together, and put them by themselves: But when they stand alone, they
appear bald, insipid, uncouth, and offensive both to the Eye and Ear. In
that Disposition they may indeed help the Memory, but cannot direct the
Judgment in the Choice.

But besides, to confess a Secret, I am very unwilling it should be laid
to my Charge, that I have furnish'd Tools, and given a Temptation of
Versifying, to such as in spight of Art and Nature undertake to be
Poets; and who mistake their Fondness to Rhyme, or Necessity of Writing,
for a true Genius of Poetry, and lawful Call from _Apollo_. Such
Debasers of Rhyme and Dablers in Poetry would do well to consider, that
a Man would justly deserve a higher Esteem in the World by being a good
Mason or Shoo-maker, or by excelling in any other Art that his Talent
inclines him to, and that is useful to Mankind, than by being an
indifferent or second-Rate Poet. Such have no Claim to that Divine

              _Neque enim concludere Versum
    Dixeris esse satis: Neque, si quis scribat, uti nos,
    Sermoni propiora, putes hunc esse Poetam.
    Ingenium cui sit, cui Mens divinior, atque Os
    Magna sonaturum, des Nominis hujus Honorem._      Horat.

I resolv'd therefore to place these, the principal Materials, under the
awful Guard of the immortal _Shakespear_, _Milton_, _Dryden_, &c.

    _Procul o procul este Profani!_      Virg.

But let Men of better Minds be excited to a generous Emulation.

I have inserted not only Similes, Allusions, Characters, and
Descriptions; but also the most Natural and Sublime Thoughts of our
Modern Poets on all Subjects whatever. I say, of our Modern; for tho'
some of the Antient, as _Chaucer_, _Spencer_, and others, have not been
excell'd, perhaps not equall'd, by any that have succeeded them, either
in Justness of Description, or in Propriety and Greatness of Thought;
yet their Language is now become so antiquated and obsolete, that most
Readers of our Age have no Ear for them: And this is the Reason that
the good _Shakespear_ himself is not so frequently cited in this
Collection, as he would otherwise deserve to be.

I have endeavour'd to give the Passages as naked and stript of
Superfluities and foreign Matter, as possibly I could: but often found
my self oblig'd for the sake of the Connexion of the Sense, which else
would have been interrupted, and consequently obscure, to insert some of
them under Heads, to which every Part or Line of them may be thought not
properly to belong: Nay, I sometimes even found it difficult to chuse
under what Head to place several of the best Thoughts; but the Reader
may be assur'd, that if he find them not where he expects, he will not
wholly lose his Labour; for

            _The Search it self rewards his Pains;
    And if like Chymists his great End he miss,
            Yet things well worth his Toil he gains;
            And does his Charge and Labour pay
    With good unsought Experiments by the way._      Cowley.

That the Reader may judge of every Passage with due Deference for each
Author, he will find their Names at the End of the last Line; and as the
late Versions of the Greek and Roman Poets have not a little
contributed to this Collection, _Homer_, _Anacreon_, _Lucretius_,
_Catullus_, _Virgil_, _Horace_, _Ovid_, _Juvenal_, &c. are cited with
their Translators: And after each Author's Name are quoted their Plays
and other Poems, from whence the Passages are extracted.

The Reader will likewise observe, that I have sometimes ascrib'd to
several Authors the Quotations taken from one and the same Play. Thus to
those from the first and third Act of _Oedipus_, I have put _Dryden_; to
those from the three other, _Lee_: Because the first and third Act of
that Play were written by _Dryden_, the three other by _Lee_. To those
from _Troilus_ and _Cressida_ I have sometimes put _Shakespear_,
sometimes _Dryden_; because he having alter'd that Play, whatever I
found not in the Edition of _Shakespear_, ought to be ascrib'd to him.
And in like manner of several other Plays.

As no Thought can be justly said to be fine, unless it be true, I have
all along had a great regard for Truth; except only in Passages that
are purely Satirical, where some 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 carry with it a Probability or
Semblance of Truth. Let it not here be objected, that I have from the
Translators of the Greek and Roman Poets, taken some Descriptions meerly
fabulous: for the well-invented Fables of the Antients were design'd
only to inculcate the Truth with more Delight, and to make it shine with
greater Splendour.

    _Rien n'est beau que le Vrai. Le Vrai seul est Aimable:
    Il doit regner par tout; & meme dans la Fable:
    De toute Fiction l'adroite Fausseté
    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 suppress'd either; or that what
is here uncontradicted must be unanswerable.

If any take Offence at the Loosness of some of the Thoughts, as
particularly upon _Love_, where I have given the different Sentiments
which Mankind, according to their several Temperaments, ever had, and
ever will have of it; such 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 Cast of Wantonness, yet the cleanly
Metaphors palliate the Broadness of the Meaning, and the Chastness of
the Words qualifies the Lasciviousness of the Images they represent. And
let them farther know, that I have not always chosen what I most
approv'd, but what carries with it the best Stroaks 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 Expression; and above all, of the Beauty of
Colouring, in which the Poet's Art chiefly consists. Nor, in short,
would I take upon me to determine what things should have been said; but
have shewn only what are said, and in what manner.

    For making

In the _English_ Versification there are two Things chiefly to be

    1. The Verses.
    2. The several Sorts of Poems, or Compositions in Verse.

But because in the Verses there are also two Things to be observ'd; The
Structure of the Verse; and the Rhyme; this Treatise shall be divided
into three Chapters.

    I. Of the Structure of _English_ Verses.
    II. Of Rhyme.
    III. Of the several Sorts of Poems, or Compositions in Verse.


_Of the Structure of_ English _Verses._

The Structure of our Verses, whether Blank, or in Rhyme, consists in a
certain Number of Syllables; not in Feet compos'd of long and short
Syllables, as the Verses of the _Greeks_ and _Romans_. And though some
ingenious Persons formerly puzzled themselves in prescribing Rules for
the Quantity of _English_ Syllables, and, in Imitation of the _Latins_,
compos'd Verses by the measure of _Spondees_, _Dactyls_, &c., yet the
Success of their Undertaking has fully evinc'd the Vainness of their
Attempt, and given ground to suspect they had not throughly weigh'd what
the Genius of our Language would bear; nor reflected that each Tongue
has its peculiar Beauties, and that what is agreeable and natural to
one, is very often disagreeable, nay, inconsistent with another. But
that Design being now wholly exploded, it is sufficient to have
mention'd it.

Our Verses then consist in a certain Number of Syllables; but the Verses
of double Rhyme require a Syllable more than those of single Rhyme. Thus
in a Poem whose Verses consist of ten Syllables, those of the same Poem
that are accented on the last save one, which we call Verses of double
Rhyme, must have eleven; as may be seen by these Verses.

      _A Man so various that he seem'd to be
    Not one, but all Mankind's Epitome:
    Stiff in Opinion, always in the Wrong,
    Was ev'ry thing by starts, and nothing long:
    But, in the Course of one revolving Moon,
    Was Fidler, Chymist, Statesman, and Buffoon:
    Then all for Women, Painting, Rhyming, Drinking;
    Besides ten thousand Freaks that dy'd in Thinking.
    Praising and Railing were his usual Themes;
    And both, to shew his Judgment, in Extreams.
    So over-violent, or over-civil,
    That every Man with him was God or Devil._      Dryd.

Where the 4 Verses that are accented on the last save one, have 11
Syllables; the others, accented on the last, but 10.

In a Poem whose Verses consist of 8, the double Rhymes require 9, as,

      _When hard Words, Jealousies and Fears,
    Set Folks together by the Ears;
    And made 'em fight, like mad, or drunk,
    For Dame Religion, as for Punk;
    Whose Honesty they all durst swear for,
    Tho' not a Man of 'em know wherefore:
    Then did Sir Knight abandon Dwelling,
    And out he rode a Collonelling._      Hud.

In a Poem whose Verses consist of 7, the double Rhymes require 8, as,

    _All thy Verse is softer far
    Than the downy Feathers are
    Of my Wings, or of my Arrows;
    Of my Mother's Doves or Sparrows._      Cowl.

This must also be observ'd in Blank Verse; as,

    _Welcom, thou worthy Partner of my Lawrels!
    Thou Brother of my Choice! a Band more sacred
    Than Nature's brittle Tye. By holy Friendship!
    Glory and Fame stood still for thy Arrival,
    My Soul seem'd wanting of its better Half,
    And languish'd for thy Absence, like a Prophet,
    Who waits the Inspiration of his God._      Rowe.

And this Verse of _Milton_,

    _Void of all Succour and needful Comfort,_

wants a Syllable; for, being accented on the last save one, it ought to
have 11, as all the Verses, but two, of the preceeding Example have: But
if we transpose the Words thus,

    _Of Succour and all needful Comfort void,_

it then wants nothing of its due Measure, because it is accented on the
last Syllable.


_Of the several Sorts of Verses; and first of those of ten Syllables. Of
the due Observation of the Accent; and of the Pause._

Our Poetry admits for the most part but of three sorts of Verses; that
is to say, of Verses of 10, 8, or 7 Syllables: Those of 4, 6, 9, 11, 12,
and 14, are generally imploy'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 those sorts of Verses. Those of 12, and of 14 Syllables, are
frequently inserted in our Poems in Heroick Verse, and when rightly made
use of, carry a peculiar Grace with them. _See the next Section towards
the end._

The Verses of 10 Syllables, which are our Heroick, are us'd in Heroick
Poems, in Tragedies, Comedies, Pastorals, Elegies; and sometimes in

In these Verses two things are chiefly to be consider'd.

    1. The Seat of the Accent.
    2. The Pause.

For, 'tis not enough that Verses have their just Number of Syllables:
the true Harmony of them depends on a due Observation of the Accent and

The Accent is an Elevation, or a Falling of the Voice, on a certain
Syllable of a Word.

The Pause is a Rest or Stop that is made in pronouncing the Verse, and
that divides it, as it were, into two parts; each of which is call'd an
Hemistich, or Half-Verse.

But this Division is not always equal, that is to say, one of the
Half-verses does not always contain the same Number of Syllables as the
other: and this Inequality proceeds from the Seat of the Accent that is
strongest, and prevails most in the first Half-verse. For, the Pause
must be observ'd at the end of the Word where such Accent happens to
be, or at the end of the following Word.

