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folicitous about it in the compofition of verses. The number of fyllables, the pause, and the feat of the accents and emphafis, are the chief things to be confidered in the English verfification.

Accent is a particular ftrefs or force of the voice, laid upon any fyllable in speaking, as upon fi in finite, upon in in infinite; and emphasis is that stress or force of the voice which is laid on fome particular word or words in a sentence to exprefs the true meaning of the author.

In English verfe, it is the accent that denominates a syllable long, rather than the nature of the vowel, diphthong, &c. though accent and quantity are, in reality, two different things.

It is not enough that verfes have their juft number of fyllables; for the words must be fo difpofed, as that the accent and the pause may fall in fuch places, as to render them harmonious and pleafing to the ear.

This paufe is a small reft or flop which is made in pronouncing the longer forts of verfes, dividing them into two parts, each of which is called an hemiftich, or half-verse: but this divifion is not always equal, that is, one of the hemiftichs does not always contain the fame number of fyllables as the other. This inequality proceeds from the feat of the accent, that is ftrongest in the firft hemiflich; for the paufe is to be made at the end of the word where fuch accent happens, or at the end of the word following; as will presently be fhewn.

Metre, or meafure, which is fuch an harmonious difpofition of a certain number of fyllables as above mentioned, is all that is abfolutely neceffary to conftitute English verfe; but rhyme is generally added to make it more delightful.

Now rhyme is a likeness of found between the last fyllable or fyllables of one verfe, and the last fyllable or fyl lables of another.-When only one fyllable at the end of one line rhymes to one fyllable at the end of another, it is called fingle rhyme, as made, trade; confefs, diftrefs: but when the two last fyllables are alike in found, as drinking, thinking; able, table; it is called double rhyme. We have alfo fome instances of treble rhyme, where the three last fyllables chime together; as charity, parity, &c. But this is feldom or never admitted in ferious fubje&ts, and in fuch the double rhyme is to be used but sparingly.

You are further to obferve, that the confonants which

precede the vowels where the rhyme begins, muft be different in each verfe; fo that light and delight, vice and advice, move and remove, muft not be made to rhyme together; for though the fignification of the words are different enough, the rhyming fyllables are exactly the fame, and good rhyme confifts rather in a likeness than a fameness of found. From hence it follows, that a word cannot rhyme to itself, nor even words that differ both in fignification and orthography, if they have the fame found; as heir, air; prey, pray; blew, blue, &c. Such rhymes indeed, and others equally bad, as nation and affection, villainy and gentry, follow and willow, where the likeness is not fufficient, were allowed of in the days of Chaucer, Spencer, and the rest of our antient poets, but are by no incans to be admitted in our modern compofitions. It may be farther obferved, that the rhyming of words depends upon their likeness of found, not of orthography; for laugh and quaff, though differently written, rhyme very well together; but plough and cough, though their terminations are alike, rhyme not at all.

'That fort of verfe which has no rhyme is called blank verfe; fome specimens of which will be given hereafter. We have verses of several measures containing feldom less than four, nor more than fourteen fyllables; in fpeaking of which I fhall begin with those that are moftly in use.



Of the feveral forts of English VERSES.

HE verfes chiefly used in our poetry, are thofe of ten, eight, and feven fyllables; efpecially the first, which are ufed in heroic poems, tragedies, elegies, paftorals, and many other fubjects, but generally those that are grave and ferious.

In this fort the words are commonly fo difpofed, that the accent may fall on every fecond, fourth, fixth, eighth, and tenth fyllable; as in the two following lines.

From vúlgar bounds with bráve difórder párt,
And fnátch a gráce beyond the reách of árt.

But (as we have intimated already) this order may be frequently difpenfed with, without destroying the harmony of the verfe; nay, it adds a peculiar beauty to the poetry, to indulge fuch a variety now and then, especially in the firft and second fyllables of the line, of which the following is an inftance, where the accent is on the first syllable, and not on the second.

Nów to the main the búrning fún defcénds.

The pause to be in verses of this kind (as I have before obferved) is determined by the feat of the most prevailing accent in the first half-verse, which ought to be either on the fecond, fourth, or fixth fyllable; and the pause must immediately follow the word where this accent happens, or the word after it.

In the following lines you have inftances of each of the cafes mentioned, where the ruling accent only is marked, and the paufe denoted by a dash

Firft Cafe.

