Art of English Poesie
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in the Art of English
By Thomas Campion.
Wherein it is demonstra-
and by example
confirmed, that the English
will receiue eight seuerall kinds of
bers, proper to it selfe, which are all
this booke set forth, and were
neuer before this time by
Printed at London by R I C H A R D
F I E L
for Andrew Wise. 1 6 0 2.
To the Right Noble and
worthily honourd, the Lord
Buckhurst, Lord high
surer of England.
N two things (right honorable) it is
generally agreed that man excels all other creatures, in reason,
and speech: and in them by how much one man surpasseth an other,
by so much the neerer he aspires to a celestiall essence.
Poesy in all kind of speaking is the
chiefe beginner, and maintayner of eloquence, not only helping
the eare with the acquaintance of sweet numbers, but also raysing
the minde to a more high and lofty conceite. For this end haue I
studyed to induce a true forme of versefying into our language:
for the vulgar and vnarteficiall custome of riming hath I know
deter'd many excellent wits from the exercise of English Poesy.
The obseruations which I haue gathered for this purpose, I humbly
present to your Lordship, as to the noblest iudge of Poesy, and
the most honorable protector of all industious learning; which if
your Honour shall vouchsafe to receiue, who both in your publick,
and priuate Poemes haue so deuinely crowned your fame, what man
will dare to repine? or not striue to imitate them? VVherefore
with all humility I subiect my selfe and them to your gratious
fauour, beseeching you in the noblenes of your mind to take in
worth so simple a present, which by some worke drawne from my
more serious studies, I wil hereafter endeuour to excuse.
|Your lordships humbly
The Writer to his
Hether thus hasts my little booke so
To Paules Churchyard; what in those cels to stand,
With one leafe like a riders cloke put vp
To catch a termer?
or lye mustie there
With rimes a terme set out, or two
Some will redeeme me; fewe; yes, reade me too;
Fewer; nay loue me; now thou dot'st I see;
Will not our
English Athens arte defend?
Perhaps; will lofty
courtly wits not ayme
Still at perfection? If I graunt? I
Whether? to Pawles; Alas poore booke I rue
self-loue, goe spread thy pap'ry wings,
Thy lightnes can not
helpe, or hurt my fame.
Obseruations in the Art
English Poesy, by Thomas
The first Chapter, intreating of numbers
Here is no writing too breefe, that without
obscuritie comprehends the intent of the writer. These my late
obseruations in English Poesy I haue thus briefely gathered, that
they might proue the lesse troublesome in perusing, and the more
apt to be retayn'd in memorie. And I will first generally handle
the nature of Numbers. Number is discreta quantitas, so
that when we speake simply of number, we intend only the
disseuer'd quantity; But when we speake of a Poeme written in
number, we consider not only the distinct number of the
sillables, but also their value, which is contained in the length
or shortnes of their sound. As in Musick we do not say a straine
of so many notes, but so many sem'briefes (though sometimes there
are no more notes
then sem'briefes) so in a verse the numeration of the
sillables is not so much to be obserued, as their waite, and due
proportion. In ioyning of words to harmony there is nothing more
offensiue to the eare then to place a long sillable with a short
note, or a short sillable with a long note, though in the last
the vowell often beares it out. The world is made by Simmetry and
proportion, and is in that respect compared to Musick, and Musick
to Poetry: for Terence saith speaking of Poets, artem
qui tractant musicam, confounding musick and Poesy together.
What musick can there be where there is no proportion obserued?
Learning first flourished in Greece, from thence it was
deriued unto the Romaines, both diligent obseruers of the
number, and quantity of sillables, not in their verses only, but
likewise in their prose. Learning after the declining of the Romaine
Empire, and the pollution of their language
through the conquest of the Barbarians, lay most pitifully
deformed, till the time of Erasmus, Rewcline, Sir
Thomas More, and other learned men of that age, who brought
the Latine toong out of the hands of the illiterate Monks and
Friers: as a coffing booke, entituled
Epistolæ obscurorum virorum, may sufficiently
testifie. In those lack-learning times, and in barbarized Italy,
began that vulgar and easie kind of Poesie
is now in vse throughout most parts of Christendome, which we
abusiuely call Rime, and Meeter, of Rithmus and Metrum,
of which I will now discourse.
The second Chapter, declaring the
of Rime in Poesie.
The third Chapter: of our English
not ignorant that whosoeuer shall by way of reprehension examine
the imperfections of Rime, must encounter with many glorious
enemies, and those very expert, and ready at their weapon, that
can if need be extempore (as they say) rime a man to death.
Besides there is growne a kind of prescription in the vse of
Rime, to forestall the right of true numbers, as also the consent
of many nations, against all which it may seeme a thing almost
impossible, and vaine to contend. All this and more can not yet
deterre me from a lawful defence of perfection, or make me any
whit the sooner adheare to that which is lame and vnbeseeming.