Now in a Verse of 10 Syllables, this Accent must be either on the 2d,
4th, or 6th; which produces 5 several Pauses, that is to say, at the 3d,
4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th Syllable of the Verse; For,

When it happens to be on the 2d, the Pause will be either at the 3d, or

At the 3d, in two manners:

1. When the Syllable accented happens to be the last save one of a Word;

    _As busy--as intentive Emmets are;
    Or Cities--whom unlook'd-for Sieges scare._      Dav.

2. Or, when the Accent is on the last of a Word, and the next a
Monosyllable, whose Construction is govern'd by that on which the Accent
is; as,

    _Despise it,--and more noble Thoughts pursue._      Dryd.

When the Accent falls on the 2d Syllable of the Verse, and the last save
two of a Word, the Pause will be at the 4th; as,

    _He meditates--his absent Enemy._      Dryd.

When the Accent is on the 4th of a Verse, the Pause will be either at
the same Syllable, or at the 5th, or 6th.

At the same, when the Syllable of the Accent happens to be the last of a
Word; as,

    _Such huge Extreams--inhabit thy great Mind,
    God-like, unmov'd,--and yet, like Woman, kind._      Wall.

At the 5th in 2 manners:

1. When it happens to be the last save one of a Word; as,

    _Like bright_ Aurora--_whose refulgent Ray
    Foretells the Fervour--of ensuing Day;
    And warns the Shepherd--with his Flocks, retreat
    To leafy Shadows--from the threaten'd Heat._      Wall.

2. Or the last of the Word, if the next be a Monosyllable govern'd by
it; as,

    _So fresh the Wound is--and the Grief so vast._      Wall.

At the 6th, when the Syllable of the Accent happens to be the last save
two of a Word; as,

    _Those Seeds of Luxury,--Debate, and Pride._      Wall.

Lastly, When the Accent is on the 6th Syllable of the Verse, the Pause
will be either at the same Syllable, or at the 7th.

At the same, when the Syllable of the Accent happens to be the last of a
Word; as,

    _She meditates Revenge--resolv'd to die._      Wall.

At the 7th in two manners:

1. When it happens to be the last save one of a Word; as,

    _Nor when the War is over,--is it Peace._      Dryd.

    _Mirrors are taught to flatter,--but our Springs._      Wall.

2. Or the last of a Word, if the following one be a Monosyllable whose
Construction depends on the preceeding Word on which the Accent is; as,

    _And since he could not save her,--with her dy'd._      Dryd.

From all this it appears, that the Pause is determin'd by the Seat of
the Accent; but if the Accents happen to be equally strong, on the 2d,
4th, and 6th Syllable of a Verse, the Sense and Construction of the
Words must then guide to the Observation of the Pause: For Example; In
one of the Verses I cited as an Instance of it at the 7th Syllable,

    _Mirrors are taught to flatter, but our Springs._

The Accent is as strong on _Taught_, as on the first Syllable of
_Flatter_, and if the Pause were observ'd at the 4th Syllable of the
Verse, it would have nothing disagreeable in its Sound: as,

    _Mirrors are taught--to flatter, but our Springs
    Present th' impartial Images of things._

Which tho' it be no Violence to the Ear, yet it is to the Sense, and
that ought always carefully to be avoided in reading or in repeating of

For this Reason it is, that the Construction or Sense should never end
at a Syllable where the Pause ought not to be made; as at the 8th and 2d
in the two following Verses:

    _Bright_ Hesper _twinkles from afar:--Away
    My Kids!--for you have had a Feast to day._      Staff.

Which Verses have nothing disagreeable in their Structure but the Pause;
which in the first of them must be observ'd at the 8th Syllable, in the
2d at the 2d; and so unequal a Division can produce no true Harmony. And
for this Reason too, the Pauses at the 3d and 7th Syllables, tho' not
wholly to be condemn'd, ought to be but sparingly practis'd.

The foregoing Rules ought indispensibly to be follow'd in all our Verses
of 10 Syllables; and the observation of them, like that of right Time in
Musick, will produce Harmony; the neglect of them, Harshness and
Discord; as appears by the following Verses.

    _None think Rewards render'd worthy their Worth.
    And both Lovers, both thy Disciples were,_      Dav.

In which tho' the true Number of Syllables be observ'd, yet neither of
them have so much as the Sound of a Verse: Now their Disagreeableness
proceeds from the undue Seat of the Accent: For Example, the first of
them is accented on the 5th and 7th Syllables; but if we change the
Words, and remove the Accent to the 4th and 6th, the Verse will become
smooth and easie; as,

    _None think Rewards are equal to their Worth._

The harshness of the last of them proceeds from its being accented on
the 3d Syllable, which may be mended thus, by transposing only one Word;

    _And Lovers both, both thy Disciples were._

In like manner the following Verses,

    _To be massacred, not in Battle slain._      Blac.

    _But forc'd, harsh, and uneasie unto all._      Cowl.

    _Against the Insults of the Wind and Tide._      Blac.

    _A second Essay will the Pow'rs appease._      Blac.

    _With_ Scythians _expert in the Dart and Bow._      Dryd.

are rough, because the foregoing Rules are not observ'd in their
Structure: For Example, the first, where the Pause is at the 5th
Syllable, and the Accent on the 3d, is contrary to the Rule which says,
that the Accent that determines the Pause must be on the 2d, 4th, or 6th
Syllable of the Verse; and to mend that Verse we need only place the
Accent on the 4th, and then the Pause at the 5th will have nothing
disagreeable, as,

    _Thus to be murther'd, not in Battle slain._

The second Verse is Accented on the 3d Syllable, and the Pause is there
too; which makes it indeed the thing it expresses, forc'd, harsh, and
uneasie; it may be mended thus,

    _But forc'd and harsh, uneasie unto all._

The 3d, 4th, and 5th of those Verses, have like faults; for the Pauses
are at the 5th, and the Accent there too, which is likewise contrary to
the foregoing Rules: Now they will be made smooth and flowing, by taking
the Accent from the 5th, and removing the Seat of the Pause; as,

    _Against th' Insults both of the Wind and Tide.
    A second Trial will the Pow'rs appease.
    With_ Scythians _skilfull in the Dart and Bow._

From whence we conclude, that in all Verses of 10 Syllables, the most
prevailing Accents ought to be on the 2d, 4th, or 6th Syllables; for if
they are on the 3d, 5th, or 7th, the Verses will be rough and
disagreeable, as has been prov'd by the preceeding Instances.

In short, the wrong placing of the Accent is as great a fault in our
Versification, as false Quantity was in that of the Antients; and
therefore we ought to take equal care to avoid it, and endeavour so to
dispose the Words, that they may create a certain Melody in the Ear,
without Labour to the Tongue, or Violence to the Sense.


_Of the other Sorts of Verses that are us'd in our Poetry._

After the Verses of 10 Syllables, those of 8 are most frequent, and we
have many intire Poems compos'd in them.

In the Structure of these Verses, as well as of those of 10 Syllables,
we must take care that the most prevailing Accents be neither on the 3d
nor 5th Syllables of them.

They also require a Pause to be observ'd in pronouncing them, which is
generally at the 4th, or 5th Syllable; as,

    _I'll sing of Heroes,--and of Kings,                }
    In mighty Numbers--mighty things;                   }
    Begin, my_ Muse,--_but lo the Strings,              }
    To my great Song--rebellious prove,
    The Strings will sound--of nought but Love._      Cowl.

The Verses of 7 Syllables, which are call'd _Anacreontick_, are most
beautiful when the strongest Accent is on the 3d, and the Pause either
there, or at the 4th, as,

    _Fill the Bowl--with rosy Wine,
    Round our Temples--Roses twine;
    Crown'd with Roses--we contemn_
    Gyges _wealthy--Diadem._      Cowl.

The Verses of 9, and of 11 Syllables, are of two sorts, one is those
that are accented upon the last save one, which are only the Verses of
double Rhyme that belong to those of 8 and 10 Syllables, of which
Examples have already been given. The other is those that are accented
on the last Syllable, which are employ'd only in Compositions for
Musick, and in the lowest sort of Burlesque Poetry; the disagreeableness
of their Measure having wholly excluded them from grave and serious
Subjects. They who desire to see Examples of them, may find some
scatter'd here and there in our Masks, and Operas, and in our Burlesque
Writers. I will give but two.

    Hilas, O Hilas, _why sit we mute?
    Now that each Bird saluteth the Spring._      Wall.

    _Apart let me view then each Heavenly Fair,
    For three at a time there's no Mortal can bear._      Congr.

The Verses of 12 Syllables are truly Heroick, both in their Measure and
Sound; tho' we have no intire Works compos'd in them; and they are so
far from being a Blemish to the Poems they are in, that on the contrary,
when rightly employed, they conduce not a little to the Ornament of
them; particularly in the following Rencounters.

1. When they conclude an Episode in an Heroick Poem: Thus _Stafford_
ends his Translation of that of _Camilla_ from the 11th Æneid, with a
Verse of 12 Syllables.

    _The ling'ring Soul th' unwelcom Doom receives,
    And, murm'ring with Disdain, the beauteous Body leaves._

2. When they conclude a Triplet and full Sense together; as,

    _Millions of op'ning Mouths to Fame belong;                       }
    And every Mouth is furnish'd with a Tongue;                       }
    And round with list'ning Ears the flying Plague is hung._ Dryd.   }

And here we may observe by the way, that whenever a Triplet is made use
of in an Heroick Poem, it is a fault not to close the Sense at the end
of the Triplet, but to continue it into the next Line; as _Dryden_ has
done in his Translation of the 11th Æneid in those Lines.

    _With Olives crown'd, the Presents they shall bear,             }
    A Purple Robe, a Royal Iv'ry Chair,                             }
    And all the Marks of Sway that_ Latian _Monarchs wear,          }
    And Sums of Gold_, &c.

And in the 7th Æneid he has committed the like fault.

    _Then they, whose Mothers, frantick with their Fear,      }
    In Woods and Wilds the Flags of_ Bacchus _bear,           }
    And lead his Dances with dishevel'd Hair,                 }
    Increase the Clamour_, &c.

But the Sense is not confin'd to the Couplet, for the Close of it may
fall into the middle of the next Verse, that is the Third, and sometimes
farther off: Provided the last Verse of the Couplet exceed not the
Number of ten Syllables; for then the Sense ought always to conclude
with it. Examples of this are so frequent, that 'tis needless to give

3. When they conclude the Stanzas of Lyrick or Pindarick Odes; Examples
of which are often seen in _Dryden_, and others.

In these Verses the Pause ought to be at the 6th Syllable, as may be
seen in the foregoing Examples.

