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While the hoarse ocean beats the sounding shore,
Dashed from the strand the flying waters roar,
Flash at the shock, and gathering in a heap,
The liquid mountains rise, and overhang the deep.
But when blue Neptune from his car surveys,
And calms at one regard the raging seas,
Stretched like a peaceful lake the deep subsides,
And the pitched vessel o'er the surface glides.

Pitt's Vida.

This is tame and prosaic, with the exception of the Alexandrine in italics, which is highly expressive and picturesque. I must here quote a couplet from Wordsworth.

And see the children sporting on the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.

The second is a magnificent line, and has an immortal air. The sound and the sense are equally impressive. It is even superior to a similar passage in Shelley.

-And hear the sea
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.

While on the subject of the sea, I may as well also refer to Lord Byron, whose oceanic poetry has many fine illustrations of Pope's favorite rule. What a free, wave-like, sweeping harmony pervades the following exquisite stanza :

Once more upon the waters ! yet once more !
And the waves bound beneath me like a steed
That knows its rider. Welcome to their roar!
Swift be their guidance wheresoe'er it lead !
Though the strained mast should quiver as a reed,
And the rent canvas fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on; for I am as a weed
Flung from the rock on ocean's foam to sail
Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevail !

The harmony of this splendid Spenserean stanza, (a form of verse which Shelley considered inexpressibly delightful) is quite perfect, and the ideas are in unison with the music. portion of its excellence the noble poet was perhaps indebted to James Montgomery, of Sheffield, who had previously written :

For some

Ile only, like the ocean-weed uptorn
And loose along the world of waters borne,
Was cast, companionless, from wave to wave.

In Lord Byron's grand and vivid description of a storm amongst the mountains, there is a specimen of imitative harmony.

Far along
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder!

But let me return to Pope, who after all has given us more specimens of this peculiar beauty than almost any other poet. What an admirable illustration of a lame Alexandrine is the following :

A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
And, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along,

The hitch in the verse at the word drags has an excellent effect and completes the image. But Alexandrines are not always "needless," though in the heroic couplet they can very rarely be introduced without an awkward effect. In winding up the volume of sweet sounds in the Spenserean stanza, their grace and fitness are unquestionable. It is absolutely necessary, however, that the cæsural pause should be after the sixth syllable, or the line halts,

drags, like a wounded snake.” It has always excited my surprise that Shelley, who was deeply learned in the mysteries of versification, should have so frequently transgressed this rule. Byron, Campbell and others have been guilty

and “

of the same error. Even Spenser himself is often at fault in his concluding lines.

The following lines from the Essay on Criticism illustrate the rules they would enforce :

These equal syllables alone require,
Though oft the ear the open vowels tire ;
While expletives their feeble aid do join,

In the next couplet, I think Dryden's name should stand in the place of Denham's. The first line has the “ easy vigour" of which it speaks.

And praise the easy vigour of a line
Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness join.

The anecdote given by Leigh Hunt of Moore's repeating with great gusto, the following lines by Dryden, remarkable for their "easy vigour,” pleasantly occurs to me at this moment :

Let honour and preferment go for gold,
But glorious beauty isn't to be sold.

A comparison of a couplet of Dryden's with two of Doctor Johnson's, places the unaffected force and freedom of the former in a striking light.

Let observation with ertensive view
Survey mankind from China to Peru,
Remark each anxious toil, each euger strife,
And watch the busy scenes of crowded life ;
Then say, &c.

Listen to Glorious John Dryden, and compare his directness with the pompous pleonasms of the anthor of the Rambler.

Look round the habitable world, how few
Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.

* There are, however, many very fine monosyllabic lines in English Poetry.

Hazlitt, I think, mentions that it was Wordsworth who first drew attention to these parallel passages.

The modulation of the following lines from Dryden's “Theodore and Honoria” is in admirable keeping with the subject. The pauses are very happily arranged.

While listening to the murmuring leaves he stood
More than a mile immersed within the wood;
At once the wind was laid ; the whispering sound
Was dumb; a rising earthquake rocked the ground;
With deeper brown the grove was overspread,
A sudden horror seized his giddy head,
And his ears tingled and his colour filed.

Here is another passage of a similar character from the same poet.

The fanning wind upon her bosom blows;
To meet the fanning wind her bosom rose ;
The fanning wind and purling stream continue her repose.

In Dryden's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day (Alexander's Feast) there are numerous adaptations of sound to sense. The repetition of the word fallen in the following lines has a remarkably fine effect.

He sung Darius great and good,

By too severe a fate
Fallen, fallen, fallen, fallen,
Fallen, from his high estate

And weltering in his blood.

There is a similar beauty in the ensuing.

The prince, unable to conceal his pain,

Gazed on the fair

Who caused his care,
And sighed and looked, sighed and looked,

Sighed and looked, and sighed again;
At length with love and wine at once oppressed
The vanquished victor sunk upon her breast.

The variation of the time in the following passage is extremely happy.

Now strike the golden lyre again :
A louder yet, and yet a louder strain ;
Break his bands of sleep asunder,
And rouse him like a rattling peal of thunder!

Hark, hark, the horrid sound
Has raised up his head,
As awaked from his deud,
And amazed he stares around!

Dryden seems to have particularly enjoyed the effect of representative harmony. The following verse from a song in his King Arthur has a very martial sound.

Come, if you dare, our trumpets sound;
Come, if you dare, the foes rebound;

We come, we come, 'we come, we come,
Says the double, double, double, beat of the thundering drum.

This, however, is a repetition of some lines in the first of the author's two Odes for St. Cecilia's Day.

The trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger

And mortal alarms.
The double, double, double beat of the thundering drum

Cries hark! the foes come;
Charge, charge, 'tis too late to retreat.

These noisy lines are perhaps not in the best taste, and remind me of Pope's description of Sir Richard Blackmore :

What! like Sir Richard, rumbling rough and fierce,
With arms and George and Brunswick crowd the verse,
Rend with tremendous sound your ears asunder
With gun, drum, trumpet, blunderbuss and thunder!

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