El arte de la Poesía inglesa
In two things (right honorable) it is generally agreed that man excels all other creatures, in reason, and speech: and in them by how much one man surpasseth an other, by so much the neerer he aspires to a celestiall essence.
Poesy in all kind of speaking is the chiefe beginner, and maintayner of eloquence, not only helping the eare with the acquaintance of sweet numbers, but also raysing the minde to a more high and lofty conceite. For this end haue I studyed to induce a true forme of versefying into our language: for the vulgar and vnarteficiall custome of riming hath I know deter'd many excellent wits from the exercise of English Poesy. The obseruations which I haue gathered for this purpose, I humbly present to your Lordship, as to the noblest iudge of Poesy, and the most honorable protector of all industious learning; which if your Honour shall vouchsafe to receiue, who both in your publick, and priuate Poemes haue so deuinely crowned your fame, what man will dare to repine? or not striue to imitate them? Wherefore with all humility I subiect my selfe and them to your gratious fauour, beseeching you in the noblenes of your mind to take in worth so simple a present, which by some worke drawne from my more serious studies, I wil hereafter endeuour to excuse.
Intreating of numbers in general
There is no writing too breefe, that without obscuritie comprehends the intent of the writer. These my late obseruations in English Poesy I haue thus briefely gathered, that they might proue the lesse troublesome in perusing, and the more apt to be retayn'd in memorie. And I will first generally handle the nature of Numbers. Number is discreta quantitas, so that when we speake simply of number, we intend only the disseuer'd quantity; But when we speake of a Poeme written in number, we consider not only the distinct number of the sillables, but also their value, which is contained in the length or shortnes of their sound. As in Musick we do not say a straine of so many notes, but so many sem'briefes (though sometimes there are no more notes then sem'briefes) so in a verse the numeration of the sillables is not so much to be obserued, as their waite, and due proportion. In ioyning of words to harmony there is nothing more offensiue to the eare then to place a long sillable with a short note, or a short sillable with a long note, though in the last the vowell often beares it out. The world is made by Simmetry and proportion, and is in that respect compared to Musick, and Musick to Poetry: for Terence saith speaking of Poets, artem qui tractant musicam, confounding musick and Poesy together. What musick can there be where there is no proportion obserued? Learning first flourished in Greece, from thence it was deriued unto the Romaines, both diligent obseruers of the number, and quantity of sillables, not in their verses only, but likewise in their prose. Learning after the declining of the Romaine Empire, and the pollution of their language through the conquest of the Barbarians, lay most pitifully deformed, till the time of Erasmus, Rewcline, Sir Thomas More, and other learned men of that age, who brought the Latine toong out of the hands of the illiterate Monks and Friers: as a coffing booke, entituled Epistolæ obscurorum virorum, may sufficiently testifie. In those lack-learning times, and in barbarized Italy, began that vulgar and easie kind of Poesie which is now in vse throughout most parts of Christendome, which we abusiuely call Rime, and Meeter, of Rithmus and Metrum, of which I will now discourse.
Declaring the unaptnesse of Rime in Poesie
I am not ignorant that whosoeuer shall by way of reprehension examine the imperfections of Rime, must encounter with many glorious enemies, and those very expert, and ready at their weapon, that can if need be extempore (as they say) rime a man to death. Besides there is growne a kind of prescription in the vse of Rime, to forestall the right of true numbers, as also the consent of many nations, against all which it may seeme a thing almost impossible, and vaine to contend. All this and more can not yet deterre me from a lawful defence of perfection, or make me any whit the sooner adheare to that which is lame and vnbeseeming. For custome I alleage, that ill vses are to be abolisht, and that things naturally imperfect can not be perfected by vse. Old customes, if they be better, why should they not be recald, as the yet florishing custome of numerous poesy vsed among the Romanes and Grecians: But the vnaptnes of our toongs, and the difficulty of imitation dishartens vs; againe the facilitie & popularitie of Rime creates as many Poets, as a hot summer flies. But let me now examine the nature of that which we call Rime. By Rime is vnderstoode that which ends in the like sound, so that verses in such maner composed, yeeld but a continual repetition of that Rhetoricall figure which we tearme similiter desinentia, and that being but figura verbi, ought (as Tully and all the other Rhetoritians haue iudicially obseru'd) sparingly to be vsd, least it should offend the eare with tedious affectation. Such was that absurd following of the letter amongst our English so much of late affected, but now hist out of Paules Churchyard: which foolish figuratiue repetition crept also into the Latine toong, as it is manifest in the booke of Ps cald prælia porcorum, and an other pamphlet all of Fs, which I haue seene imprinted; but I will leaue these follies to their owne ruine, and returne to the matter intended. The eare is a rational sence, and a chiefe iudge of proportion, but in our kind of riming what proportion is there kept, where there remaines such a confused inequalitie of sillables? Iambick and Trochaick feete which are opposed by nature, are by all Rimers confounded, nay oftentimes they place in stead of an Iambick the foote Pyrrychius, consisting of two short sillables, curtalling their verse, which they supply in reading with a ridiculous, and vnapt drawing of their speech.
