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So rivers, rapid once, now naked lie, Forsaken of their springs, and leave their channels dry: So man, at first a drop, dilates with heat; Then form'd, the little heart begins to beat; Secret he feeds, unknowing in the cell; At length, for hatching ripe, he breaks the shell, And struggles into breath, and cries for aid ; Then helpless in his mother's lap is laid. He creeps, he walks, and, issuing into man, Grudges their life, from whence his own began; Retchless of laws, affects to rule alone, Anxious to reign, and restless on the throne; First vegetive, then feels, and reasons last; Rich of three souls, and lives all three to waste. Some thus, but thousands more, in flower of age, For few arrive to run the latter stage. Sunk in the first, in battle some are slain, And others whelm'd beneath the stormy main. What makes all this but Jupiter the king, At whose command we perish, and we spring ? Then 'tis our best, since thus ordaind to die, To make a virtue of necessity; Take what he gives, since to rebel is vain; The bad grows better, which we well sustain ; And could we choose the time, and choose aright, 'Tis best to die, our honour'at the height. When we have done our ancestors no shame, But served our friends, and well secured our fame, Then should we wish our happy life to close, And leave no more for fortune to dispose. So should we make our death a glad relief From future shame, from sickness, and from grief; Enjoying, while we live, the present hour, And dying in our excellence and flower. Then round our death-bed every friend should run, And joyous of our conquest early won; While the malicious world, with envious tears, Should grudge our happy end, and wish it theirs. Since then our Arcite is with honour dead, Why should we mourn that he so soon is freed, Or call untimely what the gods decreed? With grief as just, a friend may be deplored, From a foul prison to free air restored, Ought he to thank his kinsman or his wife, Could tears recal him into wretched life?Their sorrow hurts themselves; on him is lost; And worse than botn, offends his happy ghost. What then remains, but after past annoy, To take the good vicissitude of joy; To thank the gracious gods for what they give, Possess our souls, and while we live, to live ? Ordain we then two sorrows to combine, And in one point the extremes of grief to join; That thence resulting joy may be renew'd, As jarring notes in harmony conclude. Then I propose, that Palamon shall be In marriage join'd with beauteous Emily; For which already I have gain'd the assent Of my free people in full parliament. Long love to her has borne the faithful knight, And well deserved, had fortune done him right; 'Tis time to mend her fault, since Emily, By Arcite's death, from former vows is free.

If you, fair sister, ratify the accord,
And take him for your husband and your lord,
"Tis no dishonour to confor your grace
On one descended from a royal race;
And were he less, yet years of service past,
From grateful souls, exact reward at last.
Pity is heaven's and your's; nor can she find
A throne so soft as in a woman's mind,

He said : she blush'd; and, as o'erawed by might,
Seem'd to give Theseus what she gave the knight.
Then, turning to the Theban, thus he said :-
Small arguments are needful to persuade
Your temper to comply with my command :
And, speaking thus, he gave Emilia's hand.
Smiled Venus to behold her own true knight
Obtain the conquest, though he lost the fight;
And bless'd, with nuptial bliss, the sweet laborious night.
Eros and Anteros, on either side,
One fired the bridegroom, and one warm'd the bride;
And long-attending Hymen, from above,
Shower'd on the bed the whole Idalian grove.
All of a tenor was their after-life,
No day discolour'd with domestic strife;
No jealousy, but mutual truth believed,
Secure repose, and kindness undeceived.
Thus Heaven, beyond the compass of his thought,
Sent him the blessing he so dearly bought.

So may the Queen of Love long duty bless,
And all true lovers find the same success.