We sometimes find it, tho' very rarely, at the 7th; as,

    _That such a cursed Creature--lives so long a space._

When it is at the 4th, the Verse will be rough and hobbling: as,

    _And Midwife Time--the ripen'd Plot to Murther brought._      Dryd.

    _The Prince pursu'd--and march'd along with equal Pace._      Dryd.

In the last of which it is very apparent, that if the Sense and
Construction would allow us to make the Pause at the 6th Syllable,

    _The Prince pursu'd, and march'd--along with equal Pace._

the Verse would be much more flowing and easie.

The Verses of 14 Syllables are less frequent than those of 12; they are
likewise inserted in Heroick Poems, _&c._ and are agreeable enough when
they conclude a Triplet and Sense, and follow a Verse of 12; as,

    _For thee the Land in fragrant Flowers is drest;                  }
    For thee the Ocean smiles, and smooths her wavy Breast,      Dryd.}
    And Heav'n it self with more serene and purer Light is blest._    }

But if they follow one of 10 Syllables, the Inequality of the Measure
renders them less agreeable; as,

    _While all thy Province, Nature, I survey,                  (Dryd.}
    And sing to_ Memmius _an Immortal Lay                             }
    Of Heav'n and Earth; and every where thy wondrous Pow'r display_  }

Especially if it be the last of a Couplet only; as,

    _With Court-Informers haunts, and Royal Spies,
    Things done relates, not done she feigns, and mingles Truth with
                                                         Lies._  (Dryd.

But this is only in Heroicks; for in Pindaricks and Lyricks, Verses of
12 or 14 Syllables are frequently and gracefully plac'd, not only after
those of 12 or 10, but of any other number of Syllables whatsoever.

The Verses of 4 and 6 Syllables have nothing worth observing, and
therefore I shall content my self with having made mention of them. They
are, as I said before, us'd only in Operas, and Masks, and in Lyrick and
Pindarick Odes. Take one Example of them.

    _To rule by Love,
      To shed no Blood,
    May be extoll'd above;
      But here below,
    Let Princes know,
      'Tis fatal to be good._      Dryd.


_Several Rules conducing to the Beauty of our Versification._

Our Poetry being very much polish'd and refin'd since the Days of
_Chaucer_, _Spencer_ and the other antient Poets, some Rules which they
neglected, and that conduce very much to the Ornament of it, have been
practis'd by the best of the Moderns.

The first is, to avoid as much as possible the Concourse of Vowels,
which occasions a certain ill-sounding Gaping, call'd by the Latins
_Hiatus_; and which they thought so disagreeable to the Ear, that, to
avoid it, whenever a Word ended in a Vowel, and the next began with one,
they never, even in Prose, sounded the Vowel of the first Word, but lost
it in the Pronunciation; and it is a fault in our Poets not to do the
like, whenever our Language will admit of it.

For this Reason, the _e_ of the Particle _The_ ought always to be cut
off before the Words that begin by a Vowel; as,

    _With weeping Eyes she heard th' unwelcome News._      Dryd.

And it is a fault to make _The_ and the first Syllable of the following
word two distinct Syllables, as in this,

    _Refrain'd a while by the unwelcome Night._      Wall.

A second sort of _Hiatus_, and that ought no less to be avoided is, when
a Word that ends in a Vowel that cannot be cut off, is plac'd before one
that begins by the same Vowel, or one that has the like Sound; as,

    _Should thy Iambicks swell into a Book._      Wall.

The second Rule is, to contract the two last Syllables of the
Preterperfect Tenses of all the Verbs that will admit of it; which are
all the Regular Verbs whatsoever, except only those ending in D or T,
and DE or TE. And it is a fault to make _Amazed_ of three Syllables, and
_Loved_ of two; instead of _Amaz'd_ of two, and _Lov'd_ of one.

And the second Person of the Present and Preterperfect Tenses of all
Verbs ought to be contracted in like manner; as _thou lov'st_, for _thou
lovest_, &c.

The third Rule is, not to make use of several Words in a Verse that
begin by the same Letter; as,

    _The Court he knew to steer in Storms of State.
    He in these Miracles Design discern'd._      Dav.

Yet we find an Instance of such a Verse in _Dryden's_ Translation of the
first Pastoral of _Virgil_;

    _Till then a helpless, hopeless, homely Swain._

Which I am perswaded he left not thus through Negligence or
Inadvertency, but with design to paint in the Number and Sound of the
Words the thing he describ'd, a Shepherd in whom

    _Nec spes libertatis erat, nec cura peculi._

Now how far the Sound of the _H_ aspirate, with which three Feet of that
Verse begin, expresses the Despair of the Swain, let the Judicious
judge: I have taken notice of it only to say, that 'tis a great Beauty
in Poetry, when the Words and Numbers are so dispos'd, as by their Order
and Sound to represent the things describ'd.

The fourth is, to avoid ending a Verse by an Adjective whose Substantive
begins the following; as,

    _Some lost their quiet Rivals, some their kind
    Parents_, &c.      Dav.

Or, by a Preposition when the Case it governs begins the Verse that
follows; as,

    _The daily less'ning of our Life, shews by
    A little dying, how outright to dye._      Wall.

The fifth is, to avoid the frequent Use of Words of many Syllables,
which are proper enough in Prose, but come not into Verse without a
certain Violence altogether disagreeable; particularly those whose
Accent is on the fourth Syllable from the last; as _Undutifulness_.


_Doubts concerning the Number of Syllables of certain Words._

There is no Language whatsoever, that so often joyns several Vowels
together to make Diphthongs of them, as ours; this appears in our having
several compos'd of three different Vowels: as EAU, and EOU in
_Beauteous_: IOU in _Glorious_, UAI in _Acquaint_, &c.

Now from hence may arise some Difficulties concerning the true
Pronunciation of those Vowels: Whether they ought to be sounded
separately in two Syllables, or joyntly in one.

The antient Poets made them sometimes of two Syllables, sometimes but of
one, as the Measure of their Verse requir'd; but they are now become to
be but of one, and it is a fault to make them of two: From whence we may
draw this general Rule;

That whenever one Syllable of a Word ends in a Vowel, and the next
begins by one, provided the first of those Syllables be not that on
which the Word is accented, those two Syllables ought in Verse to be
contracted and made but one.

Thus _Beauteous_ is but two Syllables, _Victorious_ but three, and it is
a fault in _Dryden_, to make it four, as he has done in this Verse:

    _Your Arms are on the_ Rhine _victorious._

To prove that this Verse wants a Syllable of its due Measure, we need
but add one to it; as,

    _Your Arms are on the_ Rhine _victorious now._

Where tho' the Syllable _now_ be added to the Verse, it has no more than
its due number of Syllables, which plainly proves it wanted it.

But if the Accent be upon the first of these Syllables, they cannot be
contracted to make a Diphthong, but must be computed as two distinct
Syllables: Thus _Poet_, _Lion_, _Quiet_, and the like, must always be
us'd as two Syllables: _Poetry_ and the like, as three.

And it is a fault to make _Riot_, for Example, one Syllable, as _Milton_
has done in this Verse.

    _Their Riot ascends above their lofty Tow'rs._

The same Poet has in another place made use of a like Word twice in one
Verse, and made it two Syllables each time.

    _With Ruin upon Ruin, Rout on Rout._

And any Ear may discover that this last Verse has its true Measure, the
other not.

But there are some Words that may be excepted; as _Diamond_, _Violet_,
_Violent_, _Diadem_, _Hyacinth_, and perhaps some others, which, though
they are accented upon the first Vowel, are sometimes us'd but as two
Syllables; as in the following Verses,

    _From Diamond Quarries hewn, and Rocks of Gold._      Milt.

    _With Poppies, Daffadils, and Violets joyn'd._      Tate.

    _With vain, but violent Force their Darts they flung._      Cowl.

    _His Ephod, Mitre, well-cut Diadem on._      Cowl.

    _My blushing Hyacinths, and my Bays I keep._      Dryd.

Sometimes as three; as

    _A Mount of rocky Diamond did rise._      Blac.

    _Hence the blue Violet and blushing Rose._      Blac.

    _And set soft Hyacinths of Iron Blue._      Dryd.

When they are us'd but as two Syllables they suffer an Elision of one of
their Vowels, and are generally written thus, _Di'mond_, _Vi'let_, &c.

This Contraction is not always made of Syllables of the same Word only;
for the Particle _A_ being plac'd after a Word that ends in a Vowel,
will sometimes admit of the like Contraction: For Example, after the
Word _many_; as,

    _Tho' many a Victim from my Folds was bought,
    And many a Cheese to Country-Markets brought._     Dryd.

    _They many a Trophy gain'd with many a Wound._      Dav.

After _To_; as,

    _Can he to a Friend, to a Son so bloody grow._      Cowl.

After _They_; as,

    _From thee, their long-known King, they a King desire._      Cowl.

After _By_; as,

    _When we by a foolish Figure say._      Cowl.

And perhaps after some others.

There are also other Words whose Syllables are sometimes contracted,
sometimes not: as, _Bower_, _Heaven_, _Prayer_, _Nigher_, _Towards_, and
many more of the like Nature: But they generally ought to be us'd but as
one Syllable; and then they suffer an Elision of the Vowel that precedes
their final Consonant, and ought to be written thus: _Pow'r_, _Heav'n_,
_Pray'r_, _Nigh'r_, _tow'rds_.

The Termination ISM is always us'd but as one Syllable; as

    _Where griesly Schism and raging Strife appear._      Cowl.

    _And Rhumatisms I send to rack the Joynts._      Dryd.

And, indeed, considering that it has but one Vowel, it may seem absurd
to assert that it ought to be reckon'd two Syllables; yet in my Opinion,
those Verses seem to have a Syllable more than their due Measure, and
would run better if we took one from them; as,

    _Where griesly Schism, raging Strife appear.
    I Rhumatisms send to rack the Joynts._

Yet this Opinion being contrary to the constant practice of our Poets, I
shall not presume to advance it as a Rule for others to follow; but
leave it to be decided by such as are better Judges of Poetical Numbers.

The like may be said of the Terminations ASM and OSM.


_Of the Elisions that are allow'd in our Versification._

Our Verses consisting only of a certain Number of Syllables, nothing can
be of more ease, or greater use to our Poets, than the retaining or
cutting off a Syllable from a Verse, according as the measure of it
requires; and therefore it is requisite to treat of the Elisions that
are allowable in our Poetry, some of which have been already taken
notice of in the preceding Section.

