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sounds—the same vowel with another consonant, or with its own diphthong, the same consonant with another vowel, and

Beyond this modulation and timing, melody of verse has no other elements. Music is as the vowel, rendered infinitely impressionable by being entirely dissevered from the consonant, reduced from articulation to vibration only.

If we examine a melodious Greek passage, such as the opening of the Odyssey, we shall perceive that the instances of half-rhyme, alliteration, and every variety of approach to repetition of foregone sounds, are absolutely too multitudinous to indicate ; the whole verse is alive with their playing and combining, like a sunset sky with irradiate tints.

In English, of course, there cannot be melody to the same extent. Where, indeed, should we find in it such a word as jeríoco (ee-elly-oi-ob), for instance ? What is more, syllables in Greek being shorter, repetitions to the same amount cannot have with us equivalent effect; for evidently o and oo resemble each other much more than on does too or took; ay and aw much more than slack and gnawn; and so on, the longer the syllables, and the more individual, the less telling under-rhyming modulants.

Rhyme is too intense for melody; it is the caricature of it, nothing more. Suppose it, say, the aggregation of melody into one spot-but is melody a thing that can be aggregated ? Melody is rather numerosity, a blending murmur, than one full concordance. Melody is as effectually silenced hy rhyme as the tones of a flute under the beating of a drum.

It is impossible to suppose that the Greeks should never have thought of rhyming, so simple an expedient as the clinking of two verses at their close must have come before every verse maker, whether or no. Its very absence in their verses is a proof that the jangle was noticed and avoided. The subtle play of inner melody must expire strangled, to allow the growth of this abnormal accretion.

Rhyme, however, whatever may be its failings, is not to be charged with the actual subversion of melody in English, for

what with the small telling effect in our tongue of modulants in general as stated above, and the mute character of most unaccented vowels, there is really very little play of melody proper for it to overpower.

Rhyme, then, though it really does stand with us moderns instead of melody, is not to be mistaken for it; it is a coarse substitute, not the real article.

The prime failing of rhyme is its assertive bounce, just the quality that makes it so prominent in all verses wherein it enters, gaining them the by-name of rhymes—in a word, its vulgarity. This being the case, even if rather felt by the poets than apprehended in so many words, is doubtless the underlying cause why so many have ranged themselves as its opponents, and sought to dispense with its use.

It is the metrical function it performs, its utility apparent in so many metres, quite transforming them, and thereby more than doubling the poet's instruments, that constitutes the true defence of rhyming. And this should be borne in mind,—whatever its failings, its expediency far more than compensates.

Where melody is not particularly required, rhyme forms a most excellent substitute to impart liveliness and vigour; when pointedness of expression is the aim, not Grecian numerosity so admirable; but it tends to draggletail the Muse exalted. What is more, the full concordance which may be most agreeable in a lyric only palls when kept up through a length-long epic.

In all poems it is usual to insist with great urgency that rhyme, when used, must be a full consonance, and nothing short of it. Now is this rational or irrational ?

Those who seek perfect rhyme should, of course, accomplish their endeavours, but their example should not be held binding over such as may desire to emancipate themselves a little from such fetters. The code of the rhymester is, however, sought to be enforced dogmatically; a perfect rhyme, or none at all. This we emphatically impugn, and deny


legislative competence on matters of personal taste, of which this is one.

That something of these opinions bas been held before to-day, take the following letter from Monk Lewis to Sir Walter Scott:

London, January 24, 1799. I must not omit telling you, for your own comfort, and that of all such persons as are wicked enough to use bad rhymes, that Mr. Smythe, a very clever man at Cambridge, took great pains the other day to convince me not merely that a bad rhyme might pass, but that occasionally a bad rhyme was better than a good one!!! I need not tell you that he left me as great an infidel on this subject as he found me.Ever yours,


But for this Monk Lewis and the critics, Walter Scott, as is well known, did not object to an imperfect rhyme himself. Yet are there critics to this hour who form their opinion of a poet mainly on the smoothness of his rhymes, and venture to point out a so-called careless rhyme as a blemish, even to a long poem! As if a writer might not decide for himself the degree of clink he chose, and sick of trite jingles, attempt a slight variation. It is, perhaps, owing to the public opinion created by small pedants of this kind that no modifications of rhyme have ever been in received use among us ; deviations not cried down would have become precedents, but rule was set above reason.