For custome I alleage, that ill vses are
to be abolisht, and that things naturally imperfect can not
be perfected by vse. Old customes, if they be better, why should
they not be recald, as the yet florishing custome of numerous
poesy vsed among the Romanes and Grecians: But the
vnaptnes of our toongs, and the difficulty of imitation
dishartens vs; againe the facilitie & popularitie of Rime
creates as many Poets, as a hot summer flies. But let me now
examine the nature of that which we call Rime. By Rime is
vnderstoode that which ends in the like sound, so that verses in
such maner composed, yeeld but a continual repetition of that
Rhetoricall figure which we tearme similiter desinentia,
and that being but figura verbi, ought (as Tully
and all the other Rhetoritians haue iudicially obseru'd)
sparingly to be vsd, least it should offend the eare with tedious
affectation. Such was that absurd following of the letter amongst
our English so much of late affected, but now hist out of Paules
Churchyard: which foolish figuratiue repetition crept also into
the Latine toong, as it is manifest in the booke of Ps
cald prælia porcorum, and an other
pamphlet all of Fs, which I haue seene
imprinted; but I will leaue these follies to their owne ruine,
and returne to the matter intended. The
eare is a rational sence, and a chiefe iudge of proportion,
but in our kind of riming what proportion is there kept, where
there remaines such a confused inequalitie of sillables? Iambick
and Trochaick feete which are opposed by
nature, are by all Rimers confounded, nay oftentimes they place
in stead of an Iambick the foote Pyrrychius, consisting
of two short sillables, curtalling their verse,
which they supply in reading with a ridiculous, and vnapt drawing
of their speech. As for example:
Was it my desteny, or
In this verse the two last sillables of
the word, Desteny, being both short, and standing for a
whole foote in the verse, cause the line to fall out shorter then
it ought by nature. The like impure errors haue in time of
rudenesse bene vsed in the Latine toong, as the Carmina
prouerbialia can witnesse, and many other such reuerend
bables. But the noble Grecians and Romaines whose
skilfull monuments outliue barbarisme, tyed themselues to the
strict obseruation of poeticall numbers, so abandoning the
childish titillation of riming, that it was imputed a great error
to Ouid for setting forth this one riming verse,
Quot coelum stellas tot habet tua Roma puellas.
For the establishing of this argument, what better
confirmation can be had, then that of Sir Thomas Moore in
his booke of Epigrams, where he makes two sundry Epitaphs vpon
the death of a singing man at Westminster, the one in
learned numbers and dislik't, the other in rude rime and highly
extold: so that he concludes, tales lactucas talia labra
petunt, like lips, like lettuce. But there is yet another
fault in Rime altogether intollerable, which is, that it
inforceth a man oftentimes to abiure his matter, and extend a
short conceit beyond all bounds of arte: for in Quatorzens
me thinks the Poet handles his subiect as tyrannically as Procrustes
the thiefe his prisoners, whom when he had
taken, he vsed to cast vpon a bed, which if they were too short
to fill, he would stretch them longer, if too long, he would cut
them shorter. Bring before me now any the most selfe-lou'd Rimer,
& let me see if without blushing he be able to reade his lame
halting rimes. Is there not a curse of Nature laid vpon such rude
Poesie, when the Writer is himself asham'd of it, and the hearers
in contempt call it Riming and Ballating? What Deuine in his
Sermon, or graue Counsellor in his Oration will alleage the
testimonie of a rime? But the deuinity of
the Romaines and Gretians was all written in
verse: and Aristotle, Galene, and the bookes of all the
excellent Philosophers are full of the testimonies of the old
Poets. By them was laid the foundation of all humane wisedome,
and from them the knowledge of all antiquitie is deriued. I will
propound but one question, and so conclude this point. If the Italians,
Frenchmen and Spanyards, that with
commendation haue written in Rime, were demaunded whether they
had rather the bookes they haue publisht (if their toong would
beare it) should remaine as they are in Rime, or be translated
onto the auncient numbers of the Greekes and Romaines,
would they not answere into numbers? What
were it then for our English language to be the first that after
so many yeares of barbarisme could second the perfection of the
industrious Greekes and Romaines? which how it may
be effected I will now proceede to demonstrate.
bers in generall.
The fourth Chapter, of the Iambick
Here are but
three feete, which generally distinguish the Greeke and Latine
Dactil consisting of one long sillable and two short,
as viuere[,] the Trochy, of one long and one
short, as vita,, and the Iambick of one short and
one long, as amor. The Spondee of two long, the Tribrach
of three short, the Anapæstick of
two short and a long, are but as seruants to the first. Diuers
other feete I know are by the Grammarians cited, but to little
purpose. The Heroical verse that is distinguisht by the Dactile,
hath bene oftentimes attempted in our English
toong, but with passing pitifull successe: and no wonder, seeing
it is an attempt altogether against the nature of our language.