By Elision, I mean the cutting off one or more Letters from a Word,
whereby two Syllables come to be contracted into one; or the taking away
an intire Syllable. Now when in a Word of more than two Syllables, which
is accented on the last save two, the Liquid R, happens to be between
two Vowels, that which precedes the Liquid admits of an Elision, Of this
nature are many Words in ANCE, ENCE, ENT, ER, OUS, and RY; as
_Temperance_, _Preference_, _Different_, _Flatterer_, _Amorous_,
_Victory_: Which are Words of three Syllables, and often us'd as such in
Verse; but they may also be contracted into two, by cutting off the
Vowel that precedes the Liquid; as _Temp'rance_, _Pref'rence_,
_Diff'rent_, _Flatt'rer_, _Am'rous_, _Vict'ry_. The like Elision is
sometimes us'd, when any of the other Liquids L, M, or N, happen to be
between two Vowels, in Words accented like the former, as _Fabulous_,
_Enemy_, _Mariner_, which may be contracted _Fab'lous_, _En'my_,
_Mar'ner_. But this is not so frequent.

Observe, that I said accented on the last save two; for if the Word be
accented on the last save one, that is to say, on the Vowel that
precedes the Liquid, that Vowel may not be cut off. And therefore it is
a fault to make, for Example, _Sonorous_ of two Syllables, as in this

    _With Son'rous Metals wak'd the drowsie Day._      Blac.

Which always ought to be of three; as in this,

    _Sonorous Metals blowing martial Sounds._      Milt.

In like manner; whenever the Letter S happens to be between two Vowels
in Words of three Syllables, accented on the first, one of the Vowels
may be cut off; as _Pris'ner_, _Bus'ness_, &c.

Or the Letter C when 'tis sounded like S; that is to say, whenever it
preceds the Vowels E or I; as _Med'cine_, for _Medicine_.

Or V Consonant; as _Cov'nant_ for _Covenant_.

To these may be added the Gerunds of all Verbs whose Infinitives end in
any of the Liquids, preceded by a Vowel or Diphthong, and that are
accented on the last save one: for the Gerunds being form'd by adding
the Syllable ING to the Infinitive, the Liquid that was their final
Letter, comes thereby to be between two Vowels; and the Accent that was
on the last save one of the Infinitive, comes to be on the last save two
of the Gerund: And therefore the Vowel or Diphthong, that precedes the
Liquid, may be cut off; by means whereof the Gerund of three Syllables
comes to be but of two, as from _Travel_, _Travelling_, or _Trav'ling_;
from _Endeavour_, _Endeavouring_, or _Endeav'ring_, &c.

But if the Accent be on the last Syllable of such a Verb, its Gerund
will not suffer such an Elision: Thus the Gerund of _Devour_ must always
be three Syllables, _Devouring_, not _Dev'ring_; because all Derivatives
still retain the Accent of their Primitives, that is, on the same
Syllable: and the Accent always obliges the Syllable on which it is, to
remain entire.

The Gerunds of the Verbs in OW, accented on the last save two, suffer an
Elision of the O that precedes the W; as _Foll'wing_, _Wall'wing_.

The Particle _It_ admits of an Elision of its Vowel before _Is_, _Was_,
_Were_, _Will_, _Would_; as _'Tis_, _'Twas_, _'Twere_, _'Twill_,
_'Twould_, for _It is_, _It was_, &c.

_It_ likewise sometimes suffers the like Elision, when plac'd after a
Word that ends in a Vowel; as _By't_ for _By it_, _Do't_ for _Do it_: Or
that ends in a Consonant after which the Letter T can be pronounc'd; as
_Was't_ for _Was it_, _In't_ for _In it_, and the like: But this is not
so frequent in Heroick Verse.

The Particle _Is_ may lose its _I_ after any Word that ends in a Vowel,
or in any of the Consonants after which the Letter S may be sounded; as
_she's_ for _she is_: The _Air's_ for the _Air is_, &c.

_To_ (sign of the Infinitive Mood) may lose its O before any Verb that
begins by a Vowel; as _T' amaze_, _t' undo_, &c.

_To_ (Sign of the Dative Case) may likewise lose its O before any Noun
that begins with a Vowel; as _t' Air_, _t' every_, _&c._ But this
Elision is not so allowable as the former.

_Are_ may lose its _A_ after the Pronouns Personal, _We_, _You_, _They_;
as _We're_, _You're_, _They're_: And thus it is that this Elision ought
to be made, and not as some do, by cutting off the final Vowels of the
Pronouns Personal; _W'are_, _Y'are_, _Th'are_.

_Will_ and _Would_ may lose all their first Letters, and retain only
their final one, after any of the Pronouns Personal; as _I'll_ for _I
will_; _He'd_ for _He would_; or after _Who_, as _who'll_ for _who
will_; _who'd_ for _who would_.

_Have_, may lose its two first Letters after _I_, _You_, _We_, _They_;
as _I've_, _You've_, _We've_, _They've_.

_Not_, its two first Letters after can; as _Can't_ for _Can not_.

_Am_, its _A_ after _I_: _I'm_ for _I am_.

_Us_, its _U_ after _Let_: _Let's_ for _Let us_.

_Taken_, its _K_, as _Ta'en_: for so it ought to be written, not

_Heaven_, _Seven_; _Even_, _Eleven_, and the Participles _Driven_,
_Given_, _Thriven_, and their Compounds, may lose their last Vowel, as
_Heav'n_, _Forgiv'n_, &c. _See the foregoing Section, p. 13._

To these may be added _Bow'r_, _Pow'r_, _Flow'r_, _Tow'r_, _Show'r_, for
_Bower_, _Power_, &c.

_Never_, _Ever_, _Over_, may lose their _V_; and are contracted thus,
_Ne'er_, _E'er_, _O'er_.

Some Words admit of an Elision of their first Syllable; as _'Tween_,
_'Twixt_, _'Mong_, _'Mongst_, _'Gainst_, _'Bove_, _'Cause_, _'Fore_, for
_Between_, _Betwixt_, _Among_, _Amongst_, _Against_, _Above_, _Because_,
_Before_. And some others that may be observ'd in reading our Poets.

I have already, in the 3d Section of this Chapter, spoken of the Elision
of the _e_ of the Particle _The_ before Vowels: But it is requisite
likewise to take notice, that it sometimes loses its Vowel before a Word
that begins by a Consonant, and then its two remaining Letters are
joyn'd to the preceding Word; as _To th' Wall_, for _To the Wall_; _By
th' Wall_, for _By the Wall_, &c. But this is scarce allowable in
Heroick Poetry.

The Particles _In_, _Of_, and _On_, sometimes lose their Consonants, and
are joyn'd to the Particle _The_ in like manner; as _i'th'_, _o'th'_,
for _in the_, _of the_.

In some of our Poets we find the Pronoun _His_ lose its two first
Letters after any Word that ends in a Vowel; as _to's_, _by's_, &c. for
_to his_, _by his_, &c. Or after many Words that end in a Consonant,
after which the Letter S can be pronounc'd; as _In's_, _for's_, for _In
his_, _for his_, &c. This is frequent in _Cowley_, who often takes too
great a Liberty in his Contractions; as _t' your_ for _to your_, _t'
which_ for _to which_, and many others; in which we must be cautious of
following his Example: But the contracting of the Pronoun _His_ in the
manner I mention'd, is not wholly to be condemn'd.

We sometimes find the Word _Who_, contracted before Words that begin by
a Vowel; as,

    _Wh' expose to Scorn and Hate both them and it._      Cowl.

And the Preposition _By_ in like manner; as,

    _B' unequal Fate, and Providence's Crime._      Dryd.

    _Well did he know how Palms b' Oppression speed._      Cowl.

And the Pronouns personal, _He_, _She_, _They_, _We_; as,

    _Timely h' obeys her wife Advice, and strait
    To unjust Force sh' opposes just Deceit._      Cowl.

    _Themselves at first against themselves th' excite._      Cowl.

    _Shame and Woe to us, if w' our Wealth obey._      Cowl.

But these and the like Contractions are very rare in our most correct
Poets, and ought indeed wholly to be avoided: For 'tis a general Rule,
that no Vowel can be cut off before another, when it cannot be sunk in
the pronunciation of it: And therefore we ought to take care never to
place a Word that begins by a Vowel, after a Word that ends in one (mute
E only excepted) unless the final Vowel of the former can be lost in its
Pronunciation: For, to leave two Vowels opening on each other, causes a
very disagreeable _Hiatus_. Whenever therefore a Vowel ends a Word, the
next ought to begin with a Consonant, or what is Equivalent to it; as
our W, and H aspirate, plainly are.

For which reason 'tis a Fault in some of our Poets to cut off the _e_ of
the Particle _The_, for Example, before a Word that begins by an H
aspirate; as

    _And th' hasty Troops march'd loud and chearful down._      Cowl.

But if the H aspirate be follow'd by another E, that of the Particle
_The_ may be cut off; As,

    _Th' Heroick Prince's Courage or his Love._      Wall.

    _Th'_ Hesperian _Fruit, and made the Dragon sleep._      Wall.


_Of Rhyme._


_What Rhyme is, and the several Sorts of it._

Rhyme is a Likeness or Uniformity of Sound in the terminations of two
Words, I say, of Sound, not of Letters; for the Office of Rhyme being to
content and please the Ear, and not the Eye, the Sound only is to be
regarded, not the Writing: Thus _Maid_ and _Perswade_, _Laugh_ and
_Quaff_, tho' they differ in Writing, rhyme very well: But _Plough_ and
_Cough_, tho' written alike, rhyme not at all.

In our Versification we may observe 3 several sorts of Rhyme; Single,
Double, and Treble.

The single Rhyme is of two sorts: One of the Words that are accented on
the last Syllable: Another, of those that have their Accent on the last
save two.

The Words accented on the last Syllable, if they end in a Consonant, or
mute E, oblige the Rhyme to begin at the vowel that precedes their last
Consonant, and to continue to the end of the Word: In a Consonant; as,

    _Here might be seen that Beauty, Wealth, and Wit,
    And Prowess, to the Pow'r of Love submit._      Dryd.

In mute E; as,

    _A Spark of Virtue by the deepest Shade
    Of sad Adversity, is fairer made._      Wall.

