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we shou'd be jealous of our felves for being fond of Similes, Conceits, and what they call faying Fine Things. When we were in the North, my Lord Wharton fhew'd me a Letter he had receiv'd from a certain great *General in Spain; I told him I wou'd by all means have that General recall'd, and fet to writing here at home; for it was impoffible that a Man with for much Wit as he fhew'd, cou'd be fit to command an Army, or do any other Bufinefs. As for what you say of Expreffion; 'tis indeed the fame thing to Wit, as Drefs is to Beauty. I have feen many Women overdreft, and feveral look better in a carelefs Nightgown, with their hair about their ears, than Made-.: moifelle Spanheim dreft for a Ball. I do not defign to be in London till towards the Parliament; then I fhall certainly be there; and hope by that time you will have finish'd your Paftorals as you would have them appear in the world, and particularly the third of Autumn which I have not yet feen. Your laft Eclogue being upon the fame Subject as that of mine on Mrs. Tempeft's Death, I should take it very kindly in you to give it a little turn, as if it were to the Memory of the fame Lady, if they were not written for fome particular Woman whom you wou'd make immortal. You may take occafion to fhew the difference between Poets Miftreffes, and other Men's. I only hint this, which you may either do, or let alone, just as you think fit. I fhall be very much pleafed to fee you again in Town, and to hear from you in the mean time. I am with very much esteem,

The Earl of P.

Your, &c.

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Mr. Pope to Mr. Wallh.

Octob. 22, 1706..

A F Fter the Thoughts I have already fent you on on the fubject of English Verfification, you defire my opinion as to fome farther particulars. There are indeed certain Niceties, which tho' not much obferved even by correct Verfifiers, I cannot but think deserve to be better regarded.


1. It is not enough that nothing offends the Ear, but a good Poet will adapt the very Sounds, as well as Words, to the things he treats of. So. that there is (if one may exprefs it fo) a Style of Sound. As in defcribing a gliding Stream, the Numbers fhou'd run eafy and flowing; in defcribing a rough Torrent or Deluge, fonorous and fwelling; and fo of the reft. This is evident every where in Homer and Virgil, and no where elfe that I know of to any obfervable degree. The following Examples will make this plain, which I have taken from Virgil:

Molle viam tacito lapfu per levia radit..
Incedit tardo molimine fubfidendo.
Lutantes ventos, tempeftatefque fonoras.
Immenfe cum præcipitans ruit Oceano Nox.
Telum imbelle fine ictu Conjecit.
Tolle moras, cape faxa mami, cape robora, Paftor.
Ferte citi flammas, date tela, impellite remos,

This, I think, is what very few obferve in practice, and is undoubtedly of wonderful force in imprinting the Image on the reader. We have one excellent Example of it in our Lan-guage, Mr. Dryden's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day, entitled, Alexander's Feaft.

2. `Every

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2. Every nice Ear muft (I believe) have obferved, that in any fmooth English Verfe of ten fyllables there is, naturally a Paufe at the fourth, fifth, or fixth fyllable. It is upon thefe the Ear refts, and upon the judicious Change and Management of which depends the Variety of Verfification. For example,

At the fifth.

Where-e'er thy Navy || Spreads her


canvas Wings.

At the fourth. Homage to thee and Peace to all She brings.

At the fixth. Like Tracts of Leverets || in Morning Snow.

Now I fancy, that to preferve an exact Harmony and Variety, the Paufes of the 4th or 5th fhou'd not be continu'd above three lines together, without the Interpofition of another; elfe it will. be apt to weary the Ear with one continu'd Tone, at least it does mine: That at the 6th runs quicker, and carries not quite fo dead a weight; fo tires not fo much, tho' it be continued longer.

3. Another nicety is in relation to Expletives, whether Words or Syllables, which are made ufeof purely to fupply a vacancy. Do before Verbs plural is abfolutely fuch; and it is not improbable but future Refiners may explode did and does in the fame manner, which are almost always ufed for the fake of Rhime. The fame Caufe has occafioned the promifcuous ufe of You and Thou to the fame Perfon, which can never found fo graceful as either one or the other.

4. I would alfo object to the Irruption of Alexandrine Verfes of twelve fyllables, which I think fhould never be allow'd but when fome remarkable Beauty or Propriety in them atones for the

the Liberty. Mr. Dryden has been too free of thefe, especially in his latter Works. I am of the fame opinion as to Triple Rhimes.

I could equally object to the Repetition of the fame Rhimes within four or fix lines of each other, as tirefome to the Ear thro' their Monotony.

6. Monofyllable-Lines, unless very artfully managed, are ftiff, or languifhing; but may be beautiful to exprefs Melancholy, Slownefs, or La




7. To come to the Hiatus, or Gap between two words which is caufed by two Vowels opening on each other (upon which you defire me to be particular) I think the rule in this cafe is either to ufe the Cafura, or admit the Hiatus, juft as the Ear is leaft fhock'd by either; For the Cafura fometimes offends the Ear more than. the Hiatus itself,

charg'd with and our language is naturally over

Confonants. As for example; if in

this Verfe,

The Old have Intreft in their Eye,

we should say, to avoid the Hiatus,

But th' Old have Int'reft

The Hiatus which has the worst effect, is when one word ends with the fame Vowel that begins the following; and next to this, thofe Vowels, whose founds come nearest to each other, are most to be avoided. O, A, or U, will bear a more full and graceful Sound than E, I, or Y. I know fome people will think thefe Obfervations trivial; and

and therefore I am glad to corroborate them by fome great Authorities, which I have met with in Tully and Quintilian. In the fourth Book of Rhetoric to Herennius, are thefe words: Fugiemus crebras Vocalium concurfiones, que vaftam atque biantem reddunt orationem; ut hoc eft: Bacce enee ameniffimæ impendebant. And Quintilian 7. 9. cap. 4. Vocalium concurfus cum accidit, biat & interfiftit, & quafi laberat oratio. Peffimæ longè, quæ eafdem inter fe literas committunt, fonabunt; præcipuus tamen erit hiatus earum, quæ cavo aut patulo ore efferuntur. E plenior litera eft, I anguftior. But he goes on to reprove the excefs on the other hand of being too follicitous in this matter, and fays admirably: Nefcio an negligentia in hoc, aut folicitudo fit pejor. So likewife Tully: (Orator ad Brut.) Theopompum reprehendunt, quod eas literas tanto opere fugerit, etfi idem magifter ejus Ifocrates: which laft Author, as Turnebus and Quintilian obferve, has hardly one Hiatus in all his works. Quintilian tells us, that Tully and Domofthenes did not much obferve this Nicety, tho' Tully himself fays in his Orator: Crebra ifta Vocum concurfio, quam magna ex parte vitiofam fugit Demof thenes. If I am not mistaken, Malherbe of all the Moderns has been the moft fcrupulous in this point; and I think Menage in his Obfervations upon him fays, he has not one in his Poems. To conclude, I believe the Hiatus fhould be avoided with more care in Poetry than in Oratory; and I would conftantly try to prevent it, unless where the cutting it off is more prejudicial to the Sound, than the Hiatus itself. I am, &c.

Moser & b

1.. A "1

Mr. Walth died at 49 Years old, in the Year 1708, the Year after Mr. Pope writ the Eflay on Criticism, which be concludes with this Gentleman's Elogy.


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