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With hideous ruin and combustion, downi
It is obvious from what I have said of its that the Couplet is not formed for such gradations as these. On the contrary, from the fameness in its flow, every sentiment, of what nature foever, comes equally recoma mended to the ear, and of course to our ata tention. Thus, the following thought in Eloisa to Abelard, receives as much importance from the movement of the verse, as it could have done, had it been destined to inspire us with the most noble and virtuous feelings. Not Cæsar's empress wou'd I deign to prove ;No, make me miftress to the man I love.
Ajp. This sentiment may, as you have observed, receive an importance from the movement of the verse; but you will allow, that it is very little indebted to the expression.
Eug. The expreffion must often be disgraced, when a rhyme is necessary. You have made, Aspasia, a much better use of this paffage, than I meant to do: for 1 produced it merely to shew, that where a fameness of versification prevails, there can be no degrees; no contrasts in the sounds; which, like shades in painting, throw forward, and give a distinction to the superior beauties.
Hor. Mr. Pope seems to have had the fame idea, with respect to the thoughts, that you have with respect to the sounds. . . C
He He says,
"To bestow heightening on every part, ; "is monstrous : fome parts ought to be • lower than the rest; and nothing looks
more ridiculous than a work, where the • thoughts, however different in their own * nature, seem all on a level.'
Letter to Mr. Walsh.
Eug. I wonder he did not perceive the ill effects of this equality in the cadence of his verse, as well as in the colouring of his ideas. Of all the modes of yersification, that have been cultivated by men of sense, the [d] Latin distich, and modern coupler are the greatest levellers. There is no li.
[d] The couplet, like the distich, has a strong epi. grammatic turn : it is formed to run into points ; but, above all, it delights in the antithesis; and the art of the verfisier is complete, when the discord in the ideas is
berty, berty, no continuance in their movements. Like the out-line of a scholar in drawing, they are broken, and interrupted; but, a flow of pencil is the stile of a master in his art. Would you have a proof of what I advance ?
Ye facred Nine! that all my soul poffefs, Whose raptures fire me, and whose visions
bless; Bear me, oh bear me to sequester'd scenes, The bow'ry mazes, and surrounding greens.
Here, you cannot but be sensible, how the enthusiasm is tamed by the precision of the couplet, and the consequent littleness in the scenery.
proportioned to the accord in the founds. To jar and jingle in the same breath, is a master piece of Gothic refinement.
How different Milton ?
Yet not the more Ceafe I to wander, where the Muses haunt Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, Smit with the love of facred song; but chief Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath, That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling
How, Nightly I visit.
Tho'it do not immediately belong to this part of my subject, yet I must take notice here of a beauty, which finds its place naturally in blank verse, but is almost incompatible with the regular movement of the couplet. I mean those sudden breaks of transitions in the verse, which so strongly characterize the paffions ; and dart, as ir