The time is come in which a cuiri called for in this place, by the collious and instructive chapter in English sion of the two great names, Chaucer criticism-a long one too, possibly- and Dryden. Dryden says-might be written on tbe Versification of Chaucer, and upon the history of “The verse of Chaucer, I confess, is opinions respecting it. Tyrwhitt laid not harmonious to us; but it is like the the basis, in his edition of the Canter eloquence of one whom Tacitus combury Talesthe only work of the an- mends, it was auribus istius temporis cestral poet that can vet fairly be said accommodata. They who lived with to have found an editor-by a text,

him, and some time after him, thought of which the admirable diligence,

it musical; and it continues so, even in fidelity, skill, and sound discretion,

our judgment, if compared with the numwrung energetic and unqualified praise

bers of Lidgate and Gower, his contemfrom the illaudatory pen of Ritson.

poraries :-there is the rude sweetness of But the Grammar of Chaucer has yet

* a Scotch tune in it, which is natural and to be fully drawn out. The profound pleasing, though not perfect. It is true, labours of the continental scholars, late

I cannot go so far as he who published

the last edition of him; for he would or living, on the language that was

make us believe the fault is in our ears, immediate mother to our own, the and that there were really ten syllables Anglo-Saxon, makes that which was in a verse where we find but nine; but in Tyrwhitt's day a thing impossible to this opinion is not worth confuting; it be done, now almost an easy adventure.

is so gross and obvious an crror, that Accomplished, it would at once consi common sense (which is a rule in every derably rectify even Tyrwhitt's text. thing but matters of faith and revelaThe Rules of the Verse, which are tion) must convince the reader that many, and evince a systematic and equality of numbers, in every verse cautious framing, no less than a sen- which we call heroic, was either not sitive musical ear in the patriarch, known, or not always practised in Chauwould follow of themselves. In the cer's age. It were an easy matter to mean time, a few observations, for produce some thousands of his verses which the materials lie at hand, are which are lame for want of half a foot, and sometimes a whole one, and which here and there fal out a sillable shorter no pronunciation can make otherwise. or longer than another, I rather aret We can only say, that he lived in the it to the negligence and rape of Adam infancy of our poetry, and that nothing Scrivener, that I may speak as Chauis brought to perfection at first. We cer doth, than to any unconning or must be children before we grow men. oversight in the Author. For how There was an Ennius, and in process fearful he was to have his works misof time a Lucilius and a Lucretius,

written, or his verse mismeasured, before Virgil and Horace; even after

may appear in the end of his fifth Chaucer there was a Spenser, a Har

book of Troilus and Cresside, where rington, a Fairfax, before Waller and

he writeth thus :Denham were in being; and our numbers were in their nonage till these last

• And for there is so great diversitie, appeared.”

In English and in writing of our tongue,

So pray I God, that none miswrite thee, Strange to say, by the changing Ne thee mismetre for defaut of pronunciation of the language, there tongue,'" &c. grew with time upon the minds of men a doubt, whether or no the

How Speght made up the measure Father of our Poetry wrote verse! The to his own satisfaction does not aptone of Dryden, in the above passage, pear; nor what those methods of prowhen animadverting upon Speght, nunciation may have been which Dryshows that that editor, in standing up

den tried, and which left some thoufor ten syllables, put forth an unusual sand verses deficient by half a foot, opinion; whilst the poet, in alleging or a foot. the deficiency, manifestly agrees with But believing Speght's text to be the opinion of the antique versifica accurate, Dryden could not but betion that had become current in the lieve in the artlessness and irreguworld. He taxes Chaucer, it will be larity of Chaucer's versification. observed, with going wrong on the Speght's test is most inaccurate, and side of deficiency, not of excess; nor altogether undeserving of his own does he blame the interchange even very high opinion, thus expressed in of deficiency and excess, as if the the Dedication to Sir Robert Cecil syllables were often nine and often -“Now, therefore, that both by old eleven. His words leave no room for written copies, and by Master William misconception of their meaning. They Thynn's praiseworthy labours, I have are as detinite as language can supply. reformed the whole worke, whereby * Thousands of the verses are lame Chaucer for the most part is restored for want of half a foot, or of a whole to his owne antiquitie.” In his one." In this sense, then, he intends: Chaucer, Dryden met every where * That equality of numbers, in every such lines as theseverse which we call heroic, was either not known, or not always practised

“ When that April with his shours sote." in Chaucer's age."