But if a Diphthong precede the last Consonant, the Rhyme must begin at
that Vowel of it whose Sound most prevails; as,

    _Next to the Pow'r of waking Tempests cease,
    Was in that Storm to have so calm a Peace._      Wall.

If the Words accented on the last Syllable end in any of the Vowels
except mute E, or in a Diphthong, the Rhyme is made only to that Vowel
or Diphthong. To the Vowel; as

    _So wing'd with Praise we penetrate the Sky,
    Teach Clouds and Stars to praise him as we fly._      Wall.

To the Diphthong; as,

    _So hungry Wolves, tho' greedy of their Prey,
    Stop when they find a Lion in the way._      Wall.

The other sort of single Rhyme is of the Words that have their Accent on
the last Syllable save two. And these rhyme to the other in the same
manner as the former; that is to say, if they end in any of the Vowels,
except mute E, the Rhyme is made only to that Vowel; as,

    _So seems to speak the youthful Deity;
    Voice, Colour, Hair, and all like_ Mercury.      Wall.

But if they end in a Consonant or mute E, the Rhyme must begin at the
Vowel that precedes that Consonant, and continue to the end of the Word.
As has been shewn by the former Examples.

But we must take notice, that all the Words that are accented on the
last save two, will rhyme, not only to one another, but also to all the
Words whose Terminations have the same Sound, tho' they are accented on
the last Syllable. Thus _Tenderness_ rhymes not only to _Poetess_,
_Wretchedness_, and the like, that are accented on the last save two,
but also to _Confess_, _Excess_, &c. that are accented on the last; as,

    _Thou art my Father now, these Words confess,
    That Same, and that indulgent Tenderness._      Dryd.


_Of Double and Treble Rhyme._

All Words that are accented on the last save one, require the Rhyme to
begin at the Vowel of that Syllable, and to continue to the end of the
Word; and this is what we call Double Rhyme; as,

    _Then all for Women, Painting, Rhyming, Drinking,
    Besides ten Thousand Freaks that dy'd in Thinking._      Dryd.

But it is convenient to take notice, that the ancient Poets did not
always observe this Rule, and took care only that the last Syllables of
the Words should be alike in Sound, without any regard to the Seat of
the Accent. Thus _Nation_ and _Affection_, _Tenderness_ and _Hapless_,
_Villany_ and _Gentry_, _Follow_ and _Willow_, and the like, were
allow'd as Rhymes to each other in the Days of _Chaucer_, _Spencer_, and
the rest of the Antients; but this is now become a fault in our
Versification; and these two Verses of _Cowley_ rhyme not at all.

    _A clear and lively brown was_ Merab's _Dye;
    Such as the proudest Colours might envy._

Nor these of _Dryden_.

    _Thus Air was void of Light, and Earth unstable,
    And Waters dark Abyss unnavigable._

Because we may not place an Accent on the last Syllable of _Envy_, nor
on the last save one of _unnavigable_; which nevertheless we must be
oblig'd to do, if we make the first of them rhyme to _Dye_, the last to

But we may that observe in Burlesque Poetry, it is permitted to place an
Accent upon a Syllable that naturally has none; as,

    _When Pulpit, Drum Ecclesiastick,
    Was beat with Fist instead of a Stick._

Where unless we pronounce the Particle A with a strong Accent upon it,
and make it sound like the Vowel _a_ in the last Syllable but one of
_Ecclesiastick_, the Verse will lose all its Beauty and Rhyme. But this
is allowable in Burlesque Poetry only.

Observe that these double Rhymes may be compos'd of two several Words;
provided the Accent be on the last Syllable of the first of them; as in
these Verses of _Cowley_, speaking of Gold;

    _A Curse on him who did refine it,
    A Curse on him who first did coin it._

Or some of the Verses may end in an entire word, and the Rhyme to it be
compos'd of several; as,

    _Tho' stor'd with Deletery Med'cines,
    Which whosoever took is dead since._      Hud.

The Treble Rhyme is, when in words accented on the last save two we
begin the Rhyme at the Vowel of that Syllable, and continue it to the
end of the word: Thus _Charity_ and _Parity_, _Tenderness_ and
_Slenderness_, &c., are treble Rhymes. And these too, as well as the
double, may be compos'd of several words; as,

    _There was an ancient sage Philosopher,
    That had read_ Alexander Ross _over._      Hud.

The Treble Rhyme is very seldom us'd, and ought wholly to be excluded
from serious Subjects; for it has a certain flatness, unworthy the
Gravity requir'd in Heroick Verse. In which _Dryden_ was of Opinion that
even the double Rhymes ought very cautiously to find place; and in all
his Translation of _Virgil_, he has made use of none except only in such
words as admit of a Contraction, and therefore cannot properly be said
to be double Rhymes; as _Giv'n_, _Driv'n_, _Tow'r_, _Pow'r_, and the
like. And indeed, considering their Measure is different from that of an
Heroick Verse, which consists but of 10 Syllables, they ought not to be
too frequently us'd in Heroick Poems; but they are very graceful in the
Lyrick, to which, as well as to the Burlesque, those Rhymes more
properly belong.


_Further Instructions concerning Rhyme._

The Consonants, that precede the Vowels where the Rhyme begins, must be
different in Sound, and not the same; for then the Rhyme will be too
perfect; as _Light_, _Delight_; _Vice_, _Advice_, and the like; for tho'
such Rhymes were allowable in the Days of _Spencer_ and the other old
Poets, they are not so now; nor can there be any Musick in one single
Note. _Cowley_ himself owns, that they ought not to be employed except
in Pindarick Odes, which is a sort of free Poetry, and there too very
sparingly, and not without a third Rhyme to answer to both; as,

    _In barren Age wild and inglorious lye,
        And boast of past Fertility,               }
    The poor Relief of present Poverty._      Cowl.}

Where the words _Fertility_ and _Poverty_ rhyme very well to the last
word of the first Verse, _Lye_; but cannot rhyme to each other, because
the Consonants that precede the last Vowels are the same, both in
Writing and Sound.

But this is yet less allowable if the Accent be on the Syllable of the
Rhyme; as,

    _Her Language melts Omnipotence, arrests
    His Hand, and thence the vengeful Lightning wrests._      Blac.

From hence it follows that a word cannot rhyme to it self, tho' the
signification be different; as _He Leaves_ to _the Leaves_, &c.

Nor the words that differ both in Writing and Sense, if they have the
same Sound, as _Maid_ and _Made_, _Prey_ and _Pray_, _to Bow_ and _a
Bough_: as,

    _How gawdy Fate may be in Presents_ sent,
    _And creep insensibly by Touch or_ Scent.       Oldh.

Nor a Compound to its Simple; as _Move_ to _Remove_, _Taught_ to
_Untaught_, &c.

Nor the Compounds of the same Words to one another, as _Disprove_ to
_Approve_, and the like. All which proceeds from what I said before,
_viz._ That the Consonants that precede the Vowel where the Rhyme
begins, must not be the same in Sound, but different. In all which we
vary from our Neighbours; for neither the _French_, _Italians_ not
_Spaniards_ will allow that a Rhyme can be too perfect: And we meet with
frequent Examples in their Poetry, where not only the Compounds rhyme to
their Simples, and to themselves; but even where words written and
pronounc'd exactly alike, provided they have a different Signification,
are made use of as Rhymes to one another: But this is not permitted in
our Poetry; and therefore, tho' in the two former Editions of this Book
I said that _Rhyme is only a Sameness of Sound at the End of Words_, I
have in this given it a Definition which I take to be more agreeable to
our Practice, and call'd it _a Likeness or Uniformity of Sound in the
Terminations of two Words_.

We must take care not to place a Word at the middle of a Verse that
rhymes to the last Word of it; as,

    _So young in show, as if he still should grow._

But this fault is still more inexcusable, if the second Verse rhyme to
the middle and end of the first; as,

    _Knowledge he only sought, and so soon caught,
    As if for him Knowledge had rather sought._         Cowl.

    _Here Passion sways; but there the Muse shall raise
    Eternal Monuments of louder Praise._                Wall.

Or both the middle and end of the second to the last Word of the first;

    _Farewell, she cry'd, my Sister, thou dear Part,
    Thou sweetest part of my divided Heart._         Dryd.

Where the tenderness of Expression will not attone for the Jingle.


_Of the several sorts of Poems, or Compositions in Verse._

All our Poems may be divided into two sorts; the first of those that are
compos'd in Couplets; the second are those that are compos'd in Stanzas
consisting of several Verses.


_Of the Poems compos'd in Couplets._

In the Poems compos'd in Couplets, the Rhymes follow one another, and
end at each Couplet; that is to say, the 2d Verse rhymes to the 1st, the
4th to the 3d, the 6th to the 5th, and in like manner to the end of the

The Verses employ'd in this sort of Poems, are either Verses of 10
Syllables; as,

    _Oh! could I flow like thee, and make thy Stream
    My great Example, as it is my Theme;
    The deep, yet clear tho' gentle, yet net dull;
    Strong, without Rage; without o'erflowing, full._      Denh.

Or of 8; as,

    _O fairest Piece of well-form'd Earth,
    Why urge you thus your haughty Birth;
    The Pow'r, which you have o'er us, lies
    Not in your Race, but in your Eyes.
    Smile but on me, and you shall scorn
    Henceforth to be of Princes born;
    I can describe the shady Grove,
    Where your lov'd Mother slept with_ Jove;
    _And yet excuse the faultless Dame,
    Caught with her Spouse's Shape and Name;
    Thy matchless Form will Credit bring,
    To all the Wonders I shall sing._       Wall.

Or of 7; as,

    Phillis, _why should we delay
    Pleasures shorter than the Day?
    Could we, which we never can,
    Stretch our lives beyond their Span.
    Beauty like a Shadow flies,
    and our Youth before us dies,_
    _Or would Youth and Beauty stay,
    Love has Wings, and will away.
    Love has swifter Wings than Time._       Wall.

But the second Verse of the Couplet does not always contain a like
number of Syllables with the first; as,

    _What shall I do to be for ever known,
      And make the Age to come my own?
    I shall like Beasts and common People dye,
      Unless you write my Elegy._      Cowl.


_Of the Poems compos'd in Stanzas: And first, of the Stanzas consisting
of three, and of four Verses._

In the Poems composed in Stanzas, each Stanza contains a certain number
of Verses consisting for the most part of a different number of
Syllables: And a Poem that consists of several Stanzas, we generally
call an Ode; and this is Lyrick Poetry.

