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affected-in the common duties of society is a greater portion of slavery than can be inflicted by the most despotic fovereign.”
The rapidity with which this fatirical oration was delivered, did not permit a single word to be thrust in by way of interruption--but no sooner was it concluded, than the company made amends for their retention, by all speaking together; fome to commend, but most to object. Adrastus being truly sensible of his indiscretion, with great dispatch paid for his ordinary, and left the company to cut up his argument as a desert to their dinner.
RHYME is allowed not to have existed until after the classical ages, on which account it is held by some to be barbarous; others think it fo congenial with modern languages, that our poetry cannot subsist without it-Milton seems to have been of the former opinion, and Dr. Johnson of the latter.
On this subject, as well as many others, we should form rules from authorized practice, and not force great geniuses to submit to our regulations. Pofleffing so much exquisite poetry in rhyme, let us not call rhyme barbarous; and when reading Milton and Shakespeare, can we say that rhyme is essential to poetry? From the effect of rhyme and blank
verse, when used by good poets, we may venture upon some distinctions, although we dare not make laws.
When we read the Iliad by Pope, and the Paradise Lost, we are ready to pronounce, from their difference, that long poems ought to be in blank verse:* and short ones, being constantly in rhyme, (with a very few exceptions) we may be assured that they ought to be so. There is certainly a difference of character between long and short pieces—a poem of length is not many short ones put together, nor will a small part of a long poem make a short one. Take any detached part of the Paradise Lost, however beautiful, yet it evidently belongs to some great whole; whereas a short piece has
* The Lycidas and Samson Agonistes of Milton have rhymes in a scattered irregular manner, which is a very pleasing structure for a poem of length- , it gives a connection of parts without the constant artificial return of the stanza or couplet.
the air of something begun, and concluded, in a few lines. There is a greatness of design and a breadth of pencilling is the one-a neatness of touch and highfinishing in the other. In some
few instances both these qualities are united: Hudibras and the Alma, although poems of length, have all the point of epigrain. If then high-finishing and neatness be characteristics of short pieces, it accounts for rhyme being so essential to their
per-fection-blank verse, as before observed, belongs to something large in design and manner. Another effential of linall
poeins is, that the conclusion should have something to mark it. As I have mentioned this more at large elsewhere, I hall only here remark, that Horace's Odcs in general are deficient in this particular, and that the short pieces of Voltaire never want it.
Another effect of rhyme is, connecting the
parts of the poem, as far as the struc
ture is concerned. To shew the good effects of this connection was the occasion of the above prefatory remarks; and, by reducing it to a figure, perhaps we may have a rule for judging of the merit of different dispositions of rhyme in the various species of poetry.
which has the appearance of two things joined together, or one divided into halves.