Imagens das páginas

In world is non so wytor mon
That al hire bounté telle con;
Heir swyre is whittere than the swon
Ant fayrest may in toune.
An hendy hap, &c.

Icham for wouyng al for-wake,
Wery so water in wore
Lest any reve me my make
Ychabbey-3yrned 3ore.
Betere is tholien whyle sore
Then mournen evermore.
Geynest under gore,
Herkene to my roune.
An hendy hap, &c.”

The next, “With longyng yam lad,” is pretty, though less so: and is in ten-line stanzas of sixes, rhymed a a b, a a b, b a a b. Those of VIII. are twelve-lined in eights, rhymed ab, ab, ab, ab, c, d, c, d; but it is observable that there is some assonance here instead of pure rhyme. IX. is in the famous romance stanza of six or rather twelve lines, & la Sir Thopas; X. in octaves of eights alternately rhymed with an envoy quatrain; XI. (a very pretty one) in a new metre, rhymed a a a b a, b. And this variety continues after a fashion which it would be tedious to particularise further. But it must be said that the charm of “Alison” is fully caught up by— “Lenten ys come with love to toune, With blosmen ant with bryddes roune, That al this blisse bringeth; Dayes-eyes in this dales,

Notes suete of nytengales, Ilk foul song singeth;”

_Y Praise of Women which charges gallantly
by a stur-- * <3 usual mediaeval slanders; and by a piece
against to 1+ “ Alison,” is the flower of the whole, and
which, wi f2. , aisite refrain–

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_{ sonian verse five hundred years before Here is T' 2 ** The “cry” of English lyric is on this

Tennyson. __, d at last; and it shall never fail after-
northern co’ 1–
wards. to be the best place to deal, not merely

This see , , -o o lyric in itself, but * with the for *. , , eral su ject of the prosody as well of

2. 1ish as of the other modern literary

o of +3. guages. A very great' deal has been languages. 1 * 1nore and with less learning, with in11 or smaller, on the origins of rhyme,

writt : t2 f
o . 1, to of the decasyllabic and other staple
42 •

on the soul ro, Zas : and, lastly, on the general system
osed to ancient scansion. Much of

lt of really careful study, and

the resu y y, of modern *"... . ... the result of distinct acuteness; but o "...r 1. 'on the whole from the supposed need M.

it has suffer“ e1leo", and from an unwillingness to

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Grwndriss #. #4:1. of them, but I have a profound respect for all.
M. Gaston Paris's a.”

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accept plain and obvious facts. These facts, or the most important of them, may be summarised as follows: The prosody of a language will necessarily vary according to the pronunciation and composition of that language; but there are certain general principles of prosody which govern all languages possessing a certain kinship. These general principles were, Historica, for the Western branches of the Aryan * tongues, very early discovered and formulated by the Greeks, being later adjusted to somewhat stiffer rules — to compensate for less force of poetic genius, or perhaps merely because licence was not required—by the Latins. Towards the end of the classical literary period, however, partly the increasing importance of the Germanic and other non-Greek and non-Latin elements in the Empire, partly those inexplicable organic changes which come from time to time, broke up this system. Rhyme appeared, no one knows quite how, or why, or whence, and at the same time, though the general structure of metres was not very much altered, the quantity of individual syllables appears to have undergone a complete change. Although metres quantitative in scheme continued to be written, they were written, as a rule, with more or less laxity; and though rhyme was sometimes adapted to them in Latin, it was more frequently used with a looser syllabic arrangement, retaining the divisional characteristics of the older prosody, but neglecting quantity, the strict rules of elision, and so forth. On the other hand, some of the new Teutonic tongues which were thus brought into contact with Anot soon Latin, and with which Latin was brought prosody. into contact, had systems of prosody of their own, based on entirely different principles. The most elaborate of these probably, and the only one from which we have distinct remains of undoubtedly old matter in considerable quantities, is Anglo-Saxon, though Icelandic runs it close. A detailed account of the peculiarities of this belongs to the previous volume: it is sufficient to say here that its great characteristic WaS alliteration, and that accent played a large part, to the exclusion both of definite quantity d of syllabic identity or equivalence. "while these were the states of things with regard to Latin * the one hand, and to the tongues most mce separated from Latin on the other, the Roprosody: mance languages, or daughters of Latin, laborated or were elaborating, by stages which had e ost entirely hidden from us, middle systems, are . the earliest, and in a way the most perfect, is of whic provençal, followed by Northern French and that of e dialects of the Spanish Peninsula being a Italian, t indhand in elaborate verse. The three firstlittle o seem to have hit upon the verse of named to. syllables, which later crystallised itself ten or eleV9 rench and eleven for Italian, as their into ten " "... Efforts have been made to father staple measus" some classical original, and some authis directly ‘’ even been uncritical enough to speak thorities havo. n—this or that—having been “proved”

Ctio of the conne , vide Dante, De Vulgari Eloquio.

for these verses or others. No such proof has been given, and none is possible. What is certain, and alone certain, is that whereas the chief literary metre of the last five centuries of Latin had been dactylic and trisyllabic, this, the chief metre of the daughter tongues, and by -and-by almost their only one, was disyllabic—iambic, or trochaic, as the case may be, but generally iambic. Rhyme became by degrees an invariable or almost invariable accompaniment, and while quantity, strictly speaking, almost disappeared (some will have it that it quite disappeared from French), a syllabic uniformity more rigid than any which had prevailed, except in the case of lyric measures like the Alcaic, became the rule. Even elision was very greatly restricted, though caesura was pretty strictly retained, and an additional servitude was imposed by the early adoption in French of the fixed alternation of “masculine” and “feminine” rhymes— that is to say, of rhymes with, and rhymes without, the mute e. But the prosody of the Romance tongues is perfectly simple and intelligible, except in the one crux of the English question how it came into being, and what 1” part “popular” poetry played in it. We find it, almost from the first, full-blown: and only minor refinements or improvements are introduced afterwards. With English prosody it is very different." As has been said, the older prosody itself, with

* What is said here of English applies with certain modifications to German, though the almost entire loss of Old German poetry and the comparatively late date of Middle make the process less striking and

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