As búfy-as intentive emmets are.

Defpife it-and more noble thoughts pursue.

Second Cafe.

Belinda fmil'd--and all the world was gay.
So fresh the wound is-and the grief so vaft.

Third Cafe.

Some have at first for wits-then poets pafs'd.
And fince he could not fáve her- with her dy'd.

The pause is sometimes to be allowed of in other places. of a verfe; but then the verses are not quite fo agreeable to the ear, as is evident from the following inftance:

Bright Hefper twinkles from afár-away
My kids for you have had a feaft to-day.

Here is nothing disagreeable in the structure of these verses but the paufe, which in the first of them (you fee) is after the eighth fyllable, and in the latter after the second; whereas fo unequal a division cannot produce any true harmony.

It must be confefied, that the prevailing accent is fome

times not easily distinguished, as when two or three in the fame verse seem equally ftrong; in which cafe the sense and construction of the words must be your guide. And after all, a person who has a tolerable ear for poetry, will have little occafion for rules concerning the pause or the accents, but will naturally fo difpofe his words as to create a certain harmony, without labour to the tongue, or violence to the sense.

Next to verses of ten fyllables, thofe of eight are most frequent in our poetry, whereof we have many entire poems. In these verses, as in the former, the accents generally fall on every fecond fyllable, but not without exception, as you will fee in the following example:

A fhów'r of soft and fléecy ráin
Fálls, to new-clothe the earth agáin ;
Behold the mountains tóps around,
As if with fúr of érmin crown'd.

The verses next to be confidered, are those of seven fytlables, which are called anacreontic, from Anacreon, a Greek poet, who wrote in verfe of that measure.

The accents in this kind of verse, fall on the first, third, fifth, and feventh fyllables, as in the following lines:

Glitt'ring ftónes and golden things,
Wealth and honours thát have wings,
Ever flútt'ring to be gone,

Wé can never cáll our own.

As for verfes of nine and eleven fyllables, they are not worth our notice, being very feldom ufed, except those which are of double rhyme, and properly belong to the verses of eight and ten fyllables.

There is a kind of verfe of twelve fyllables, having the accent on every third, which is only made ufe of in fubjects of mirth and pleasantry, as are those of eleven fyllables, which run with much the fame cadence. But there is another fort of twelve fyllables, which are now and then introduced amongst our heroics, being fometimes the last of a couplet, or two verfes, as in the following inftance.

The ling'ring foul th' unwelcome doom receives,

And, murm'ring with difdain,-the beauteous body leaves.

Sometimes a verfe of this kind concludes a triplet, or three lines that rhyme together, where the fenfe is full and complete; as for example:

Millions of op'ning mouths to Fame belong,

And ev'ry mouth is furnish'd with a tongue,

And round with lift'ning ears-the flying plague is hung.


Here let us obferve by the way, that the fense ought always to be closed at the end of a triplet, and not continued to the next line; tho' inftances of this fault (if it be one); are to be found in fome of our beft poets.

This verse of twelve fyllables (which is call'd Alexandrine, or Alexandrian, from a poem on the life of Alexander, written or tranflated into fuch verfe by fome French poets) is alfo frequently used at the conclufion of a ftanza in Lyric or Pindaric odes, of which we fhall fpeak hereafter. The pause, in these verses, ought to be at the fixth fyllable, as we fee in the foregoing examples.

In this place it cannot be amifs to obferve, that tho' the Alexandrine verfe, when rightly employ'd, has an agree. able effect in our poetry, it must be used fparingly, and with judgment. Mr. Pope has cenfured the improper ufe of it, and at the fame time given us a beautiful verfe of this kind, in his excellent Essay on Criticism, where, fpeaking of those who regard verfification only, he fays,

A needlefs Alexandrine ends the song,

That, like a wounded fnake, drags its flow length along.

Verses of fourteen fyllables are not fo often used as those of twelve; but they are likewife inferted in heroic poems, and are agreeable enough when they conclude a triplet where the fenfe is finifh'd, especially if the preceding verse be of twelve fyllables; as in this of Mr. Dryden.

For thee the land in fragrant flow'rs is dreft ;

For thee the ocean fmiles, and smooths her wavy breast, And heav'n itfelf with more ferene and purer light is bleft.

If thefe verfes follow one of ten fyllables, the inequality of the measure renders them lefs pleafing; but this is

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