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to Surrey, are merely rhythmical, to be aberrant lines are much more common read by cadence, and admitting of con in the dramatic blank verse of the se. siderable variety in the number of venteenth century. They are, doubtless, syllables, though ten may be the more vestiges of the old rhythmical forms; frequent. In the manuscripts of Chaucer, and we may readily allow that English the line is always broken by a cæsura versification had not, in the fifteenth or in the middle, which is pointed out by a even sixteenth centuries, the numerical virgule; and this is preserved in the regularity of classical or Italian metre. early editions down to that of 1532. In the ancient ballads, Scots and English, They come near, therefore, to the short the substitution of the anapaest for the Saxon line, differing chiefly by the iambic foot, is of perpetual recurrence, alternate rhyme, which converts two and gives them a remarkable elasticity verses into one. He maintains that a and animation; but we never fail to great many lines of Chaucer cannot be recognize a uniformity of measure, read metrically, though harmonious as which the use of nearly equipollent verses of cadence. This rhythmical feet cannot, on the strictest metrical measure he proceeds to show in Hoc. principles, be thought to impair.” cleve, Lydgate, Hawes, Barclay, Skel
Mr Guest, in his work, of which ton, and even Wyatt; and thus concludes,
we hope erelong to give an account, that it was first abandoned by Surrey, in whom it very rarely occurs.
brings to the story of English verse
This hypothesis, it should be observed, de
far more extensive research than rives some additional plausibility from
had hitherto been bestowed upon a passage in Gascoyne's “ Notes of
it; and that special scholarship instruction concerning the making of
which was needed, the Anglo-Saxon verse or rhyme in English,' printed in
ter in language, learned in the new continen1575. "Whosoever do peruse and well
tal school of Rask and Grimm. His consider his (Chaucer's) works, he examination of our subject merges in shall find that, although his lines are a general history of the Language, not always of one selfsame number of viewed as a metrical element or masyllables, yet being read by one that terial; and hence his exposition, which hath understanding, the longest verse, we rapidly collect seriatim, is plainly and that which hath most syllables in different in respect of both order and it, will fall (to the ear) correspondent fulness from what it would have been, unto that which hath fewest syllables; had the illustration of Chaucer been his and likewise that which hath fewest main purpose. He follows down the syllables shall be found yet to consist of gradual Extinction of Syllables; and words that have such natural sound, as in this respect, our anciently syllamay seem equal in length to a verse bled, now mute E, takes high place. which bath many more syllables of and falls first under his consideration, lighter accents.'
This now silent or vanished Vowel “A theory so ingeniously maintained, occurred heretofore, with metrical and with so much induction of exam
power, in adopted FRENCH Substanples, has naturally gained a good deal
tives, as—eloquenc-E, maladi-E; and of credit. I cannot, however, by any
in their plurals, as—maladi-ES. And means concur in the extension given to it. Pages may be read in Chaucer, and
in Adjectives of the same origin, as
larg-E. stili more in Dunbar, where every line
It remained from several parts of is regularly and harmoniously decasyllabic; and though the cæsura may per
the Axglo-Saxon grammar.–From haps fall rather more uniformly than it
A, E, U, endings of Anglo-Saxon subdoes in modern verse, it would be very
stantives—as nam-A, nam-E; tim-A, easy to find exceptions, which coulă tim-E; mon-A, (the moon,) mon-E; not acquire a rhythmical cadence by any
sunn-E, (the sun,) sonn-E; heort-E, artifice of the reader. The deviations
(the heart,) hert-E; car-E, (the ear,) from the normal type, or decasyllable er-E; scol-u, (school,) scol-E; luf-u, line, were they more numerous than, lov-E;sceam-u, sham-E;lag-A, law-E; after allowance for the license of pro- sun-u, (a son,) son-E; wud-U, (a nunciation, as well as the probable cor- wood,) wod-E.-(To Mr Guest's three ruption of the text, they appear to be, vowels, add 0:—as bræd-o (breadth) would not, I conceive, justify us in con- bred-E.) – From the termination cluding that it was disregarded. These THE; as-streng-THE; yow-TIIE. -From a few adjectives ending in E; Guest's particular regard ; but it is as-getrew-E, trew-E; new-E, new-E. easily understood that the Anglo
From adverbs, formed by the same Saxon hlaford, (lord,) gen. sing. vowel from adjectives; as from beorht, hlaford-Es, had, in Chaucer's day, (bright,) is made, in Anglo-Saxon, become lord, lord-ES;—and that scar, beorht-E, (brightly,) remaining with (shower,) plural scur-As, of our disChaucer, as bright-E.--Inflexion pro tant progenitors had bequeathed to duces the final E. In substantives, his verse-shour, shour-es. the prevalent singular dative of the Legitimate scepticism surely ceases mother speech was in E. Chancer, when it thus appears that ignorance now and then, seems to present us alone has hastily understood that this with a dative; as in the second verse vowel, extant in this or that word, of the Prologue to the Canterbury with a quite alien meaning and use, Tales, from rot, (root) rot-E. And (-e. g. for lengthening a foregoing Mr Guest thinks that he has found vowel --softening an antecedent conONE instance of a genitive plural E sonant,)-or with none, and through from A; namely, from the earlier ath, the pure casualty of negligence or (an oath,) genitive plural, ath-A; with of error, might at any time be pressed Chaucer—oth, oth-E.