As for example: Was it my desteny, or dismall chaunce? In this verse the two last sillables of the word, Desteny, being both short, and standing for a whole foote in the verse, cause the line to fall out shorter then it ought by nature. The like impure errors haue in time of rudenesse bene vsed in the Latine toong, as the Carmina prouerbialia can witnesse, and many other such reuerend bables. But the noble Grecians and Romaines whose skilfull monuments outliue barbarisme, tyed themselues to the strict obseruation of poeticall numbers, so abandoning the childish titillation of riming, that it was imputed a great error to Quid for setting forth this one riming verse, Quot coelum stellas tot habet tua Roma puellas.
For the establishing of this argument, what better confirmation can be had, then that of Sir Thomas Moore in his booke of Epigrams, where he makes two sundry Epitaphs vpon the death of a singing man at Westminster, the one in learned numbers and dislik't, the other in rude rime and highly extold: so that he concludes, tales lactucas talia labra petunt, like lips, like lettuce. But there is yet another fault in Rime altogether intollerable, which is, that it inforceth a man oftentimes to abiure his matter, and extend a short conceit beyond all bounds of arte: for in Quatorzens me thinks the Poet handles his subiect as tyrannically as Procrustes the thiefe his prisoners, whom when he had taken, he vsed to cast vpon a bed, which if they were too short to fill, he would stretch them longer, if too long, he would cut them shorter. Bring before me now any the most selfe-lou'd Rimer, & let me see if without blushing he be able to reade his lame halting rimes. Is there not a curse of Nature laid vpon such rude Poesie, when the Writer is himself asham'd of it, and the hearers in contempt call it Riming and Ballating? What Deuine in his Sermon, or graue Counsellor in his Oration will alleage the testimonie of a rime? But the deuinity of the Romaines and Gretians was all written in verse: and Aristotle, Galene, and the bookes of all the excellent Philosophers are full of the testimonies of the old Poets. By them was laid the foundation of all humane wisedome, and from them the knowledge of all antiquitie is deriued. I will propound but one question, and so conclude this point. If the Italians, Frenchmen and Spanyards, that with commendation haue written in Rime, were demaunded whether they had rather the bookes they haue publisht (if their toong would beare it) should remaine as they are in Rime, or be translated onto the auncient numbers of the Greekes and Romaines, would they not answere into numbers? What honour were it then for our English language to be the first that after so many yeares of barbarisme could second the perfection of the industrious Greekes and Romaines? which how it may be effected I will now proceede to demonstrate.
Of our English numbers in general
There are but three feete, which generally distinguish the Greeke and Latine verses, the Dactil consisting of one long sillable and two short, as viuere[,] the Trochy, of one long and one short, as vita,, and the Iambick of one short and one long, as amor. The Spondee of two long, the Tribrach of three short, the Anapæstick of two short and a long, are but as seruants to the first. Diuers other feete I know are by the Grammarians cited, but to little purpose. The Heroical verse that is distinguisht by the Dactile, hath bene oftentimes attempted in our English toong, but with passing pitifull successe: and no wonder, seeing it is an attempt altogether against the nature of our language. For both the concurse of our monasillables make our verses vnapt to slide, and also if we examine our polysillables, we shall finde few of them by reason of their heauinesse, willing to serue in place of a Dactile. Thence it is, that the writers of English heroicks do so often repeate Amyntas, Olympus, Auernus, Erinnis, and such like borrowed words, to supply the defect of our hardly intreated Dactile. I could in this place set downe many ridiculous kinds of Dactils which they vse, but that it is not my purpose here to incite men to laughter. If we therefore reiect the Dactil as vnfit for our vse (which of necessity we are enforst to do) there remayne only the Iambick foote, of which the Iambicke verse is fram'd, and the Trochee, from which the Trochaick numbers haue their originall. Let vs now then examine the property of these two feete, and try if they consent with the nature of our English sillables. And first for the Iambicks, they fall out so naturally in our toong, that if we examine our owne writers, we shall find they vnawares hit oftentimes vpon the true Iambick numbers, but alwayes ayme at them as far as their eare without the guidance of arte can attaine vnto, as it shall hereafter more euidently appeare. The Trochaick foote which is but an Iambick turn'd ouer and ouer, must of force in like manner accord in proportion with our British sillables, and so produce an English Trochaicall verse. Then hauing these two principall kinds of verses, we may easily out of them deriue other formes, as the Latines and Greekes before vs haue done, whereof I will make plaine demonstration, beginning at the Iambick verse.