But we must not forget to observe that our Antient Poets frequently made
use of intermixed Rhyme in their Heroick Poems, which they dispos'd into
Stanzas and Cantos. Thus the _Troilus_ and _Cressida_ of _Chaucer_ is
compos'd in Stanzas consisting of 7 Verses; the _Fairy Queen_ of
_Spencer_ in Stanzas of 9, _&c._ And this they took from _Italians_,
whose Heroick Poems generally consist in Stanzas of 8. But this is now
wholly laid aside, and _Davenant_, who compos'd his _Gondibert_ in
Stanzas of Verses in alternate Rhyme, was the last that followed their
Example of intermingling Rhymes in Heroick Poems.

The Stanzas employ'd in our Poetry, cannot consist of less than three,
and are seldom of more than 12 Verses, except in Pindarick Odes, where
the Stanzas are different from one another in number of Verses, as shall
be shewn.

But to treat of all the different Stanzas that are employ'd or may be
admitted in our Poetry, would be a labour no less tedious than useless;
it being easie to demonstrate, that they may be vary'd almost to an
Infinity, that would be different from one another, either in the Number
of the Verses of each Stanza, or in the Number of the Syllables of each
Verse; or lastly, in the various intermingling of the Rhyme. I shall
therefore confine my self to mention only such as are most frequently
us'd by the best of our modern Poets. And first of the Stanzas
consisting of three Verses.

In the Stanzas of three Verses, or Triplets, the Verses of each Stanza
rhyme to one another; and are either Heroick; as,

    _Nothing, thou Elder Brother e'en to shade!                  }
    Thou hadst a Being e'er the World was made.                  }
    And, (well-fix'd) art alone of ending not afraid._      Roch.}

Or else they consist of 8 Syllables; as these of _Waller_, _Of a fair
Lady playing with a Snake_.

    _Strange that such Horrour and such Grace              }
    Should dwell together in one Place,                    }
    A Fury's Arm, an Angel's Face,_                        }

Nor do the Verses of these Stanzas always contain a like number of
Syllables; for the first and third may have ten, the second but eight;

    _Men without Love have oft so cunning grown,                 }
      That something like it they have shewn,                    }
    But none who had it, ev'r seem'd to have none.               }
    Love's of a strangely open, simple kind,                     }
      Can no Arts or Disguises find,                             }
    But thinks none sees it, 'cause it self is blind._      Cowl.}

In the Stanzas of 4 Verses, the Rhyme may be intermix'd in two different
manners; for either the 1st and 3d Verse may rhyme to each other, and by
consequence the 2d and 4th, and this is call'd Alternate Rhyme; or the
1st and 4th may rhyme, and by consequence the 2d and 3d.

But there are some Poems in Stanzas of four Verses, where the Rhymes
follow one another, and the Verses differ in number of syllables only;
as in _Cowley's_ Hymn to the Light, which begins thus,

    _First born of_ Chaos! _who so fair didst come
      From the old Negro's darksom Womb:
      Which, when it saw the lovely Child,
    The melancholy Mass put on kind Looks and smil'd._

But these Stanzas are generally in Alternate Rhyme, and the Verses
consist either of 10 Syllables; as,

    _She ne'er saw Courts, but Courts could have undone
      With untaught Looks and an unpractis'd Heart:
    Her Nets the most prepar'd could never shun;
      For Nature spread them in the scorn of Art._       Dav.

Or of 8; as,

    _Had_ Echo _with so sweet a Grace,_
      Narcissus _loud Complaints return'd:
    Not for Reflexion of his Face,
      But of his Voice the Boy had burn'd._     Wall.

Or of 10 and 8. that is to say, the 1st and 3d of 10; the 2d and 4th of
8; as,

    _Love from Time's Wings has stol'n the Feathers sure,
      He has, and put them to his own;
    For Hours of late as long as Days endure.
      And very Minutes Hours are grown._      Cowl.

Or of 8 and 6 in the like manner; as,

    _Then ask not Bodies doom'd to dye,
      To what Abode they go;
    Since Knowledge is but Sorrow's Spy,
      'Tis better not to know._      Dav.

Or of 7; as,

    _Not the silver Doves that fly,
      Yoak'd in_ Cytherea's _Car;
    Nor the Wings that lift so high,
      And convey her Son so far;_

    _Are so lovely sweet and fair,
      Or do more ennoble Love;
    Are so choicely match'd a Pair,
      Or with more consent do move._      Wall.

_Note_, That it is absolutely necessary that both the Construction and
Sense should end with the Stanza, and not fall into the beginning of the
following one, as it does in the last Example, which is a fault wholly
to be avoided.


_Of the Stanzas of Six Verses._

The Stanzas of 6 Verses, are generally only one of the before-mention'd
Quadrans or Stanzas of 4 Verses, with two Verses at the end that rhyme
to one another; as,

    _A Rural Judge dispos'd of Beautie's Prize,
      A simple Shepherd was prefer'd to_ Jove;
    _Down to the Mountains from the partial Skies
      Came_ Juno, Pallas, _and the Queen of Love,
    To plead for that which was so justly giv'n
    To the bright_ Carlisle _of the Courts of Heav'n._      Wall.

Where the 4 first Verses are only a Quadran, and consist of 10 Syllables
each in Alternate Rhyme.

The following Stanza in like manner is compos'd of a Quadran, whose
Verses consist of 8 Syllables; and to which 2 Verses that rhyme to one
another are added at the end; as,

    _Hope waits upon the flowry Prime,
      And Summer, tho' it be less gay,
    Yet is not look'd on as a time
      Of Declination and Decay,
    For with a full Hand that does bring
    All that was promised by the Spring._    Wall.

Sometimes the Quadran ends the Stanza; and the two Lines of the same
Rhyme begin it; as,

    _Here's to thee_, Dick, _this whining Love despise:
    Pledge me, my Friend, and drink till thou be'st wise.
      It sparkles brighter far than she;
        'Tis pure and right without Deceit;
    And such no Woman e'er can be;
      No, they are all Sophisticate._      Cowl.

Or as in these, where the first and last Verses of the Stanza consist of
10 Syllables;

    _When Chance or cruel Bus'ness parts us two,
      What do our Souls, I wonder, do?
      While Sleep does our dull Bodies tie,
      Methinks at home they should not stay
      Content with Dreams, but boldly fly
    Abroad, and meet each other half the way._      Cowl.

Or as in the following Stanza, where the 4th and 5th Verses rhyme to
each other, and the 3d and 6th;

      _While what I write I do not see,
    I dare thus ev'n to you write Poetry,
    Ah foolish Muse! that dost so high aspire,
      And know'st her Judgment well,
      How much it does thy Pow'r excell;
    Yet dar'st be read by thy just Doom the Fire._      Cowl.
                                    (Written in Juice of Lemon.

But in some of these Stanzas, the Rhymes follow one another; as,

      _Take heed, take heed, thou lovely Maid,
      Nor be by glitt'ring Ills betray'd:
    Thy self for Money! Oh! let no Man know
      The Price of Beauty fall'n so low:
      What dangers oughtst thou not to dread
    When Love that's blind, is by blind Fortune led?_      Cowl.

Lastly, some of these Stanzas are compos'd of 2 Triplets; as,

    _The Lightning, which tall Oaks oppose in vain,
      To strike sometimes does net disdain
      The humble Furzes of the Plain.
      She being so high, and I so low,
      Her Pow'r by this does greater show,
    Who at such Distance gives so sure a Blow._      Cowl.


_Of the Stanzas of 8 Verses._

I have already said, that the _Italians_ compose their Heroick Poems in
Stanzas of 8 Verses, where the Rhyme is dispos'd as follows; the 1st,
2d, and 5th Verses rhyme to one another, and the 2d, 4th, and 6th, the
two last always rhyme to each other. Now our Translators of their
Heroick Poems have observ'd the same Stanza and Disposition of Rhyme; of
which take the following Example from _Fairfax's_ Translation of
_Tasso's Goffredo_, _Cant._ 1. _Stan._ 3d.

    _Thither thou know'st the World is best inclin'd,
      Where luring_ Parnass _most his Beams imparts;
    And Truth convey'd in Verse of gentlest kind,
      To read sometimes, will move the dullest Hearts;
    So we, if Children young diseas'd we find,
      Anoint with Sweets the Vessel's foremost parts,
    To make them taste the Potions sharp we give;
    They drink deceiv'd, and so deceiv'd they live._

But our Poets seldom imploy this Stanza in Compositions of their own;
where the following Stanzas of 8 Verses are most frequent.

      _Some others may with safety tell
      The mod'rate Flames which in them dwell;
      And either find some Med'cine there,
      Or cure themselves ev'n by Despair:
      My Love's so great, that it might prove
      Dang'rous to tell her that I love.
    So tender is my Wound, it cannot bear
    Any Salute, tho' of the kindest Air._      Cowl.

Where the Rhymes follow one another, and the six first Verses consist of
8 Syllables each, the two last of 10.

We have another sort of Stanza of 8 Verses, where the 4th rhymes to the
1st, the 3d to the ad, and the four last are two Couplets; and where the
1st, 4th, 6th and 8th, are of 10 Syllables each, the 4 others but of 8;

    _I've often wish'd to love: What shall I do?
    Me still the cruel Boy does spare;
      And I a double Task must bear,
    First to wooe him, and then a Mistress too.
      Come at last, and strike for shame,
    If thou art any thing besides a Name;
      I'll think thee else no God to be,
    But Poets, rather, Gods, who first created thee._      Cowl.

Another, when the 2 first and 2 last Verses consist of 10 Syllables
each, and rhyme to one another, the 4 other but of 8 in alternate Rhyme.

    _Tho' you be absent hence, I needs must say,
    The Trees as beauteous are, and Flowers as gay,
      As ever they were wont so be:
      Nay the Birds rural Musick too
      Is as melodious and free,
      As if they sung to pleasure you.
    I saw a Rose-bud ope this Morn; I'll swear
    The blushing Morning open'd not more fair._      Cowl.