irregularly into metrical service. The German family of languages Assuredly Chaucer never used such exhibits a fine and bold peculiarity blind and wild license of straightening a double declension of its Adjectives, his measure ; but an instructed ere depending on a condition of syntax. sees in the Canterbury Tales-and The Anglo-Saxon adjective, in its or- in all his poetry of which the text is dinary (or, as grammarians have called incorrupt—the uniform application of it, Indefinite declension, makes the an intricate and thoroughly critical nominative plural for all the genders rule, which fills up by scores, by hunin E; and this remains as the regular dreds, or by thousands, the timeplural termination of the adjective to wronged verses of “the Great FounChaucer. Thus we have, in the morcan- der” to true measure and true music. cient language-eald; plural, eald-E; To sum up in a few words our own with Chaucer-old; plural, old- , &c. views–First, if you take xo account
Therule of the extraordinary (or De- of the mute E, the great majority of finite)declension, is thus generallygiven Chaucer's verses in the only justifiable by MrGuest for Chaucer. “When the text-Tyrwhitt's Canterbury Tales adjective follows the definite article, or are in what we commonly call the TENthe definite pronoun, this, that, or any syllabled lambic metre. one of the possessive pronouns-his, Secondly, if you take account of the her, &c.-it takes what is called its de metrical E, the great majority of them finite form."-(Vol. i. p. 32.) From appear, if you choose so to call them, the Anglo-Saxon definite declension as ELEVEN-syllabled lambic verses, (running through three genders, five or as the common heroic measure with cases, and two numbers,) remains, to a supernumerary terminal syllable. the language that arose after the Thirdly, if you take no account of Conquest, one final E. E. g. Inde. the disputed E, a very large number finite-strong; definite, strong-E;— of the verses, but less apparently than indefinite-high; definite-high-E. the majority, appear as wanting in
The Verb ends the first person sin. ternally one or two syllables. gular, and the three persons plural, Fourthly, if you take account of the of the present tense, and makes im- said troublesome E, almost universally perative and infinitive, in E. The these deficient measures become filled past tense generally ends in DE or up to the due complement- become EDE; (Mr Guest has forgotten TE;) decasyllabic or hendecasyllabic, as sometimes in ED.
the case may be. As for those two principal endings, Fifthly, if you consent to take acthe genitive singular in Es, which is count of this grammatical metrical E, the Anglo-Saxon termination retain- no inconsiderable number of the verses ed, and the plural in ES, which is --ten-syllabled or eleven-syllabled, the Anglo-Saxon cnding obscured by technical computation-acquire one they happen hardly to fall tinder Mr or two supernumerary syllables dis
tributed, if one may so speak, within relief from objections greater than the verse--and to be viewed as en- those who should enquire concerning riching the harmony without distort- perhaps any other poet. In the foring or extending the measure, after mation of his verse, and the lifting up the manner of the Paradise Lost. of a rude language, more than Dante
Finally, (for the present,) whether himself, a creator! What wonder, the verses in general fall under our then, if he should sometimes make usual English scheme of the one-syl-' mistakes, and that some inconsistenlabled ending, or end, as the Italian cies remain at last irreducible? If for the most part do, dissyllabically, the method undertaken draws the has been disputed by those who agree irreducible cases into a narrower and in the recognition of the metrical E. a narrower compass, that sufficiently To wit-shall the final E of Mr justifies the theory of the method Guest's rule, ending the verse, and against all gainsayers. where it would, consequently, make T his copious, and, possibly, tedious a hypercatalectic eleventh syllable, grammatical display of this once acstill be pronounced — as Tyrwhitt, tive metrical element, was forced from although not anxiously, contends ? us as the only proper answer to the If the grammatical rule is imperative doubt revived in our own day on the within the verse, as much, one would versification of Chaucer. We are too think, must it be so at its termination. prone to believe that our forefathers That Chaucer admits the doubled werc as rude as their speech, and their ending we see by numerous unequi- specch as they ; but this multitude of vocal instances from all moods of the grammatical delicacies, retained for verse, mirthful and solemn; these centuries after the subjection of the show a versification friendly to the native language by conquest, and sysdoubled ending; and must go far to tematically applied in the versification remove any scruple of admitting Tyr- of the great old poet, shows a feeling whitt's conception of it as generally of language, and an authentic stamp hendecasyllabic.