Of the Iambick verse
I Have obserued, and so may any one that is either practis'd in singing, or hath a naturall eare able to time a song, that the Latine verses of sixe feete, as the Heroick and Iambick, or of fiue feete, as the Trochaick are in nature all of the same length of sound with our English verses of fiue feete, for either of them being tim'd with the hand quinque perficiiunt tempora, they fill vp the quantity (as it were) of fiue sem'briefs, as for example, if any man will proue to time these verses with his hand.
A pure Iambick.
Suis & ipso Roma viribis ruit.
A licentiate Iambick.
Ducunt volentes fata, nolentes trahunt.
Tytere tu patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi.
A Trochaick verse.
Nox est perpetua vna dormienda.
English Iambicks pure.
The more secure, the more the stroke we feele
Of vnpreuented harms; so gloomy stormes
Appeare the sterner if the day be cleere.
Th'English Iambick licentiate.
Hark how these winds do murmur at thy flight.
The English Trochee.
Still where Enuy leaues, remorse doth enter.
The cause why these verses differing in feete yeeld the same length of sound, is by reason of some rests which either the necessity of the numbers, or the heauines of the sillables do beget. For we find in musick, that oftentimes the straines of a song can not be reduct to true number without some rests prefixt in the beginning and middle, as also at the close if need requires. Besides, our English monasillables enforce many breathings which no doubt greatly lengthen a verse, so that it is no wonder if for these reasons our English verses of fiue feete hold pace with the Latines of sixe. The pure Iambick in English needes small demonstration, because it consists simply of Iambick feete, but our Iambick licentiate offers it selfe to a farther consideration; for in the third and fift place we must of force hold the Iambick foote, in the first, second, and fourth place we may vse a Spondee or Iambick and sometime a Tribrack or Dactile, but rarely an Anapestick foote, and that in the second or fourth place. But why an Iambick in the third place? I answere, that the forepart of the verse may the gentlier slide into his Dimeter, as for example sake deuide this verse: Hark how these winds do murmure at thy flight. Harke how these winds, there the voice naturally affects a rest, then murmur at thy flight, that is of it selfe a perfect number, as I will declare in the next Chapter, and therefore the other odde sillable betweene them ought to be short, least the verse should hang too much betweene the naturall pause of the verse, and the Dimeter following, the which Dimeter though it be naturally Trochaical, yet it seemes to haue his originall out of the Iambick verse. But the better to confirme and expresse these rules, I will set downe a short Poeme in Licentiate Iambicks, which may giue more light to them that shall hereafter imitate these numbers.
Goe numbers boldly passe,
stay not for ayde
Of shifting rime, that easie flatterer
Whose witchcraft can the ruder eares beguile;
Let your smooth feete enur'd to purer arte
True measure tread; what if your pace be slow?
And hops not like the Grecian elegies?
It is yet gracefull, and well fits the state
Of words ill-breathed, and not shap'd to runne:
Goe then, but slowly till your steps be firme,
Tell them that pitty, or peruersely skorne
Poore English Poesie as the slaue to rime,
You are those lofty numbers that reuiue
Triumphs of Princes, and stern tragedies:
And learne henceforth t'attend those happy sprights
Whose bounding fury, height, and waight affects,
Assist their labour, and sit close to them,
Neuer to part away till for desert
Their browes with great Apollos bayes are hid.
He first taught number, and true harmonye,
Nor is the lawrell his for rime bequeath'd,
Call him with numerous accents paisd by arte
He'le turne his glory from the sunny clymes,
The North-bred wits alone to patronise.
Let France their Bartas, Italy Tasso prayse,
Phæbus shuns none, but in their flight from him.
Though as I said before, the naturall breathing place of our English Iambick verse is in the last sillable of the second foote, as our Trochy after the manner of the Latine Heroick and Iambick rests naturally in the first of the third foote: yet no man is tyed altogether to obserue this rule, but he may alter it, after the iudgement of his eare, which Poets, Orators, and Musitiens of all men ought to haue most excellent. Againe, though I said peremptorily before, that the third, and fift place of our licentiate Iambick must alwayes hold an Iambick foote, yet I will shew you example in both places where a Tribrack may be very formally taken, and first in the third place, some trade in Barbary, some in Turkey trade.
An other example: Men that
do fall to misery, quickly fall. If you doubt whether the first of misery be
naturally short or no, you may iudge it by the easie sliding of these two verses
The first: Whome misery can not alter, time deuours.
The second: What more vnhappy life, what misery more?
Example of the Tribrack in
the fift place, as you may perceiue in the last foote of the fift verse.
Some from the starry throne his fame deriues,
Some from the mines beneth, from trees, or herbs,
Each hath his glory, each his sundry gift,
Renown'd in eu'ry art there liues not any.
