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instances. In the Maid in the Mill, these occur in Act III. Sc. III. :

“ I do confess I am loo coarse and base, Sir,
“ To be your wife-
6 You are a noble lord, you pity poor maids-

“I can cry too, and noise enough I dare make." So in the Lover's Progress, Act V. Sc. III. :

Calista. Heaven grant me patience! To be thus con

“(Oh! pardon, royal Sir, a woman's passion)

By one (and this the worst of my misfortunes)
That was my slave, but never to such ends, Sir-

I came prepared for't,
“ And offer up a guilty life to clear
“ Her innocence: the oath she took, I swear to.
" And for Cleander's death to purge myself

From any colour malice can paint on me,
“ Or that she had a hand in't, I can prove
" That fatal night when he in his own house fell,
“ And many days before, I was distant from it

“ A long day's journey.” Again, in the same scene :

“ To free these innocents, I do confess all." But the most numerous class of offences in Shakspeare and his contemporary writers, against the laws of modern metre, consists of redundancies in the middle of a line. Thus, in King Henry VI. P. III. vol. xviii.

p. 375 :

“ And neither by treason nor hostility.” Upon which Mr. Malone observes that neither, either, whether, brother, rather, and many similar words, were used by Shakspeare as monosyllables. Mr. Steevens replies that he is yet to learn how such words are to be pronounced as monosyllables ; which is totally mis-stating Mr. Malone's position, who says that they were used, that is, they were considered as taking up the same time, as monosyllables: and that this was the fact, the most cursory perusal of old poetry will show. But this licence was not confined to any

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particular words, but was generally applicable to all; as may be fully exemplified by giving the whole of the speech from which the line in question is quoted:

K. Henry. Not for myself, Lord Warwick, but my son, “ Whom I unnaturally shall disinherit. “ But be it as it may, I here entail “ The crown to thee and to thine heirs for ever, Conditionally that here thou take an oath “ To cease this civil war, and whilst I live “ To honour me as thy king and sovereign. “ And neither by treason nor hostility

“ To seek to put me down and reign thyself.” These two short speeches immediately follow:

York. This oath I willingly take, and will perform.
Warwick. Long live King Henry! Plantagenet, em-

brace him.' Mr. Tyrwhitt has observed that English metre will admit of a redundant syllable in every part of a verse. Perhaps he would have expressed himself more correctly, if he had said in any part of a verse; but the term he has employed might be justified in its fullest extent, if he had been speaking of our earliest dramas and ballads. In Damon and Pithias, written as late as the reign of Elizabeth, the misery of tyrants is thus described :

“ So are they never in quiet, but in suspicion still, “ When one is made away they take occasion another to kill ; “ Ever in feare havyng no trustie friende, voyde of all peoples

love, “ And in their own conscience a continuall hell they prove." In the old fragment of the Marriage of Sir Gawaine, preserved in Percy's Reliques, we meet with the following spirited stanza, which the accomplished editor has not noticed in his rifacimento:

“ And then he took K. Arthur letters in his hands

“ And away he cold them fing,
“ And then he puld out a good browne sword

“ And cryd himselfe a king." My friend, Sir Walter Scott, who has dignified the old ballad measure by adopting it, has availed himself


of the liberty which it allowed in the following descriptive lines :

“ Why does fair Margaret so early awake
“ And don her kirtle so hastilie,
“ And the silken knots which in hurry she would make,
“ Why tremble her slender fingers to tie.”

Lay of the Last Minstrel, canto ii. st. 26 *. But this redundancy, at least to a certain degree, was by no means confined to the class of writers I have mentioned. Between the period when the laws of versification were taught us by Chaucer, till they were revived by Lord Surrey, we find a supernumerary syllable so frequently introduced, that a line thus constructed is perhaps more common than one which is regularly formed. Thus, Sir Thomas More, speaking of Fortune:

Sometyme she loketh as lovely fayre and bright
“ As goodly Venus mother of Cupyde
" She breketh and she smileth on every wight
“ But this chere fayned may not long abide
“ There cometh a clowde and farewell all our pride
« Like

any serpent she beginneth to swell “ And looketh as fierce as any fury of hell.” If this licence was more sparingly used by later poets, yet they availed themselves occasionally of it, even in comparatively modern times. Milton appears to

. have been an assiduous reader of his predecessors, and formed his delightful Masque, in a great measure, upon an Elizabethan model. Upon this

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* The harp of Sir Walter has been too long unstrung.

