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Some Rules which they negle&ted, and that conduce very much to the Ornament of it, have been pra&is'd by the best of the Moderns.
The First is, to avoid as much as possible the Concourse of Vowels, which occasions a certain ill. founding Gaping, call'd by the Latins Hiatus ; and which they thought so disagreeable to the Ear, that, to avoid it, whenever a Word ended in a
Vowel, and the next began with one, they never, even in Prose, Counded the Vowel of the first Word, but lost it in the Pronunciation; and it is a Fault in our Poets not to do the like, whenever our Language will admit of it.
For this reason the e of the Particle The ought always to be cut off before the words that begin by a Vowels; as,
With weeping Eyes she beard th'unwelcome News. Dryd. And it is a Fault to make the and the first Syllable of the following Word Two diftin& Syllables, as in this, Reftrain'd a while by the unwelcome Night.
Wall. A Second fort of Hiatus,and that ought no less to be avoided, is, when a Word that ends in a Vowel that cannot be cut off,
is plac'd before one that begins by the same Vowel, or one that has the like Sound ; as, Should thy lambicks swell into a Book.
Wall. The Second Rule is, to contra& the Two laft Syllables of the Preterperfea Tenses of all the Verbs that will admit of it; which are all the Regular Verbs whatsoever, except only those ending in Dor T, and DE or TE. And it is a Fault to make Amazed of Three Syllables, and Loved of Two, instead of to mar'd of Two, and Lou'd of One.
And the Second Person of the Present and Preterperfect Tenses of all Verbs ought to be contracted in like manner; as tbox lov'jt, for thou loveft, &c.
The Third Rule is, not to make use of several Words in a Verse that begin by the same Letter; as,
The Court he knew to feer in Storms of State.
Dav. Yet we find an Instance of such a Verse in Dryden's Translation of the first Pastoral of Virgil;
Till then a helpless, hopeless, bomely Swain. Which I am perswaded he left not thus through Negligence or Inadvertency, but with delign to paint in the Number and Sound of the Words the teing he describ'd, a Shepherd in whom Nec Spes libertates erat, nec cura peculi.'
Now how far the Sound of the H Aspirate with which Three Feet of that Verse begin, expresses the Despair of the Swain, let the Judicious judge : I have taken notice of it only to say, that 'tis a great Beauty in Poetry, when the Words and Numbers are fo dispos’d, as by their Order and Sound to represent the things describ'd.
The Fourth is, to avoid ending a Verse by an Adje&tive whose Substantive begins the following; as,
Some loft their quiet Rivals, fome their kind
Or, by a Preposition when the Case it governs begins the Verse
The daily lel"ning of our Life, shews by
Wall The Fifth is, to avoid the frequent Use of Words of many Syllables, which are proper enough in Profe, but come not intó Verse without a certain Violence altogether disagreeable ; particularly those whofe Accents is on the Fourth Syllable from the last, as Undutifulness.
Doubts concerning the Number of Syllables of certain
Here is no Language whatsoever that so often joyas
several Vowels together to make Diphthongs of them as ours; this appears in our having several compos'd of Three different Vowels, as EAU and EOU in Beauteous, IOU in Glorious, UAI in Acquaint, &c.
Now from hence may arise fome Difficulties concerning the true Pronunciation of those Vowels, Whether they ought to be founded separately in Two Syllables, or joyntly in one.
The antient Poets made them sometimes of Two Syllables, sometimes but of One, as the Measure of their Verse requir'd ; but they are now become to be but of One, and it is a Fault to make them of Two: From whence we may draw this general Rule រ
That whenever one Syllable of a Word ends in a Vowel, and the next begins by one, provided the firft of those Sylla bles be not that on which the Word is accented, those Íwo Syllables ought in Verse to be contracted and made but one.
Thus Beauteous is buc Two Syllables, Victorious but Three ; and it is a Fault in Dryden to make it Four, as he has done in this Verse:
Your Arms are on the Rhine victorious. To prove that this Verse wants a Syllable of its due Measure, we need but add one to it ; as,
Your Arms are on the Rhine victorious now. Where, tho' the Syllable now be added to the Verse, it has no more than its due Number of Syllables ; which plainly proves it wanted it.
But if the Accent be upon the first of these Syllables, they cannot be contracted to make a Dipthong, but must be computed as Two diftin&t Syllables : Thus Poet, Lion, Quiet, and the like, must always be us'd as Two Syllables ; Poetry and the like as Three.