To proceede farther, I see no reason why the English Iambick in his first place may not as well borrow a foote of the Trochy, as our Trochy or the Latine Hendicasillable may in the like case make bold with the Iambick: but it must be done euer with this caveat, which is, that a Sponde, Dactile or Tribrack do supply the next place: for an Iambick beginning with a short sillable, and the other ending before with the like, would too much drinke vp the verse if they came immediately together.
The example of the Sponde
after the Trochy.
As the faire sonne the lightsome heau'n adorns.
The example of the Dactil.
Noble, ingenious, and discreetly wise.
The example of the Tribrack.
Beawty to ielosie brings ioy, sorrow, feare.
Though I haue set downe these second licenses as good and ayreable enough, yet for the most part my first rules are general.
These are those numbers which Nature in our English destinates to the Tragick, and Heroik Poeme: for the subiect of them both being all one, I see no impediment why one verse may not serue for them both, as it appeares more plainely in the old comparison of the two Greeke writers, when they say, Homerus est Sophocles heroicus, and againe, Sophocles est Homerus tragicus, intimating that both Sophocles and Homer are the same in height and subiect, and differ onely in the kinde of their numbers.
The Iambick verse in like manner being yet made a little more licentiate, that it may thereby the neerer imitate our common talke, will excellently serue for Comedies, and then may we vse a Sponde in the fift place, and in the third place any foote except a Trochy, which neuer enters into our Iambick verse, but in the first place, and then with his caueat of the other feete which must of necessitie follow.
Of the Iambick Dimeter, or English march
The Dimeter (so called in the former Chapter) I intend next of all to handle, because it seems to be a part of the Iambick which is our most naturall and auncient English verse. We may terme this our English march, because the verse answers our warlick forme of march in similitude of number. But call it what you please, for I will not wrangle about names, only intending to set down the nature of it and true structure. It consists of two feete and one odde sillable. The first foote may be made either a Trochy, or a Spondee, or an Iambick at the pleasure of the composer, though most naturally that place affects a Trochy or Spondee; yet by the example of Catullus in his Hendicasillables, I adde in the first place sometimes an Iambick foote. In the second place, we must euer insert a Trochy or Tribrack, and so leaue the last sillable (as in the end of a verse it is alwaies held) common. Of this kinde I will subscribe three examples, the first being a peece of a Chorus in a Tragedy:
Rauing warre begot
In the thirstye sands
Of the Lybian Iles
Wasts our emptye fields,
What the greedye rage
Of fell wintry stormes,
Could not turne to spoile,
Fierce Bellona now
Hath laid desolate,
Voyd of fruit, or hope.
Th'eger thriftye hinde
Whose rude toyle reuiu'd
Our skie-blasted earth
Himselfe is but earth,
Left a scorne to fate
Through seditious armes:
And that soile, aliue
Which he duly nurst,
Which him duly fed,
Dead his body feeds:
Yet not all the glebe
His tuffe hands manur'd
Now one turfe affords
His poore funerall.
Thus still needy liues,
Thus still needy dyes
An example Lyrical:
Greatest in thy wars,
Greater in thy peace
Our muse only Truth
Figments can not vse
Thy ritch name to deck
That it selfe adornes:
But should now this age
Let all poesye fayne,
Fayning poesy could
Nothing faine at all
Worthy halfe thy fame.
An example Epigrammicall:
Kind in euery kinde
This deare Ned resolue,
Neuer of thy prayse
Be too prodigall;
He that prayseth all
Can praise truly none.
Of the English Trochaick verse
Next in course to be intreated is the English Trochaick, being a verse simple, and of it selfe depending. It consists, as the Latine Trochaick of fiue feete, the first whereof may be a Trochy, a Spondee, or an Iambick, the other foure of necessity all Trochyes, still holding this rule authenticall, that the last sillable of a verse is alwayes common. The spirit of this verse most of all delight in Epigrams, but it may be diuersly vsed, as shall hereafter be declared. I haue written diuers light Poems in this kinde, which for the better satisfaction of the reader, I thought conuenient here in way of example to publish. In which though sometimes vnder a knowne name I haue shadowed a fain'd conceit, yet it is done without reference, or offence to any person, and only to make the stile appeare the more English.
The first Epigramme:
Lockley spits apace, the
rhewme he cals it,
But no drop (though often vrged) he straineth
From his thirstie iawes, yet all the morning,
And all day he spits, in eu'ry corner,
At his meales he spits, at eu'ry meeting,
At the barre he spits before the Fathers,
In the Court he spits before the Graces,
In the Church he spits, thus all prophaning
With that rude disease, that empty spitting:
Yet no cost he spares, he sees the Doctors,
Keepes a strickt diet, precisely vseth
Drinks and bathes drying, yet all preuailes not.
'Tis not China (Lockley) Salsa Guacum,
Nor dry Sassafras can helpe, or ease thee;
'Tis no humor hurts, it is thy humor.
