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for, soon after the conquest, Rhyme became almost universal.

About this time, Gower, Chaucer and others, set the example of regular versification. Rhyme was, by them, considered of chief importance; while Alliteration was either wholly neglected or introduced only as an occasional ornament; and such, except in a few sports of fancy, has ever since been the general relation between those two adjuncts to English Verse. Nevertheless, as an ornament, Alliteration has never been lost sight of by those who knew its value; for, if not affectedly obtruded, it adds to the melody of verse. We might produce numerous examples, from almost every classic writer, in which this echoing of letters has a pleasing effect, even when used in excess. Thus, in Spencer:

“ And other whiles, with amorous delights,

And pleasing toyes he would her entertaine,
Now singing sweetly, to surprise her sprights,
Now making layes of loue and louers paine,
Bransles, ballads, virelayes, and verses vaine."

Faerie Queene.

The Alliterations of the more modern poets are usually managed so as not to appear promi

nent; yet, in the most guarded, we often discover marks of design; as in the following lines of Goldsmith:

“ Yet would the village praise my wond'rous power,

And dance forgetful of the noon-tide hour:
Alike all ages. Dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the mirthful maze;
And the gay grandsire, skill'd in gestic lore,
Has frisk'd beneath the burden of threescore."

Traveller,

The Poems of Cunningham are alliterative to satiety. In his “Elegy on a Pile of Ruins,” the echo of letters is unbounded, and such as would be unpardonable in any piece of inferior merit. The whole is an arena, in every quarter of which, Sound and Sense are struggling for the mastery. Speaking of the devastation of Time, the Poet expresses himself thus:

“ Yet the hoar tyrant, though not mov'd to spare,

Relented, when he struck its finish'd pride;
And, partly the rude ravage to repair,

The tottering towers with twisted ivy tied.”

And alluding to the ancient Lord of Roslin Castle:

Though to the clouds his castle seem'd to climb,

And frown'd defiance on the desperate foe;

Though deem'd invincible, the conqueror Time

Levell’d the fabric, as the founder, low.

Where the light lyre gave many a softening sound,

Ravens and rooks, the birds of discord, dwell; And, where society sat sweetly crown's,

Eternal solitude has fix'd her cell."

206

CHAPTER XIV.

OF THE DIFFERENT Species of Verse.

With different lengths of verse, and various combinations of stanza, rhyming terminations continued to be indispensable for nearly two hundred years after the age of Chaucer, when the unfortunate Howard, Earl of Surrey, translated the second and fourth Books of Virgil's Eneid into Blank Verse,-that is, Verse without Rhyme. This translation was printed in 1557; four years after that of Gawm Douglas. The ten-syllable verse, chosen by Howard, had been long in use; but, we believe, he was the first who freed it from its rhyming chain, and enabled it to stand alone. In this unfettered state, it has since been rendered sacred by the genius of Shakspeare and the talents of Milton.

The verse of ten syllables, whether blank or tied to a rhyme, is generally composed of five Iambic feet: having its syllables, alternately,short and long; or else unaccented and accented. Thus:

With what / attract- | ive charms | this good- I ly frame Of Na- | ture touch- | es the consent- | ing hearts,

Of mor- | tal men; | and what | the pleas- | ing stores
Which beau- | teous im- | ita- | tion thence | derives
To deck the po- et's, or the painter's toil:
My verse unfolds. | Attend, 1 ye gen- | tle powers
Of mus- ) ical | delight! and, while | I sing,
Your gifts, your ho-nours, dance around my strain.

It is not understood, in the English tongue, that these Iambics are to be fixed to time, or even to the stress of accent, with invariable formality; but we are to consider this as the strain, or flow, of the verse: and, keeping that in view, we must preserve the emphasis of the sentence, with as much favour as we can to the imperfections of the poet. The, for instance, in the second line of the preceding quotation, is unnecessarily accented: a perfect verse would ask for no such indulgence.

The chief variation allowed in this kind of verse is, that the first foot may be a Trochee, and the other four Iambics, as before. This often gives a spirit to the line, and breaks the monotony which a long continued series of lambics produces :

All åre | bút pārts òf õne | stůpēn- | dous whole, Whose bo- | dỹ Nā- | tůre is | and God | thě soul; Thắt changed | thrŏ'all | ånd yēt | in all | thě sāme; Great in the eārth | as in | th' aethēr- | ial frāme; Warms in | thề săn, 1 refrẽsh- | 8s in | thẻ breeze, Glows in thě stārs / ånd blos- / soms in the trēes,

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