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ground we may fairly consider him as a critick exhibiting his opinion as to what that style admitted of, in the most unequivocal way, by his own example. As Comus now appears, the following lines occur, among others:
Harpies and Hydras or all the monstrous forms," v. 605. "My sister is not so defenceless left
"As you imagine; she has a hidden strength," v. 414.
As the poem originally stood, we meet with more instances of this sort of metre; thus, instead of v. 485, as it now appears:
"Some roving robber calling to his fellows."
we find in his own MS. in Trinity College, Cambridge:
"Some curld man of the sword calling to his fellows." He probably thought that too great an intermixture of these irregularities would be injurious to the effect of a short composition; but he has lavishly admitted them in Paradise Lost. Creech was very far from being a rugged or a careless writer, yet in his translation of the first book of Manilius, he has these lines, describing the earth:
"Its parts to one fixt point press jointly down,
And meet, and stop each other from moving on."
But the principal point which we have to ascertain, is the usage of Shakspeare and his contemporary dramatists; and here our materials are so abundant, that the only difficulty is in selection. I have already produced a passage in Henry VI.; but as this play, according to Mr. Malone's hypothesis, was not entirely written by our author, it may be considered as questionable authority. I will, therefore, produce lines from other plays, which I have taken at random :
"And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother?"
"But in these cases
"We still have judgment here; that we but teach
"I cannot strike at wretched Kernes, whose arms
Ibid. p. 269.
"They say he parted well, and paid his score,
"Menenius. Think on the wounds his body bears which
I might go on to fill pages; but the reader will apply the principle to other passages as they present themselves. Let us now look to Beaumont and Fletcher:
"Expect a trumpet and a herald with you,
never saw a woman of
Though he "Before this day, yet methinks 'tis possible « "He might imagine what they are."
"Her thoughts were merciful, but she laughed at you.'
"He turns away in scorn! I am contemned too!›
"A more unmanly violence than
han the other:
"Bitten and flung away: whate'er you are,
"Sir, you that have abused me, and now most basely
"I fling all these behind d me, but look upon me."
Queen of Corinth, Act II. Sc. I.
She's young and blessed, "Sweet as the spring, and as his blossoms tender; "And I a nipping north-wind, my head hung "With hail and frosty icicles. Are the souls so too, "When they depart hence, lame, and old, and loveless? "No, sure 'tis ever youth there; time and death "Follow our flesh no more; and that forced opinion "That spirits have no sexes, I believe not;
"There must be love, there is love."
Mad Lover, Act IV. Sc. I.
So Ben Jonson, in his character of Germanicus :
"Had means to know him within; and can report him.
"As was his mind; and no less reverend
Sejanus, Act I. Sc. I.
There's no drop
"Of melting nectar I taste from her lip
"To the blest receiver; every grace and feature
Roman Actor, Act II. Sc. I.
The poetry of that age was not only occasionally redundant, it was as often defective. Even Mr. Steevens acknowledges that an accidental hemistich sometimes occurs in our author's plays, without ascribing it to the blunders of Heminge and Condell: nor were Shakspeare and his dramatick contemporaries alone subject to this accident; for the same measure is found in the satires of Marston and Hall:
Say, curteous sir, speakes he not movingly
"He writes, he railes, he jests, he courts, what not,
Marston, sat. 10.
"Time was, and that was term'd the time of gold,
Hall, lib. iii. sat. 1.
As I have shown that a syllable was sometimes added to the beginning of a line, so one was sometimes withdrawn from it. Massinger is justly praised by Mr. Gifford for the general harmony of his versification; I will therefore produce two instances from his plays: Only hold me
"Your vigilant Hermes with aërial wings
"And Beaumelle my daughter in the place,
The Fatal Dowry, Act IV. Sc. IV. Shakspeare, as well as his contemporaries, has sometimes indulged in this licence; but upon two occasions may, perhaps, have done it on purpose, that the sound might correspond to the sense. In the first scene of Macbeth, the witch says:
"Fair is foul and foul is fair,
"Hover through the fog and filthy air.”
The third scene thus commences:
"1 Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
may be thought fanciful, but I own, that to my ear, there seems to be something characteristick in the swinging cadence of these two lines, which would be lost if we were to make them regular, which might be easily done:
"Let's hover through the fog and filthy air
Say where hast thou been, sister? Killing swine."
Some passages, which are apparently defective, Mr. Malone has proposed to supply, by supposing that many words which are now considered as monosyllables, were pronounced as dissyllables, and vice versa, in Shakspeare's time; and this, to a certain degree, is admitted by Mr. Steevens. With regard to a large class of words, namely, those in which or r is subjoined to another consonant, the reader will find Mr. Tyrwhitt's opinion, as to the mode in which they may be pronounced, in vol. iv. p. 31, and more largely stated at p. 137, of the same volume. Mr. Malone has followed up this principle, and by its help has endeavoured to show that a line, such as the following:
"Prove it, Henry, and thou shalt be king,"
is not deficient in its proper quantity of syllables, if we read Henery. It has been objected to this, that still the line would not be correct measure, as we cannot lay the emphasis on the second syllable of the name Henéry. Mr. Malone never contended that the measure would be correct; but only that it would be such as frequently passed current in our old English poetry. How far this was well founded, will be seen when we come to the discussion of the halting versification, that is found in our ancient writers. But as many deficient lines are found in Shakspeare, it might be a simpler explanation of such passages, to refer them to that class. Mr. Steevens allows that such words as year, hear, may be resolved into dissyllables, because they consist of two vowels; but he denies that the same process is applicable to those which have only one, such as here. This, I apprehend, is totally overthrowing Mr. Tyrwhitt's principle, which teaches us that the letters or are sus ceptible, in themselves, of an additional vowel in pronunciation The licences which were resorted to by the writers of that time in lengthening or shortening words, are fully pointed out in Three Proper, and