The second Epigramme:
Cease fond wretch to loue
so oft deluded,
Still made ritch with hopes, still vnrelieued,
Now fly her delaies; she that debateth
Feeles not true desire, he that deferred
Others times attends, his owne betrayeth:
Learne t'affect thy selfe, thy cheekes deformed
With pale care reuiuie by timely pleasure,
Or with skarlet heate them, or by paintings
Make thee louely, for such arte she vseth
Whome in vayne so long thy folly loued.
The third Epigramme:
Kate can fancy only
Thats the cause she shakes off eu'ry suter,
Thats the cause she liues so stale a virgin,
For before her heart can heate her answer,
Her smooth youths she finds all hugely berded.
The fourth Epigramme:
All in sattin Oteny will
Beaten sattin (as by chance he cals it)
Oteny sure will haue the bastinado.
The fift Epigramme:
Tosts as snakes or as the
Hunks detests when huffcap ale he tipples,
Yet the bread he graunts the fumes abateth:
Therefore apt in ale, true, and he graunts it,
But it drinks vp ale, that Hunks detesteth.
The sixt Epigramme:
What though Harry braggs,
let him be noble,
Noble Harry hath not halfe a noble.
The seventh Epigramme:
Phæbe all the rights
Mighty riuall, in this only diff'ring
That shees only true, thou only fayned.
The eight Epigramme:
Barnzy stiffly vowes that
hees no Cuckold,
Yet the vulgar eu'ry where salutes him
With strange signes of hornes, from eu'ry corner,
Wheresoere he commes a sundry Cucco
Still frequents his eares, yet hees no Coccold.
But this Barnzy knowes that his Matilda
Skorning him with Haruy playes the wanton;
Knowes it? nay desires it, and by prayers
Dayly begs of heau'n, that it for euer
May stand firme for him, yet hees no Cuccold:
And tis true, for Haruy keeps Matilda,
Fosters Barnzy, and relieues his houshold,
Buyes the Cradle, and begets the children,
Payes the Nurces eu'ry charge defraying,
And thus truly playes Matildas husband:
So that Barnzy now becomes a cypher,
And himselfe th'adultrer of Matilda.
Mock not him with hornes, the case is alterd,
Haruy beares the wrong, he proues the Cuccold.
The ninth Epigramme:
Buffe loues fat vians, fat
ale, fat all things,
Keepes fat whores, fat offices, yet all men
Him fat only wishes to feast the gallous.
The tenth Epigramme:
Smith by sute diuorst, the
Freshly weds againe; what ayles the mad-cap
By this fury? euen so theeues by frailty
Of their hempe reseru'd, againe the dismall
Tree embrace, againe the fatall halter.
The eleventh Epigramme:
His late loss the
Wiuelesse Higs in order
Eu'rywhere bewailes to friends, to strangers;
Tels them how by night a yongster armed
Saught his Wife (as hand in hand he held her)
With drawne sword to force, she cryed, he mainely
Roring ran for ayde, but (ah) returning
Fled was with the prize the beawty-forcer,
Whome in vaine he seeks, he threats, he followes.
Chang'd is Hellen, Hellen hugs the stranger
Safe as Paris in the Greeke triumphing.
Therewith his reports to teares he turneth,
Peirst through with the louely Dames remembrance;
Straight he sighes, he raues, his haire he teareth,
Forcing pitty still by fresh lamenting.
Cease unworthy, worthy of thy fortunes,
Thou that couldst so faire a prize deliuer,
For feare vnregarded, vndefended,
Hadst no heart I thinke, I know no liuer.
The twelfth Epigramme:
Why droopst thou Trefeild?
will Hurst the Banker
Make dice of thy bones? by heau'n he can not;
Can not? whats the reason? ile declare it,
Th'ar all growne so pockie, and so rotten.
Of the English Elegeick verse
The Elegeick verses challenge the next place, as being of all compound verses the simplest. They are deriu'd out of our owne naturall numbers as neere the imitation of the Greekes and Latines, as our heauy sillables will permit. The first verse is a meere licentiate Iambick; the second is fram'd of two vnited Dimeters. In the first Dimeter we are tyed to make the first foote either a Trochy or a the second a Trochy, and the odde sillable of it alwaies long. The second Dimeter consists of two Trochyes (because it requires more swiftness then the first) and an odde sillable, which being last, is euer common. I will giue you example both of Elegye and Epigramme, in this kinde.
Constant to none, but euer
false to me,
Traiter still to loue through thy faint desires,
Not hope of pittie now nor vaine redresse
Turns my griefs to teares, and renu'd laments
Too well thy empty vowes, and hollow thoughts
Witnes both thy wrongs, and remorseles hart.
Rue not my sorrow, but blush at my name,
Let thy bloudy cheeks guilty thoughts betray.