Yet there are not wanting those who suspect that he has all this while been doing us good by stealth, and that he has spoken of the publick in the language of an old PLAY, “ She shall not know me: she shall drink of my wealth, as beggars do of the running water, freely, yet never know from what fountain-head it flows.” DECKER'S Honest WHORE, 2d Part, Act I. Sc. I.

To the anonymous writer, whoever he may be, by whom we have been so much delighted, we may apply the words of another old dramatist : “ I heard, sir, of an antiquary, who, if he be as good at wine as at history, he is sure an excellent companion."


ground we may fairly consider him as a critick exhibiting his opinion as to what that style admitted of, in the most unequivocal way, by his own example. As Comus now appears, the following lines occur,

among others:

“ Harpies and Hydras or all the monstrous forms,” v. 605.
“ My sister is not so defenceless left
As you imagine ;

she has a hidden strength,” v. 414. “ Not being in danger, as I trust she is not;" v. 370. As the poem originally stood, we meet with more instances of this sort of metre; thus, instead of v. 485, as it now appears :

“ Some roving robber calling to his fellows." we find in his own MS. in Trinity College, Cambridge:

• Some curld man of the sword calling to his fellows.” He probably thought that too great an intermixture of these irregularities would be injurious to the effect of a short composition; but he has lavishly admitted them in Paradise Lost. Creech was very far from being a rugged or a careless writer, yet in his translation of the first book of Manilius, he has these lines, describing the earth :

“ Its parts to one fixt point press jointly down,

“ And meet, and stop each other from moving on." But the principal point which we have to ascertain, is the usage of Shakspeare and his contemporary dramatists; and here our materials are so abundant, that the only difficulty is in selection. I have already produced a passage in Henry VI.; but as this play, according to Mr. Malone's hypothesis, was not entirely written by our author, it may be considered as questionable authority. I will, therefore, produce lines from other plays, which I have taken at random :

p. 459.

“And why, I pray you? Who might be your mother?
« That you

insult, exult, and all at once,
“ Over the wretched, what though you have no beauty."

As You Like It, vol. vi.

“ But in these cases “ We still have judgment here; that we but teach “ Bloody instructions, which being taught, return “ To plague the inventor : This even-handed justice,” &c.

Macbeth, vol. xi. p. 77. “ I cannot strike at wretched Kernes, whose arms Are hir'd to bear their staves, either thou Macbeth," &c.

Ibid. p. 269. They say he parted well, and paid his score, “ And so God be with him !-Here comes newer comfort.”

Ibid. p. 274.
Menenius. Think on the wounds his body bears which

“ Like graves i'the holy churchyard.

Scratches with briars,
« Scars to move laughter only.
" Men.

Consider further.”Coriolanus, vol. xiv. p. 144.

I might go on to fill pages; but the reader will apply the principle to other passages as they present themselves. Let us now look to Beaumont and Fletcher :

“ Expect a trumpet and a herald with you,
“ To bid you render; we two perdues pay for't else."

Mad Lover, Act I, Sc. I.
“ Though he never saw a woman of great fashion
“ Before this day, yet methinks 'tis possible
“ He might imagine what they are.

Ibid. “ Her thoughts were merciful, but she laughed at you.'

Tid. “ He turns away in scorn! I am contemned too! “ A more unmanly violence than the other : “ Bitten and Aung away: whate'er you are, “ Sir, you that have abused me, and now most basely “ And sacrilegiously robbed this fair temple, “ I Aling all these behind me, but look upon me.”

Queen of Corinth, Act II. Sc. I.

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