Another where the 4 first Verses are two Couplets, the 4 last in
alternate Rhyme; as in _Cowley's_ Ode, _Of a Lady that made Posies for

    _I little thought the time would ever be,
    That I should Wit in dwarfish Posies see.
      As all Words in few Letters live,
      Thou to few Words all Sense dost give.
      'Twas Nature taught you this rare Art,
      In such a Little Much to shew;
      Who all the Good she did impart
    To Womankind, epitomis'd in you._


_Of the Stanzas of 10 and of 12 Verses._

The Stanzas of 10 and 12 Verses are seldom employed in our Poetry, it
being very difficult to confine our selves to a certain Disposition of
Rhyme, and measure of Verse, for so many Lines together; for which
Reason those of 4, 6, and 8 Verses are the most frequent. However we
sometimes find some of 10 and 12; as in _Cowley's_ Ode which he calls
_Verses left upon a Wager_, where the Rhymes follow one another, but the
Verses differ in Number of Syllables.

    _As seen hereafter will I Wagers lay
        'Gainst what an Oracle shall say:
      Fool that I was to venture to deny
        A Tongue so us'd to Victory.
    A Tongue so blest by Nature and by Art,
    That never yet it spoke, but gain'd a Heart.
        Tho' what you said had not been true,
        If spoke by any else but you;
        Your Speech will govern Destiny,
      And Fate will change, rather than you shall lye._      Cowl.

The same Poet furnishes us with an Example of a Stanza of 12 Verses in
the Ode he calls the _The Prophet_, where the Rhymes are observ'd in the
same manner as in the former Example.

    _Teach me to Love! Go teach thy self more Wit:
      I chief Professor am of it.
    Teach Craft to_ Scots, _and Thrift to_ Jews,
      _Teach Boldness to the Stews.
    In tyrants Courts teach supple Flattery,
    Teach_ Jesuits _that have travell'd far, to lye.
      Tenth Fire to burn, and Winds to blow,
      Teach restless Fountains how to flow,
      Teach the dull Earth fixt to abide,
    Teach Womankind Inconstancy and Pride.
    See if your Diligence there will useful prove;
      But, prithee teach not me to Love._


_Of the Stanzas that consist of an odd Number of Verses._

We have also Stanzas that consist of odd numbers of Verses, as of 5, 7,
9, and 11; in all which it of necessity follows, that three Verses of
the Stanza rhyme to one another, or that one of them be a blank Verse.

In the Stanzas of 5 Verses, the 1st and 3d may rhyme, and the 2d and two
last; as,

    _Sees not my Love how Time resumes
    The Beauty which he lent these Flow'rs:
    Tho' none should taste of their Perfumes,
    Yet they must live but some few Hours:
      Time what we forbear, devours._      Wall.

Which is only a Stanza of 4 Verses in alternate Rhyme, to which a 5th
Verse is added that rhymes to the 2d and 4th.

See also an Instance of a Stanza of 5 Verses where the Rhymes are
intermix'd in the same manner as the former, but the 1st and 3d Verses
are composed but of 4 Syllables each.

      _Go lovely Rose,
    Tell her that wastes her Time and me,
      That now she knows,
    When I resemble her to thee,
    How sweet and fair she seems to be._      Wall.

In the following Example the two first Verses rhyme, and the three last.

      _'Tis well, 'tis well with them, said I,
    Whose short-liv'd Passions with themselves can dye.
      For none can be unhappy, who
      'Midst all his Ills a Time does know,
    The ne'er so long, when he shall not be so._      Cowl.

In this Stanza, the 2 first and the last, and the 3d and 4th rhyme to
one another.

      _It is enough, enough of time and pain
        Hast thou consum'd in vain:
      Leave, wretched Cowley, leave,
      Thy self with Shadows to deceive.
    Think that already lost which than must never gain._      Cowl.

The Stanzas of 7 Verses are frequent enough in our Poetry, especially
among the Ancients, who compos'd many of their Poems in this sort of
Stanza: See an Example of one of them taken from _Spencer_ in _The
Ruines of Time_, where the 1st and 3d Verses rhyme to one another, the
2d, 4th and 5th, and the two last.

    _But Fame with Golden Wings aloft doth fly
      Above the reach of ruinous Decay,
    And with brave Plumes does beat the Azure Sky,
      Admir'd of base-born Men from far away:
      Then whoso will with virtuous Deeds essay
    To mount to Heaven, on_ Pegasus _must ride,
    And in sweet Poets Verse be glorify'd._

I have rather chosen to take notice of this Stanza, because that Poet
and _Chaucer_ have made use of it in many of their Poems, tho' they have
not been follow'd in it by any of the Moderns: whose Stanza's of 7
Verses are generally compos'd as follows.

Either the four first Verses are a Quadran in Alternate Rhyme, and the
three last rhyme to one another; as,

    _Now by my Love, the greatest Oath that is,
      None loves you half so well as I;
      I do not ask your Love for this,
    But for Heaven's sake believe me, or I dye.
      No Servant sure but did deserve
    His Master should believe that he did serve;
    And I'll ask no more Wages tho' I starve._      Cowl.

Or the four first are two Couplets, and the three last a Triplet; as,

        _Indeed I must confess
      When Souls mix 'tis a Happiness,
    But not compleat till Bodies too combine,
    And closely as our Minds together joyn.
    But Half of Heav'n the Souls in Glory taste,
      'Till by Love in Heav'n at last,
        Their Bodies too are plac'd._      Cowl.

Or, on the contrary, the three first may rhyme, and the four last be in
Rhymes that follow one another; as,

      _From Hate, Fear, Hope, Anger, and Envy free,
      And all the Passions else that be,
      In vain I boast of Liberty:
      In vain this State a Freedom call,
      Since I have Love; and Love is all.
    Sot that I am! who think it fit to brag
    That I have no Disease besides the Plague._      Cowl.

Or the 1st may rhyme to the two last, the 2d to the 5th, and the 3d and
4th to one another; as,

    _In vain thou drowsie God I thee invoke,
      For thou who dost from Fumes arise,
      Then who Man's Soul do'st overshade
      With a Thick Cloud by Vapours made,
        Canst have no Pow'r to shut his Eyes,
      Or passage of his Spirits to choak,
    Whose Flame's so pure, that it sends up no smoke._      Cowl.

Or lastly, the four first and two last may be in following Rhyme, and
the 5th a Blank Verse; as,

    _Thou robb'st my Days of Bus'ness and Delights,
        Of Sleep thou robb'st my Nights:
      Ah lovely Thief! what wilt thou do?
        What, rob me of Heav'n too!
      Thou ev'n my Prayers dost from me steal,
        And I with wild Idolatry
      Begin to God, and end them all to thee._      Cowl.

The Stanzas of 9 and of 11 Syllables are not so frequent as those of 5
and of 7. _Spencer_ has composed his _Fairy Queen_ in Stanzas of 9
Verses, where the 1st rhymes to the 3d, the 2d to the 4th 5th and 7th;
and the 6th to the two last. But this Stanza is very difficult to
maintain, and the unlucky choice of it reduc'd him often to the
necessity of making use of many exploded Words; nor has he, I think,
been follow'd in it by any of the Moderns; whose 6 first Verses of the
Stanzas that consist of 9, are generally in Rhymes that follow one
another, and the three last a Triplet; as,

      _Beauty, Love's Scene and Masquerade,
    So well by well-plac'd Lights, and Distance made;
    False Coin! with which th' Impostor cheats us still,
    The Stamp and Colour good, but Metal ill:
      Which light or base we find, when we
    Weigh by Enjoyment, and examine thee.
      For tho' thy Being be but Show,
    'Tis chiefly Night which Men to thee allow,
    And chuse t' enjoy thee, when thou least art thou._      Cowl.

In the following Example the like Rhyme is observ'd, but the Verses
differ in Measure from the former.

      _Beneath this gloomy Shade,
    By Nature only for my Sorrows made,
      I'll spend this Voice in Cries;
      In Tears I'll waste these Eyes,
      By Love so vainly fed:
    So Lust of old, the Deluge punished.
      Ah wretched Youth! said I;
    Ah wretched Youth! twice did I sadly cry;
    Ah wretched Youth! the Fields and Floods reply._      Cowl.

The Stanzas consisting of 11 Verses are yet less frequent than those of
9, and have nothing particular to be observ'd in them. Take an Example
of one of them, where the 6 first are 3 Couplets, the three next a
Triplet, the two last a Couplet; and where the 4th, the 7th, and the
last Verses are of 10 Syllables each, the others of 8.

      _No, to what purpose should I speak?
      No, wretched Heart, swell till you break;
      She cannot love me if she would;
    And, to say Truth, 'twere pity that she should.
      No, to the Grave thy Sorrows bear,
      As silent as they will be there:
    Since that lov'd Hand this mortal Wound does give,
      So handsomely the thing contrive,
      That she may guiltless of it live:
      So perish, that her killing thee
    May a Chance-medley, and no Murther be._      Cowl.


_Of Pindarick Odes, and Poems in Blank Verse._

The Stanzas of Pindarick Odes are neither confin'd to a certain number
of Verses, nor the Verses to a certain number of Syllables, nor the
Rhyme to a certain Distance. Some Stanzas contain 50 Verses or more,
others not above 10, and sometimes not so many: Some Verses 14, nay, 16
Syllables, others not above 4: Sometimes the Rhymes follow one another
for several Couplets together, sometimes they are remov'd 6 Verses from
each other; and all this in the same Stanza. _Cowley_ was the first who
introduc'd this sort of Poetry into our Language: Nor can the nature of
it be better describ'd than as he himself has done it, in one of the
Stanzas of his Ode upon _Liberty_, which I will transcribe, not as an
Example, for none can properly be given where no Rule can be prescrib'd,
but to give an Idea of the Nature of this sort of Poetry.

    _If Life should a well-order'd Poem be,
      In which he only hits the White,
      Who joyns true Profit with the best Delight;
    The more Heroick Strain let others take,
      Mine the Pindarick way I'll make:
    The Matter shall be grave, the Numbers loose and free,
    It shall not keep one settled pace of Time,
    In the same Tune it shall not always Chime,
    Nor shall each day just to his Neighbour rhyme.
    A thousand Liberties it shall dispence,
    And yet shall manage all without offence,
    Or to the sweetness of the Sound, or Greatness of the Sense._
    _Nor shall it never from one Subject start,
      Nor seek Transitions to depart;
    Nor its set way o'er Stiles and Bridges make,
      Nor thro' Lanes a Compass take,
    As if it fear'd some Trespass to commit,
      When the wide Air's a Road for it.
    So the Imperial Eagle does not stay
      Till the whole Carcass he devour,
      That's fall'n into his Pow'r,
    As if his gen'rous Hunger understood,
    That he can never want plenty of Food;
      He only sucks the tastful Blood,
    And to fresh Game flies chearfully away,
    To Kites and meaner Birds he leaves the mangled Prey._

This sort of Poetry is employed in all manner of Subjects; in Pleasant,
in Grave, in Amorous, in Heroick, in Philosophical, in Moral, and in

Blank Verse is where the Measure is exactly kept without Rhyme;
_Shakespear_, to avoid the troublesome Constraint of Rhyme, was the
first who invented it; our Poets since him have made use of it in many
of their Tragedies and Comedies: but the most celebrated Poem in this
kind of Verse is _Milton's Paradise Lost_; from the 5th Book of which I
have taken the following Lines for an Example of Blank Verse.