My flames did truly burne, thine made a shew,
As fires painted are which no heate retayne,
Or as the glossy Pirop faines to blaze,
But toucht cold appeares, and an earthy stone,
True cullours deck thy cheeks, false foiles thy brest,
Frailer then thy light beawty is thy minde.
None canst thou long refuse, nor long affect,
But turn'st feare with hopes, sorrow with delight,
Delaying, and deluding eu'ry way
Those whose eyes are once with thy beawty chain'd.
Thrice happy man that entring first thy loue,
Can so guide the straight raynes of his desires,
That both he can regard thee, and refraine:
If grac't, firme he stands, if not, easely falls.
Example of Epigrams, in Elegeick verse:
The first Epigramme:
Arthure brooks only those
that brooke not him,
Those he most regards, and deuoutly serues:
But them that grace him his great brau'ry skornes,
Counting kindnesse all duty, not desert:
Arthure wants forty pounds, tyres eu'ry friend,
But finds none that holds twenty due for him.
The second Epigramme:
If fancy can not erre
which vertue guides,
In thee Laura then fancy can not erre.
The third Epigramme:
Drue feasts no Puritans,
the churles he saith
Thanke no men, but eate, praise God, and depart.
The fourth Epigramme:
A wiseman wary liues, yet
Sorrowes moue not him greatly, nor delights.
Fortune and death he skorning, only makes
Th'earth his sober Inne, but still heau'n his home.
The fift Epigramme:
Thou telst me Barnzy
Dawson hath a wife,
Thine he hath I gruant, Dawson hath a wife.
The sixt Epigramme:
Drue giues thee money, yet
thou thankst not him,
But thankst God for him, like a godly man.
Suppose rude Puritan thou begst of him,
And he saith God help, who's the godly man?
The seventh Epigramme:
All wonders Barnzy speakes,
all grosely faind,
Speake some wonder once Barnzy, speake the truth.
The eight Epigramme:
None then should through
thy beawty Lawra pine,
Might sweet words alone ease a loue-sick heart:
But your sweet words alone that quit so well
Hope of friendly deeds kill the loue-sick heart.
The ninth Epigramme:
At all thou frankly
throwst, while Frank thy wife
Bars not Luke the mayn, Oteny barre the bye.
Of Ditties and Odes
To descend orderly from the more simple numbers to them that are the more compounded, it is now time to handle such verses as are fit for Ditties or Odes; which we may call Lyricall, because they are apt to be soong to an instrument, if they were adorn'd with conuenient notes. Of that kind I will demonstrate three in this Chapter, and in the first we will proceede after the manner of the Saphick which is a Trochaicall verse as well as the Hendicasillable in Latine. The first three verses therefore in our English Saphick are meerely those Trochaicks which I handled in the sixt Chapter, excepting only that the first foote of either of them must euer of necessity be a Spondee, to make the number more graue. The fourth and last closing verse is compounded of three Trochyes together, to giue a more smooth faewell, as you may easily obserue in this Poeme made vpon a Triumph at Whitehall, whose glory was dasht with an vnwelcome showre, hindring the people from the desired sight of her Maiestie.
The English Sapphick:
Faiths pure shield the
Englands glory crownd with all deuinenesse,
Liue long with triumphs to blesse thy people at thy sight triumphing.
Loe they sound, the Knights in order armed
Entring th[e]reat the list, adrest to combat
For their courtly loues; he, hees the wonder whome Eliza graceth.
Their plum'd pomp the vulgar heaps detaineth,
And rough steeds, let vs the still deuices
Close obserue, the speeches and the musicks peacefull arms adorning.
But whence showres so fast this angry tempest,
Clowding dimme the place? behold Eliza
This day shines not here, this heard, the launces and thick heads do vanish.
The second kinde consists of Dimeter, whose first foote may either be a Sponde or a Trochy: The two verses following are both of them Trochaical, and consist of foure feete, the first of either of them being a Spondee or Trochy, the other three only Trochyes. The fourth and last verse is made of two Trochyes. The number is voluble and fit to expresse any amorous conceit.
Rose-cheekt Lawra come
Sing thou smoothly with thy beawties
Silent musick, either other sweetely gracing.
Louely formes do flowe
From concent deuinely framed,
Heau'n is musick, and thy beawties birth is heauenly.
These dull notes we sing
Discords neede for helps to grace them,
Only beawty purely louing knowes no discord.
But still mooues delight
Like cleare springs renu'd by flowing,
Euer perfet, euer in themselues eternall.
The third kind begins as the second kind ended, with a verse consisting of two Trochy feete, and then as the second kind had in the middle two Trochaick verses of foure feete, so this hath three of the same nature, and ends in a Dimeter as the second began. The Dimeter may allow in the first place a Trochy or a Spondee, but no Iambick.
Kindest loue, yet only chastest,
Royall in thy smooth denyals,
Frowning or demurely smiling still my pure delight.