Rhyme consisting in the concurrence of sounds final, where the words end on a vowel-as die, defy-nothing is needed but the agreement of those vowels; where it ends on a consonant these also must rhyme—in this case twice the amount of rhymed material is required to produce the same effect. The vowel ending being comparatively rare, unison of vowel and consonant both generally go to make up an ordinary rhymed ending. What is called a bad or imperfect rhyme is a failure in either one of these particulars.

Rhyme of the vowel only, or, as it is also called, assonance,


though quite neglected in English, is in Spanish not only common, but national and universal : for.rhyme of the consonant only we must go to the Norse or Welsh. We have seen it gravely stated that the ears of people of this country are not sufficiently refined to appreciate the subtleties of either style; they must have rhyme full and vulgar, to suit their coarse apprehensions. But a far more elaborate trial than has ever been accorded could alone warrant such a sweeping statement. Take the following attempt, where the agreement is of a slenderer kind again, amounting occasionally to mere echo:Once upon the shore of Friesland, in the time of olden

gone, Lived a gentle-hearted maiden, more than lovely, named Gudrune. Ah, so fair of form surpassing, winsome so in all her ways; Sunshine seemed to be about her, joy to follow in her path: Magically in her presence fled the sorrows of the sad ; No less wondrously enchanted, tamed was roughness of the rude. Early by her fame attracted, noble suitors round her came, But the king, her father, Hetel, ruler of the Hegelings, And the queen, her mother, Hilda, overweening in their pride, Scornfully sent from the castle all who sought the maid to wife. Little did foresee King Hetel, when he them so proudly used, All the bloody ruth he earned him, all the lengthening train of woes. Troth be deemed might he be haughty, ruling over eighty towns, With his strong embattled castles, with his fair and fruitful lands. Well aware in them moreover, those were ready at his call, Who bis foemen rage their utmost, right were able to repel. Rulers of his land beneath him, were not five—those barons great, Horand, Irolt, Frut, and Morung, and the Earl of Sturmland Wat, Each of them a warrior chosen, each of them a kinsman true, Faithful to him, firm friends bounden, tried and found in danger so.

The advantage of this style is that the degree of rhyme is perfectly under control at the writer's election, at times approaching full rhyme, at others amounting to nothing more than an avoidance of dissonance.

When the vowel is long, assonance seems sufficient, however different the consonant; but where it is short, some slight affinity of consonants is better, as p, b, f, v~d, t, thk, j, g-1, r, w-2, s, th-m, n, ng, nd-&c. When the ending is on a vowel, which is then of course long, any


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diphthong of that vowel is near enough approach, or even as so' and 'true' above.

The thing to be observed is, that the lines of a couplet have a greater affinity with one another than with following or preceding lines ; and the thing to be avoided is, that line after line any affinity whatever should appear the effect of design.

Interior rhyming, full or partial, and a certain degree of alliteration, may be carried on in conjunction with this echoing, more advantageously perhaps than in any other style ; indeed, as close an approach to numerosity may be as effectually made here as the language admits, not that the above is a pattern in this respect.

It is the peculiarity of all species of under-rhyme that they may exist unseen-unseen, but far from unfelt-merged into the general melody.

And hamlets brown, and dimdiscovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
The dewy fingers draw,

The gradual dusky veil. Of assonance in unison with rhyme, take the following example from Marsh's · Manual of the English Language':

Then out sprang the warrior's blade,

And gaily he waved
The flashing SWORD.
Let us meet the foeman, he cried,

Let us ride and decide

The awARD. In the same work we meet with the following, where, besides alliteration after the Anglo-Saxon pattern, there is in the first member between its two extremes a consonant rhyme, in the second member a full rhyme, the whole an imitation of Icelandic heroic verse after the most approved pattern :

Softly now are sifting sows on landscape frozen,
Thickly fall the Flakelets Feathery light together,
Shower of silver pouring soundless all around us,
Field and river Folding Fair in mantle rarest.


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