“ And small foules maken melodie But as Dryden has been severely That slepen all night with open eie." taken to task by some insignificant “ It befell that season on a day." writers of our day for the above pas

“Ready to wend in my pilgrimage." sage, let us, not for his vindication,

That toward Canterbury would ridebut excuse, take a moment's glance

The chambres and stables weren wide.” at Speght's edition (1602,) which, in Dryden's day, was in high esteem,

To tell you all the condition." and had been at first published on “ Full worthy was he in his lords the recommendation of Speght's “as. warre.” sured and ever-loving friend," the “Aboven all nations in Pruce.” illustrious Francis Beaumont. In

“For to tell you of his array.”

a For to tell you of his array.” his preface, Speght says" and his verses, although in divers places they WC suspect that there was all may seem to us to stand of unequal along a lingering tradition amongst measures, yet a skilful reader that the learned about the virtue of the can scan them in their nature, shall Mute E's. Vestiges of the use octind it otherwise. And if a verse cur in the poets of Elizabeth's time. Wallis, the celebrated grammarian, would be the destruction of all says, that " with our early poets it music. is found that that (final) E did or did Tyrwhitt urges the reason of pronot constitute an additional syllable, nouncing the final E; namely, that just as the structure of the verse re- it remains to us from a language in quired it.” Urry, whose edition of which it formed a syllable. So from Chaucer was published, not long after the Norman French we have fac-E, his death, in 1721, knows for vocal the host-E, chang-E, &c. This is basing the termination in ES, of genitive singular matter on its true ground. It must, and of the plural--also the past tense however, be acknowledged with some and participle in ED, which, however, sorrow, that this well-schooled, clearcan hardly be thought much of, as it minded, and most laborious editor is a power over one mute E that we did not feel himself bound, for the beretain in use to this day. The final hoof of his author, to master, as far E, too, he marks for a syllable where as the philology of the day might have he finds one wanted, but evidently enabled him, the Saxon tongue itself, without any grammatical reason. and learn from the fountain what Urry was an unfortunate editor. might, and what could not be—the Truly does Tyrwhitt say of him, that language of Chaucer. Imperfect as the “ his design of restoring the metre of study of the Anglo-Saxon then was, Chaucer by a collation of MSS., was he would thus have possessed a needas laudable as his execution of it has ful mastery over the manuscripts, certainly been unsuccessful.” The upon which, as it was, he wholly denatural causes of this ill success are pended; and he would have been saved thus severely and distinctly stated, from some unguarded philological as• The strange license in which he sertions and whimsical speculations. appears to have indulged himself, of Wanting this guidance, the work, so lengthening and shortening Chaucer's well executed as it is, is a monument words according to his own fancy, and only the more to be wondered at of of even adding words of his own, his indefatigable industry and extrawithout giving his readers the least ordinary good sense. notice, has made the text of Chaucer Upon any where opening Chaucer, in his edition by far the worst that of the many seemingly defective verses, was ever published.” One is not sur- (Dryden in saying thousands may prised when Tyrwhitt, the model of have exaggerated the number even in a gentlemanly and scholarly editor, a Speght,) by far the greater part will be very pattern of temperate, equitable, found recoverable to measure by that and merciful criticism, cannot refrain restitution of the Mute E which we from closing his preface with this ex- since, too exclusively perhaps, connect tinguishing censure of his wilful pre- with the name of Tyrwhitt. The confidecessor—"Mr Urry's edition should dence felt in his text, however the never be opened by any one for the only one upon which a metrical schopurpose of reading Chaucer.”

lar dares work--in some sort justiMorell, a scholar, published in 1737 fies the honour. Meanwhile, this the Prologue and the Knight's Tale metrical theory, from his time, has

-and he, too, marked at need the been generally received ; and the reMute E's in his text, but by what nown of the founder of our poetry rule Tyrwhitt does not intimate, nor settled on all the wider and firmer do we now distinctly recollect. He basis, when he appears as the earliest courageously holds that the numbers skilled artificer of the verse itself-of Chaucer " are always musical, the ten-syllabled or now national whether they want or exceed the verse, of Shakspeare, Spenser, Milton, complement. But that cannot well Dryden, and Pope. be; for except in very peculiar cases, One starts, therefore, to find a such, for example, as the happy line, name of such distinction as the late “ Gingling in the whistling wind full Laureate's formally opposed to Tyrclear"—if the MS. have it so-a line whitt, and committed to the opinion of nine syllables only must be a lame which may seem to have been Dryone-and their frequent recurrence den's, that the verse of Chaucer is