Let me view thee
With thoughts and with eyes affected,
And if then the flames do murmur,
Quench them with thy vertue, charme them with thy stormy browes.
Heau'n so cheerefull
Laughs not euer, hory winter
Knowes his season, euen the freshest
Sommer mornes from angry thunder let not still secure.
Of the Anacreontick verse
If any shall demaund the reason why this number being in it selfe simple, is plac't after so many compounded numbers, I aunswere, because I hold it a number too licentiate for a higher place, and in respect of the rest imperfect, yet is it passing gracefull in our English toong, and will excellently fit the subiect of a Madrigall, or any other lofty or tragicall matter. It consists of two feete, the first may be either a Sponde or Trochy, the other must euer represent the nature of a Trochy, as for example:
Though with mischiefe
Arm'd, like whirlewind
Now she flyes thee;
Time can conquer
Loue can alter
Till death faint not
Then but followe.
Could I catch that
Swift foote Lawra,
Soone then would I
Prostrate then to
Beg for mercye.
Thus haue I briefly
described eight seuerall kinds of English numbers simple or compound. The first
was our Iambick pure and licentiate. the second, that which I call our Dimeter,
being deriued either from the end of our Iambick, or from the beginning of our
Trochaick. The third which I deriued was our English Trochaick verse. The fourth
our English Elegeick. The fift, sixt, and seauenth, were our English Sapphick,
and two other Lyricall numbers, the one beginning with that verse which I call
our Dimeter, the other ending with the same. The eight and last was a kind of
Anacreontick verse, handled in this Chapter. These numbers which by my long
obseruation I haue found agreeable with the nature of our sillables, I haue set
forth for the benefit of our language, which I presume the learned will not only
imitate, but also polish and amplifie with their owne inuentions. Some eares
accustomed altogether to the fatnes of rime, may perhaps except against the
cadences of these numbers, but let any man iudicially examine them, and he shall
finde they close of themselues so perfectly, that the help of rime were not only
in them superfluous, but also absurd. Moreouer, that they agree with the nature
of our English it is manifest, because they entertaine so willingly our owne
British names, which the writers in English Heroicks could neuer aspire vnto,
and euen our Rimers themselues haue rather delighted in borrowed names then in
their owne, though much more apt and necessary. But it is now time that I
proceade to the censure of our sillables, and that I set such lawes vpon them as
by imitation, reason, or experience, I can confirme. Yet before I enter into
that discourse, I will briefly recite, and dispose in order all such feete as
are necessary for composition of the verses before described. They are sixe in
number, three whereof consist of two sillables, and as many of three.
Feete of two sillables.
Sponde: as reuenge.
Feete of three sillables.
Dactile: as miserie.
Of the quantity of English sillables
The Greekes in the quantity of their sillables were farre more licentious then the Latines, as Martiall in his Epigramme of Earinon witnesseth, saying, Musas qui colimus seueriores. But the English may very well challenge much more licence then either of them, by reason it stands chiefely vpon monasillables, which in expressing with the voyce, are of a heauy cariage, and for that cause the Dactil, Trybrack, and Anapestick are not greatly mist in our verses. But aboue all the accent of our words is diligently to be obseru'd, for chiefely by the accent in any language the true value of the sillables is to be measured. Neither can I remember any impediment except position that can alter the accent of any sillable in our English verse. For though we accent the second of Trumpington short, yet is it naturally long, and so of necessity must be held of euery composer. Wherefore the first rule that is to be obserued, is the nature of the accent, which we must euer follow.
The next rule is position, which makes euery sillable long, whether the position happens in one or in two words, according to the manner of the Latines, wherein is to be noted that h is no letter.
Position is when a vowell comes before two consonants, either in one or two words. In one, as in best, e before st, makes the word best long by position. In two words, as in setled loue: e before d in the last sillable of the first word, and l in the beginning of the second makes led in setled long by position.
A vowell before a vowell is alwaies short, as, fliing, diing, going, vnlesse the accent alter it, as in deniing.
The dipthong in the midst of a word is alwaies long, as plaiing deceiuing.
The Synalæphas or Elisions in our toong are either necessary to auoid the hollownes and gaping in our verse as to, and the, t'inchaunt, th'inchaunter, or may be vsd at pleasure, as for let vs, to say let's, for we will, wee'l, for euery, eu'ry, for they are, th'ar, for he is, hee's, for admired, admir'd, and such like.
Also, because our English Orthography (as the French) differ from our common pronunciation, we must esteeme our sillables as we speake, not as we write, for the sound of them in a verse is to be valued, and not their letters, as for follow, we pronounce follo, for perfect, perfet, for little, littel, for loue-sick, loue-sik, for honour, honor, for money, mony, for dangerous, dangerus, for raunsome, raunsum, for though, tho, and their like.