    _These are thy glorious Works, Parent of Good!
    Almighty! thine this universal Frame,
    Thus wondrous fair! thy self how wondrous then!
    Speak you, who best can tell, ye Sons of Light,
    Angels! for you behold him, and with Songs,
    And Choral Symphonies, Day without Night
    Circle his Throne rejoycing, you in Heaven.
    On Earth! joyn all ye Creatures, to extol
    Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
    Fairest of Stars! last in the Train of Night,
    Is better thou belong not to the Dawn,
    Sure Pledge of Day, that crown'st the smiling Morn,
    With thy bright Circlet, praise him in thy Sphere,
    While Day arises, that sweet Hour of Prime!
    Thou Sun! of this great World, both Eye and Soul,
    Acknowledge him thy Greater, sound his Praise
    In thy Eternal Course, both when thou climb'st
    And when high Noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.
    Moon! that now meet'st the Orient Sun, now fly'st
    With the fix'd Stars, fix'd in their Orb that flies,
    And ye five other wandring Fires! that move
    In Mystick Dance, not without Song, resound_
    _His Praise, who out of Darkness call'd up Light.
    Air! and ye Elements! the eldest Birth
    Of Nature's Womb, that in Quaternion run
    Perpetual Circle multiform, and mix
    And nourish all things; let your ceaseless Change
    Vary to our great Maker still new Praise.
    To Mists and Exhalations! that now rise
    From Hill or steaming Lake, dusky or grey,
    Till the sun paint your fleecy Skirts with Gold,
    In Honour to the World's great Author rise;
    Whether to deck with Clouds th' uncolour'd Sky,
    Or wet the thirsty Earth with falling Showr's,
    Rising or falling, still advance his Praise.
    His Praise, ye Winds! that from four Quarters blow,
    Breathe soft or loud; and wave your Tops, ye Pines!
    With ev'ry Plant, in sign of Worship, wave.
    Fountains! and ye that warble as you flow
    Melodious Murmurs, warbling tune his Praise.
    Join Voices all ye living Souls, ye Birds!
    That singing, up to Heav'n's high Gate ascend,
    Bear on your Wings, and in your Notes his Praise.
    Ye that in Waters glide! and ye that walk
    The Earth! and stately tread, or lowly creep;
    Witness if I be silent, Ev'n or Morn,
    To Hill or Valley, Fountain or fresh Shade,
    Made vocal by my Song, and taught his Praise._

Thus I have given a short Account of all the sorts of Poems, that are
most us'd in our Language. The Acrosticks, Anagrams, _&c._ deserve not
to be mention'd, and we may say of them what an Ancient Poet said long

    _Stultum est difficiles habere Nugas,
    Et stultus Labor est ineptiarum._


       *       *       *       *       *


First Year (1946-47)

Numbers 1-6 out of print.

Second Year (1947-1948)

7. John Gay's _The Present State of Wit_ (1711); and a section on Wit
from _The English Theophrastus_ (1702).

8. Rapin's _De Carmine Pastorali_, translated by Creech (1684).

9. T. Hanmer's (?) _Some Remarks on the Tragedy of Hamlet_ (1736).

10. Corbyn Morris' _Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit,
etc._ (1744).

11. Thomas Purney's _Discourse on the Pastoral_ (1717).

12. Essays on the Stage, selected, with an Introduction by Joseph Wood

Third Year (1948-1949)

13. Sir John Falstaff (pseud.), _The Theatre_ (1720).

14. Edward Moore's _The Gamester_ (1753).

15. John Oldmixon's _Reflections on Dr. Swift's Letter to Harley_
(1712); and Arthur Mainwaring's _The British Academy_ (1712).

16. Nevil Payne's _Fatal Jealousy_ (1673).

17. Nicholas Rowe's _Some Account of the Life of Mr. William
Shakespeare_ (1709).

18. "Of Genius," in _The Occasional Paper_, Vol. III, No. 10 (1719); and
Aaron Hill's Preface to _The Creation_ (1720).

Fourth Year (1949-1950)

19. Susanna Centlivre's _The Busie Body_ (1709).

20. Lewis Theobold's _Preface to The Works of Shakespeare_ (1734).

21. _Critical Remarks on Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa, and Pamela_

22. Samuel Johnson's _The Vanity of Human Wishes_ (1749) and Two
_Rambler_ papers (1750).

23. John Dryden's _His Majesties Declaration Defended_ (1681).

24. Pierre Nicole's _An Essay on True and Apparent Beauty in Which from
Settled Principles is Rendered the Grounds for Choosing and Rejecting
Epigrams_, translated by J. V. Cunningham.

Fifth Year (1950-51)

25. Thomas Baker's _The Fine Lady's Airs_ (1709).

26. Charles Macklin's _The Man of the World_ (1792).

27. Frances Reynolds' _An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Taste,
and of the Origin of Our Ideas of Beauty, etc._ (1785).

28. John Evelyn's _An Apologie for the Royal Party_ (1659); and _A
Panegyric to Charles the Second_ (1661).

29. Daniel Defoe's _A Vindication of the Press_ (1718).

30. Essays on Taste from John Gilbert Cooper's _Letters Concerning
Taste_, 3rd edition (1757), & John Armstrong's _Miscellanies_ (1770).

Sixth Year (1951-1952)

31. Thomas Gray's _An Elegy Wrote in a Country Church Yard_ (1751); and
_The Eton College Manuscript_.

32. Prefaces to Fiction; Georges de Scudéry's Preface to _Ibrahim_
(1674), etc.

33. Henry Gally's _A Critical Essay_ on Characteristic-Writings (1725).

34. Thomas Tyers' A Biographical Sketch of Dr. Samuel Johnson (1785).

35. James Boswell, Andrew Erskine, and George Dempster. _Critical
Strictures on the New Tragedy of Elvira, Written by Mr. David Malloch_

36. Joseph Harris's _The City Bride_ (1696).

37. Thomas Morrison's _A Pindarick Ode on Painting_ (1767).

38. John Phillips' _A Satyr Against Hypocrites_.

39. Thomas Warton's _A History of English Poetry_.

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: University of California


    _General Editors_

    H. Richard Archer
    Wm. Andrews Clark Memorial Library

    R. C. Boys
    University of Michigan

    Ralph Cohen
    University of California, Los Angeles

    Vinton A. Dearing
    University of California, Los Angeles

    _Corresponding Secretary_: Mrs. Edna C. Davis, Wm. Andrews Clark
    Memorial Library

The Society exists to make available inexpensive reprints (usually
facsimile reproductions) of rare seventeenth and eighteenth century
works. The editorial policy of the Society remains unchanged. As in the
past, the editors welcome suggestions concerning publications. All
income of the Society is devoted to defraying cost of publication and

All correspondence concerning subscriptions in the United States and
Canada should be addressed to the William Andrews Clark Memorial
Library, 2205 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles 18, California.
Correspondence concerning editorial matters may be addressed to any of
the general editors. The membership fee is $3.00 a year for subscribers
in the United States and Canada and 15/- for subscribers in Great Britain
and Europe. British and European subscribers should address B. H.
Blackwell, Broad Street, Oxford, England.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Publications for the seventh year [1952-1953]

    (At least six items, most of them from the following list, will be

_Selections from the Tatler, the Spectator, the Guardian._ Introduction
by Donald F. Bond.

Bernard Mandeville: _A Letter to Dion_ (1732). Introduction by Jacob

M. C. Sarbiewski: _The Odes of Casimire_ (1646). Introduction by
Maren-Sofie Roestvig.

_An Essay on the New Species of Writing Founded by Mr. Fielding_ (1751).
Introduction by James A. Work.

[Thomas Morrison]: _A Pindarick Ode on Painting_ (1767). Introduction by
Frederick W. Hilles.

[John Phillips]: _Satyr Against Hypocrits_ (1655). Introduction by Leon

_Prefaces to Fiction._ Second series. Selected with an introduction by
Charles Davies.

Thomas Warton: _A History of English Poetry: An Unpublished
Continuation._ Introduction by Rodney M. Baine.

Publications for the first six years (with the exception of NOS. 1-6,
which are out of print) are available at the rate of $3.00 a year.
Prices for individual numbers may be obtained by writing to the Society.

       *       *       *       *       *



    2205 West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles 18, California

Make check or money order payable to The Regents of the University of

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

The main text dates from the 18th Century, when English spelling had not
yet been normalised. Only the following obvious typos have been amended:

On title page of the main text, "THOUHGTS" amended to "THOUGHTS".

P. 1, "&c, yet the" amended to "&c., yet the".

P. 5, "2 Or the last ..." amended to "2. Or the last ..."

Also on P. 5, "Dry'd" amended to "Dryd.", and a missing period added
after "Staff".

P. 6, After "In like manner the following Verses" the period has been
amended to a comma.

P. 16, comma added after "W'are".

P. 20, "&cc," amended to "&c.," in "&c., are treble Rhymes".

P. 23, after "Or of 8; as", a comma has been added.

P. 33, "last" amended to "last." in "to the two last."

P. 34, "descib'd" amended to "describ'd" in "be better describ'd".

P. 36, "onr" amended to "our" in "most us'd in our Language".

In the Preface, the French phrase "consiste qu'en vn [typo for un?]
certain nombre de syllabes, & non pas en pieds composez [composés] de
syllabes" has been left unchanged.

Also in the Preface, in the quote from Boileau, missing accents have not
been supplied in "Il doit regner par tout; & meme dans la Fable".

On P. 13, "Bower" should match "Pow'r" a few lines further on. Not
amended as it is not clear whether "Bower" and "Bow'r" or "Power" and
"Pow'r" was intended.

The one example of [oe], "Maren-Sofie Roestvig" on the final page, has
been changed to oe.

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