of art, that claim the most genial and Let the position of Chaucer in the sympathizing respect of a refined history of his art be considered, and posterity, to their not wholly unreit will be seen that those who main- fined, more heroic ancestors. tain a systematic art in him have a
INDEX TO VOL. LVII.
About a bonnet, 242.
I. concluded, The Palimpsest, 739
Levana and our Ladies of Sorrow, 743
-Finale to Part I., Savannah-la-Mar,
No. II. about a bonnet, 242-No. Critics, the British—see British.
Dance of death, from Goethe, 167.
Death trance, from Goethe, 177.
Delta, stanzas written after the funeral
Drama and the novel, the, 679.
Dress, æsthetics of, a case of hats, 51–
The cut of a coat and the good of a
Dryden as a critic, 133, 369, 503—as a
translator,511-on Chaucer, 617,77I.
Egypt, sketches of, 286.
English woman in Egypt, the, 286.
Etruria Celtica, review of, 474.
No. I. Dryden, 133_No. II. Dryden of, 529.
Forced sale, the, 99—Chap. II., 103
Chap. III, 107_Chap. IV., 111.
France, state of manners, &c., in, before
George III., review of Walpole's me-
moirs of, 353.
German-American romances - The
Mexico in 1812_Part I., Introduc-
tion, 251_Chap. I., 257 Chap, XI,
262—Part II., 331 - Chap. XVIII.,
345—Chap., XXIII., 349-Part III.,
a sequel to. Introductory notice, 269 Glance at the Peninsula, 595.
Grant to Maynooth, the, 647.
O'Donnell, governor of Cuba, 605.
Opium-Eater, a sequel to the confes-
sions of the, introductory notice, 269
Part I. The affliction of childhood,
apparition of the Brocken,747—Finale
to Part I., Savannah-la-Mar, 750.
Overland passage, the, 204.
Park, the, from Goethe, 178.
Peel, E. Borodino, an ode by, 30.
Peninsula, a glance at the, 695.
Philomela, from Goethe, 177.
Phæbus and Hermes, from Goethe, 179.
Poems and ballads of Goethe, No. III.
Thule, 166—the dance of death, 167
- the fairest flower, 168---sorrow
tears, ib.- to a golden heart, 171–
ing, 173-a calm at sea, ib.—the
breeze, ib.—the cavalier's choice,
- Part XV., 75--Part XVI., 461 bandman, ib.—Anacreon's grave, ib.
the brothers, 176_Love's hour-
glass, ib.-warning, ib.-solitude, ib.
- perfect bliss, ib.—the chosen rock,
mela, ib.--sacred ground, ib.—the
park, 178—the teachers, ib.-mar-
exculpation, 179—the muses' mirror,
ib.-Phoebus and Hermes, ib.-a new
Chap. II., 431– Chap. III., 439– Alp, ib.
Poetry :-Borodino, an ode, by E. Peel,
94—to a blind girl, 98_Vanities in
verse, by B. Simmons, 114—the
coe, 158_ the poems and ballads of
Goethe, No. II. 165–stanzas by
J. D., 314— stanzas written after the
fnneral of Sir David Milne, by Delta,
mas Hood, by B. Simmons, 768.
Poetry, on the translation of, 507.
No. I., Dryden, 133_No. II., Dryden 529.
Pope, critique on, 369.