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While angels with their silver wings o'ershade, 1
8. The structure of the verse is irregular when the poeti caband oratorical accent do not coincide: 7.
His own works and their works at once to view.
9. Casural pause. In every smooth verse of ten syllables there is, naturally, a pause at the fourth, fifth, or sixth syllable. This pause is independent on those points or stops which the rules of punctuation require,
On the fourth:
When not a breath-disturbs the deep serene;
On the fifth:
Where awful arches make a noon-day night,
On the sixth :
And white-rob'd innocence-from heav'n descends. Pope.
The pause on the seventh syllable is chiefly used to diversify the melody of long poems
High in the dusty whirlwind-scales the heav'n. Iliad.
The variety and harmony of English versification, in a great measure, depend on the judicious change and management of this pause. If it be the same syllable for several lines successively, it occasions a tiresome monotony. On this account, a verse of twelve syllables, usually called an alexandrine, if frequently introduced, is disagreeable to the ear. Mr. Pope ridicules, very ably, the excessive use of this measure: bad! 19 864
A needless alexandrine ends the song, Rod Af That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along. English blank verse is a bold and disencumbered mode of versification; it is free from the full close which rhyme, forces upon the ear at the termination of every couplet,
Hence it is peculiarly suited to subjects of dignity and force. Milton's Paradise Lost is the most complete example. It has the same number of syllables as the common heroic, namely ten, and is pure or mixed; pure when the accent rests on every second syllable; and mixed, when this does not take place. The first line is mixed; the second pure.
Hére love his golden shafts employs, here lights
Euphony, or the resemblance between the sound of words and their signification, adds much to the natural beauties of poetry. Pope in his Essay on Criticism, very happily observes,
"Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
Flies o'er ta' unbending corn, and skims along the plain.
These verses, notwithstanding the dissent of an eminent critic, very aptly point out and exemplify this adventitibus ornament,
With many a weary step, and many a groan
The second line possesses uncommon beauty. The words being all monosyllables, a pause is render d necessary after each; added to this, the artful repetion of the aspirate, paints very forcibly the loss of breath, under which Sisyphus might be supposed to labour from his vio lent exertions. This is a beauty not to be found in the original. Milton has very happily imitated the repetitions. of an echo, in these lines;
The anecdote related of Dr. Wallis, with reference to the subject of euphony, may afford some amusement to our juvenile readers. A Frenchman praising his own language for its excellence in this particular, and denying the capa bility of the English for such exercises, proposed the following verses to Dr. Wallis for translation:
-I fled, and cried out Death!
These Dr. Wallis rendered into English, without having recourse to the French word cord, but used the pure Euglish word twist:
Quand un cordier, córdant, veult corder une corde';
When a twister, a-twisting, will twist him a twist;
For the twisting of his twist, he three twines doth intwists
To these the Dr. added the following verses:
Untwirling the twine that untwisteth between,
SECT. III.-POETICAL TERMS.
ACROSTIC, a composition or copy of verses so disposed, that the initial letters form the name of some person, kingdom, place, motto, &c. This species of false wit has now almost entirely disappeared, and is to be found only in the muses' corner of some ephemeral publications.
ALLITERATION consists in repeating the same letter or letters, at certain intervals. Though the sweetness and energy of versification do not depend upon this figure, yet it serves to enforce the sentiments it expresses, and is a considerable help to the memory in recitation * de
Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
Had my sweet Harry had but half their numbers,
ANTISTROPHE, a part of the sacred hymn of the Greeks which was sung in returning from west to east, after they had danced round the altars. See Strophe.
EPIGRAM was formerly, what we call an inscription. It was engraven on the frontispieces of temples, on monuments, and on public edifices. It now signifies a lively and ingenious thought, happily and concisely expressed in verse.
EPITAPH; a monumental inscription in honour, or memory of a person defunct; or, an inscription engravén on a tomb, to mark the time of a person's decease, his name, family, and usually, some eulogy of his virtues.
EPODE, the third or last part of an ode; the antient ode being divided into strophe, antistrophe, and epode. The epode was sung by the priest standing before the altar, after all the turns and returns of the strophe and antistrophe. The word epode properly signified the end of the song. See Strophe and Antistrophe.
MADRIGAL is a little piece not confined either to the scrupulous regularity of a sonnet, or the subtlety of an epigram; but consisting of some tender and delicate, yet simple thought, suitably expressed. An epigram is noted for its pointed wit; but this rather for its tenderness and beautiful simplicity. The Italian and French songs and airs are often of the madrigal kind.
ODE, among the antients, signified no more than a song, or composition proper to be sung, which was usually accompanied with some musical instrument, and principally by the lyre. The odes of the antients had a regular return of the same kind of verse, and the same quantity of syllables in the same place of every similar verse: they were generally in honor of their gods.
There are two sorts of odes; the one is characterised by ease and sweetness; the other, by sublimity, rapture, and quickness of transition.
PINDARIC, as the name imports, is an ode formed in imitation of Pindar. He flourished about 478, B. C. and was cotemporary with Eschylus. He has left a book of odes, all in praise of the victors at the Olympian, Pythian,
Nemæan, and Isthmian games; which odes take their names from the subjects they celebrate.
Pindar is full of force and fire; his thoughts are sententious, his style impetuous, and his sallies daring; he affects a beautiful disorder, which is the effect of the greatest art. The supposed irregularity of his numbers has made several of his imitators imagine themselves F'indaric poets, because their compositions are wild and irregalar. A person who has assumed the name of Pindar, it should be hinted to our young readers, is no imitator of the great original; but deals largely in ribaldry and abuse. Even royalty is not secure from his slanders.
STANZAS, were first introduced from the Italian into the French poetry, about the year 1580, and thence transferred into the English. Most of the Italian poems are divided into stanzas. A stanza is a number of lines regularly adjusted to each other; or, so much of a poem as contains every variation of measure, or relation of rhyme, used in that poem. There are stanzas of four, six, eight, ten, or twelve verses. The word is Italian, and from originally signifying a room in a house, afterwards denoted the sub-division of a poem.
STROPHE, was that part of the antient hymn which was sung by the Greek chorus, in turning from east to west, while dancing round their altars.
CHAP. VI.-THE DRAMA.
THE drama, or dramatic poetry, derives its name from a Greek word, which signifies to act; because in this kind of poetry, the action is not recited, as it is in the epic poem, but performed on the stage. In the drama, there are three kinds of unity; the unity of action, of time, and of place. The action is one, when but one single end is proposed, to which all the other parts of the drama tend. Unity of time is from sun-rise to sun-rise, or twenty-four hours; that is, the action represented, must commence and terminate within that space. Unity of place, requires that every thing be dune precisely in the same place. The unities, however, are little attended to in modern plays. The language of the drama, should be suitable to the persons, introduced; their characters should be diversified; the story