Deriuatiues hold the quantities of their primatiues, as deuout, deuotelie, prophane, prophanelie, and so do the compositiues, as deseru'd, undeseru'd.
In words of two sillables, if the last haue a full and rising accent that sticks long vpon the voyce, the first sillable is alwayes short, vnlesse position, or the dipthong doth make it long, as desire, preserue, define, prophane, regard, manure, and such like.
If the like disillables at the beginning haue double consonants of the same kind, we may vse the first sillable as common, but more naturally short, because in their pronunciation we touch but one of those double letters, as atend, apeare, opose. The like we may say when silent and melting consonants meete together, as adrest, redrest, oprest, represt, retriu'd, and such like.
Words of two sillables that in their last sillable mayntayne a flat or falling accent, ought to hold their first sillable long, as rigor, glorie, spirit, furie, labour, and the like: any, many, prety, holy, and their like, are excepted.
One obseruation which leades me to iudge of the difference of these dissillables whereof I last spake, I take from the originall monasillable, which if it be graue, as shade, I hold that the first of shadie must be long, so true, trulie, haue, hauing, tire, tiring.
Words of three sillables for the most part are deirued from words of two sillables, and from them take the quantity of their first sillable, as florish, florishing long, holie holines short, but mi, in miser being long, hinders not the first of misery to be short, because the sound of the i is a little altred.
De, di, and pro, in trisillables (the second being short) are long, as desolate, diligent, prodigall.
Re is euer short, as remedie, reference, redolent, reuerend.
Likewise the first of these trisillables is short, as the first of benefit, generall, hideous, memorie, numerous, penetrate, seperat, timerous, variant, various, and so may we esteeme of all that yeeld the like quicknes of sound.
In words of three sillables the quantity of the middle sillable is lightly taken from the last sillable of the originall dissillable, as the last of deuine, ending in a graue or long accent, makes the second of deuining also long, and so espie, espiing, denie, deniing: contrarywise it falles out if the last of the dissallable beares a flat or falling accent, as glorie, gloriing, enuie, enuiing, and so forth. Words of more sillables are eyther borrowed and hold their owne nature, or are likewise deriu'd, and so follow the quantity of their primatiues, or are knowne by their proper accents, or may be easily censured by a iudiciall eare.
All words of two or more sillables ending with a falling accent in y or ye, as fairelie, demurelie, beawtie, pittie; or in e, as parle, Daphne, or in a, as Manna, are naturally short in their last sillables: neither let any man cauill at this licentiate abbreuiating of sillables, contrary to the custome of the Latines, which made all their last sillables that ended in u long, but let him consider that our verse of fiue feete, and for the most part but of ten sillables, and therefore may with sufficient reason aduenture vpon this allowance. Besides, euery man may obserue what an infinite number of sillables both among the Greekes and Romaines are held as common. But words of two sillables ending with a rising accent in y or ye, as denye, descrye, or in ue, as ensue, or in ee, as foresee, or in oe, as forgoe, are long in their last sillables, vnlesse a vowell begins the next word.
All monasillables that end in a graue accent are euer long, as wrath, hath, these, those, tooth, sooth, through, day, play, feate, speede, strife, flow, grow, shew.
The like rule is to be obserued in the last of dissillables, bearing a graue rising sound, as deuine, delaie, retire, refuse, manure, or a graue falling sound, as fortune, pleasure, rampire.
All such as haue a double consonant lengthning them, as warre, barre, starre, furre, murre, appeare to me rather long then any way short.
There are of these kinds other, but of a lighter sound, that if the word following do begin with a vowell are short, as doth, though, thou, now, they, two, too, flye dye, true, due, see, are, far, you, thee, and the like.
Bit if I, or Y, are ioyn'd at the beginning of a word with any vowell, it is not then held as a vowell, but as a consonant, as Ielosy, iewce, iade, ioy, Iudas, ye, yet, yel, youth, yoke. The like is to be obseru'd in w, as winde, wide, wood: and in all words that begin with va, ve, vi, vo, or vu, as vacant, vew, vine, voide, and vulture.
All Monasillables or Polysillables that end in single consonants, either written, or sounded with single consonants, hauing a sharp liuely accent and standing without position of the word following, are short in their last sillable, as scab, fled, parted, God, of, if, bandog, anguish, sick, quick, riual, will, people, simple, come, some, him, them, from, summon, then, prop, prosper, honour, labour, this, his, speches, goddesse, perfect, but, what, that, and their like.
The last sillable of all words in the plurall number that haue two or more vowels before s, are long, as vertues, duties, miseries, fellowes.
These rules concerning the quantity of our English sillables I haue disposed as they came next into my memory, others more methodicall, time and practise may produce. In the meane season, as the Grammarians leaue many sillables to the authority of Poets, so do I likewise leaue many to their iudgements: and withall thus conclude, that there is no Art begun and perfected at one enterprise.