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16 rhythmical, not metrical." This they's. For we have seen that Souhardly self-explicating distinction of they's ground of distinction is the Dr Geo. Fred. Nott's, Southey in his number of syllables unrestrained or Life of Cowper has explained in set varying, as in Christabel. But Nott terms--a verse for which the number says repeatedly, that the number of of beats or accents is ruled is rhyth- syllables is fixed, namely, to ten; and mical-for example, the verse of Cole of the five beats he says not a word. ridge's Christabel. In that beautiful To extricate Nott's argument (ia poem, the verse is fixed at four beats his edition of Surrey) from entangleor accents, but is free syllabled, ment would not repay a tithe of having six, seven, ten, twelve, or the trouble ; suffice it to say that fourteen. Southey cannot believe be holds that as English verse, bethat the prudent and practical Chau- fore Chaucer, was rhythmical, it is cer would have placed his verse, in- not likely that Chaucer all at once tended for general reception, in the made it metrical. We answer firstjeopardy of a reader's discretion for the question is of a fact offering its determining when the verse required own evidence, not of an anterior likethe sounding, and when the silence, lihood. Secondly-Tyrwhitt's theory of a vowel, by its nature free to be that Chaucer, from his intimacy with sounded or left silent, as exigency the more advanced French and Italian might require. But he misapprehends poetry, adopted their measure, and the proposed remedy; and the discre- stamped art upon a poetry till then tion which he supposes is not given. rude and helpless, has high natural In the two languages from which ours probability, and agrees to the rebeis immediately derived, the Anglo- ment early extollings of Chaucer as a Saxon and the Norman-French, there sovereign master of art. Thirdly-we are found many final syllables, entirely desire a better proof and explanation dropped in our pronunciation, and of the difference between rhythmical many of them in our writing, but and metrical verse than Dr Nott has which in the time of Chaucer were all given, who has placed some extracts still written, and all with the same from these anterior poets at the side vowel E. The metrical hypothesis of some from Chaucer, which prove to which Tyrwhitt's labours gave a just nothing. Fourthly, there was Instre, much heightened by the Anglo- metrical verse in England before Saxon studies abroad and at home of Chaucer, eight-syllabled and fifteenthe present century, bears—first, that syllabled-if no others. Mr Hallam in the language of Chaucer's day (Introduction to the Literature of these syllables were still audible ; and Europe) writes with more commendasecondly, that Chaucer consequently tion of Dr Nott's accomplishments employed them in his versc, like any than they merit; but in the following other syllables, with the due metrical excellent passage he shows his usual value:-herein not, as the Laureate knowledge of his subject, and his usual thought, overruling, but conforming judgment. himself to the use of his mother tongue. To this more than plausible

" It had been supposed to be proved view, which, if the late studies that have

by Tyrwhitt, that Chaucer's lines are

to be read metrically, in ten or eleven been taken in the intelligence of Alfred's speech had been made in Tyr

syllables, like the Italian, and, as I ap

prehend, the French of his time. For whitt's day, would not have waited

this purpose, it is necessary to presume till now for its full establishment, no

that many terminations, now mute, were objection has yet been raised that

syllabically pronounced ; and where seems to deserve the slightest atten

verses prove refractory after all our ention. The Laureate's vanish upon

deavours, Tyrwhitt has no scruple in the mere statement. For Dr Nott,

declaring them corrupt. It may be on whom he triumphantly builds, and

added, that Gray, before the appearwhose proofs he seems to adopt-he is ance of Tyrwhitt's essay on the versifithe weakest and most wrongheaded cation of Chaucer, had adopted without of all possible prosers; and, what is hesitation the same hypothesis. But, more, his opinions, if they deserve according to Dr Nott, the verses of the name, differ toto colo from Sou Chaucer, and of all his successors down

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