Page images

I too transported by the mode commend ;
And while I mean to praise Thee, must offend.
Thy verse created like Thy Theme fublime,
In number, weight, and meafure, needs not rhyme.



V E R S E.

THE measure is English Heroic Verse

without Rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin; Rhyme being no necessary adjunct, or true ornament of Poem or good verse; in longer works especially: but the invention of a bar. barous age, to set-off wretched matter and lame metre: grac'd indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets carried away by custom; but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, (and for the most part worse) than else they would have expreff them. Not without cause therefore some (both Italian and Spanish) Poets of prime note have rejected Rhyme, both in longer and Morter works; as have also long since

our best English Tragedies; as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight: which consists only in

apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another: not in the jingling sound of like endings; a fault avoided by the learned Antients both in Poetry, and all good Ora. tory. This neglect then of Rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect ; (though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers) that it rather is to be efteem'd an example fet, (the first in English,) of antient liberty recover'd to Heroic Poem, from the troublefome and modern bondage of Rhyming.


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »