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* This alludes to the painted effiges of Alabaster, anciently ere&ted upon Sambs and monuments.

THE END OF THE SECOND BOOK.

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R E L I DU E S
OF ANCIENT POETRY,

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THE COMPLAINT OF CONSCIENCE. I mall begin this THIRD Book with an old allegoric Satire : A manner of moralizing, which, if it was not firft introduced by the author of PIERCE PLOWMAN'S VISIONS, was at least chiefly brought into repute by that ancient

fatirift. It is not so generally known that the kind of verse ufed in this ballad hath any affinity with the peculiar metre of that writer, for which reason I fall throw together fome cursory remarks on that very singular species of versification, the nature of which has been so litile understood.

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alliterative mi

ON THE

Metre

/withoutke

Pierce PLOWMAN'S VISIONS.

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We learn from W'ormius (a), that the ancient Islandic poets used a great variety of measures : he mentions 136 different kinds, without including RHYME, or a cor

refpondence of final fyllables : yet this was occasionally 1. uíed, as appears from the Ode of Egil, which Wormius hath inserted in his book.

He hath analysed the structure of one of these kinds verse, the harmony of which neither depended on the quantity of the syllables, like that of the ancient Greeks and Romans; unor on the rhymes at the end, as in modern poetry; but confitted altogether in alliteration, or a cerrain artful repetition of the founds in the middle of the verses. This was adjuted according to certain rules of their prosody, one of which was, that every diftich should contain at least three words beginning with the same less ter or sound. Tivo of these correspondent Counds might be placed either in the first or fecond line of the distich, and one in the other: but all three were not regularly to be crowded into one line. This wil be bett underfood by the following examples (b).

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There were many other little niceties observed by the Jandic poets, who as they retained their original language and peculiarities longer than the other nations of

Gothic

(a) Literatura Runica. Hafniæ 1636. 460.--1651. fol. The LLANDIC language is of the lam: origin as our ANGLOJAKS, being both dialects of the ancint GOTHIC or TEUTONic. Viü. iiitkefi Prefat. in Granma. Aneby S.xon, & M. Goth. 400, 1589.

{t) Vid Hick: Antiq. Lit"., Septeffional. Tom. I. p.217.

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moefo-Goth).

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