And it is a Fault to make Riot, for Example, one Syllable, as Milton has done in this Verse,
Their Riot ascends above their lofty Top'rs. The fame Poet has in another Place made use of a like Word twice in one Verse, and made it Two Syllables each time :
With Ruin upon Ruin, Rout on Rout. And
discover that this last Verse has its true Mea. fure, the other not,
But there are some Words that may be excepted ; as Diamond, Violet, Violent, Diadem, Hyacinth, and perhaps fome de thers, which, though they are accented upon the first Vowel, are sometimes us'd but as Two Syllables; as in the following Verfes,
From Diamond Quarries hewn, and Rocks of Gold. Milt.
but violent Force their Darts they flung. Cowl. His Ephod, Mitre, well-cut Diadem on.
Cowl. My blushing Hyacinths, and my Bays I keep
Dryd. Sometimes as Three ; as, A Mount of rocky Diamond did rise.
Blac. Hence the blue Violet and blushing Rose.
Blac. And set soft Hyacinths of Iron Blue.
When they are us'd but as Two Syllables they suffer an Eli. sion of one of their Vowels, and are generally written thus, Di'mord, vilet, &c,
This Contraction is not always made of Syllables of the same Word only; for the Particle A being plac'd after a Word that ends in a Vowel, will sometimes admit of the like Contraction: For Example, after the Word many; as,
Tho' many a Victim from my Folds was bought,
They many a Trophy gain'd with many a Wound. Dav.
There are also other Words whose- Syllables are sometimes contracted, sometimes not; as Bower, Heaven, Prayer, Nigher, Towards, and many more of the like Nature : But they generally ought to be us'd but as one Syllable ; and then they suffer an Elision of the Vowel that precedes their final Confonant, and ought to be written thus, Pom'r, Hearu'n, Pray'r, Nigh’r, Tow'rds,
The Termination Is M is always us'd but as one Syllable ; as, Where griefly Schism and raging Strife appear.
Cowl. And Rheumatisms I send to rack the Foynts.
Dryd. And indeed, confidering that it has but one Vowel, it may seem absurd to assert that it ought to be reckond Two Syllables ; yet in my opinion those Verses seem to have a Syllable more than their due Measure, and would run better if we took one from them; as,
Where griesy Schism, raging Strife appear.
I Rheumatisms send to rack the Foynts. Yet this Opinion being contrary to the constant Practice of our Poets, I shall not presume to advance it as a Rule for ce thers to follow, but leave it to be decided' by such as are better Judges of poetical Numbers.
The like may be faid of the Terminations ASM and OS M.
Of the Elisions that are allow'd in our Versification.
UR Verses consisting only of a certain Number of Syle
lables, nothing can be of more ease, or greater use to our Poets, than the retaining or cutting off a Syllable from a Verfe, according as the Meafare of it requires ; and therefore it is requisite to treat of the Elisions that are allowable in our Poe. try, some of which have been already taken Notice of in the preceding Sc&tion.
By Elision I mean the cutting off one or more Letters from a Word, whereby Two Syllables come to be contracted into One; or the taking away an intire Syllable. Now when in a Word of more than Two Syllables, which is accented on the laft fave Two, the Liquid R happens to be between Two Vowels, that which precedes the Liquid admits of an Elision. Of this Nature are many Words in ANCE, ENCE, ENT, ER, OUS, and RY; as Temperance, Preference, Different, Flatterer, Amorous, Vitory: Which are Words of Three Syllables, and often us's assuch in Verse; but they may also be contracted into Two, by cutting off the Vowel that precedes the Liquid, as Temp’rance, Pref'rence, Diff'rent, Flatt'rer, Am'rous, Vitry." The like Elision is sometimes us'd when any of the other Liquids L, M, or N, happen to be between Two Vowels in Words accented like the former ; as Fabulous, Enemy, Mariner, which may be contract cd Fab'lows, En'my, Mar’ner. But this is not so frequent.
Observe, that I said accented on the last fave Two; for if the Word be accented on the last fave one, that is to say, on the Vowel that precedes the Liquid, that Vowel may not be cut off. And therefore it is a Faule to make, for Example, Sonorous of Two Syllables, as in this Verse, With Son'rous Met als wak'd the drowsy Day.
Blac. Which always ought to be of Three, as in this, Sonorous Met als blowing martial Sounds.
In like manner, whenever the Letter S happens to be between Two Vowels in Words of Three Syllab.es, accouted on the first, one of the Vowels may be cut cff; as Pris’ner, Bus’nefs, &c.
Or the Letter C when 'tis founded like S; that is to say,