For both the concurse of our monasillables make our verses vnapt
to slide, and also if we examine our polysillables, we shall
finde few of them by reason of their heauinesse, willing to serue
in place of a Dactile. Thence it is, that the writers of
English heroicks do so often repeate Amyntas, Olympus,
Auernus, Erinnis, and such like borrowed words, to supply the
defect of our hardly intreated Dactile. I could in this
place set downe many ridiculous kinds of Dactils which
they vse, but that it is not my purpose here to incite men to
laughter. If we therefore reiect the Dactil as vnfit for
our vse (which of necessity we are enforst to do) there
remayne only the Iambick foote, of which the Iambicke
verse is fram'd, and the Trochee, from
which the Trochaick numbers haue their originall. Let vs
now then examine the property of these two feete, and try if they
consent with the nature of our English sillables. And first for
the Iambicks, they fall out so naturally in our toong,
that if we examine our owne writers, we shall find they vnawares
hit oftentimes vpon the true Iambick numbers, but alwayes
ayme at them as far as their eare without the guidance of arte
can attaine vnto, as it shall hereafter more euidently appeare.
The Trochaick foote which is but an Iambick turn'd
ouer and ouer, must of force in like manner accord in proportion
with our British sillables, and so produce an English Trochaicall
verse. Then hauing these two principall
of verses, we may easily out of them deriue other formes, as the
Latines and Greekes before vs haue done, whereof I will make
plaine demonstration, beginning at the Iambick verse.
The fift Chapter, of the Iambick Dimeter,
obserued, and so may any one that is either practis'd in singing,
or hath a naturall eare
able to time a song, that the Latine verses of sixe feete,
as the Heroick and Iambick, or of fiue feete, as
the Trochaick are in nature all of the same length of
sound with our English verses of fiue feete, for either of them
being tim'd with the hand quinque perficiiunt tempora, they
fill vp the quantity (as it were) of fiue sem'briefs,
for example, if any man will proue to time these verses with his
Suis & ipso Roma viribis ruit.
Ducunt volentes fata, nolentes
patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi.
Nox est perpetua vna
secure, the more the stroke we feele
Of vnpreuented harms; so
Appeare the sterner if the day be cleere.
Th'English Iambick licentiate.
Hark how these
winds do murmur at thy flight.
Still where Enuy leaues, remorse doth
The cause why these verses differing in feete
same length of sound, is by reason of some rests which either the
necessity of the numbers, or the heauines of the sillables do
beget. For we find in musick, that oftentimes the straines of a
song can not be reduct to true number without some rests prefixt
in the beginning and middle, as also at the close if need
requires. Besides, our English monasillables enforce many
breathings which no doubt greatly lengthen a verse, so that it is
no wonder if for these reasons our English verses of fiue feete
hold pace with the Latines of sixe. The pure Iambick in
English needes small demonstration, because
consists simply of Iambick feete, but our Iambick
licentiate offers it selfe to a farther consideration; for in
the third and fift place we must of force hold the Iambick
foote, in the first, second, and fourth place we may vse a Spondee
or Iambick and sometime a Tribrack
or Dactile, but rarely an Anapestick foote, and
that in the second or fourth place. But why an Iambick in
the third place? I answere, that the forepart of the verse may
the gentlier slide into his Dimeter, as for example sake
deuide this verse: Hark how these winds do murmure at thy
flight. Harke how these winds, there the
voice naturally affects a rest, then murmur at thy
flight, that is of it selfe a perfect number, as I will
declare in the next Chapter, and therefore the other odde
sillable betweene them ought to be short, least the verse should
hang too much betweene the naturall pause of the verse, and the Dimeter
following, the which Dimeter though it
naturally Trochaical, yet it seemes to haue his originall
out of the Iambick verse. But the better to confirme and
expresse these rules, I will set downe a short Poeme in Licentiate
Iambicks, which may giue more light to them
that shall hereafter imitate these numbers.
boldly passe, stay not for ayde
Though as I said before, the naturall breathing place of our
English Iambick verse is in the last sillable of the
second foote, as our Trochy after the manner of the Latine Heroick
and Iambick rests naturally in the first of
the third foote: yet no man is tyed altogether to obserue this
rule, but he may alter it, after the iudgement of his eare, which
Poets, Orators, and Musitiens of all men ought to haue most
excellent. Againe, though I said peremptorily before, that the
third, and fift place of our licentiate Iambick must
alwayes hold an Iambick foote, yet I will shew you example
in both places
where a Tribrack may be very formally taken, and
first in the third place,
Of shifting rime, that easie
Whose witchcraft can the ruder eares beguile;
Let your smooth feete enur'd to purer arte
tread; what if your pace be slow?
And hops not like the
It is yet gracefull, and well fits the
Of words ill-breathed, and not shap'd to runne:
then, but slowly till your steps be firme,
Tell them that
pitty, or peruersely skorne
Poore English Poesie as the slaue
You are those lofty numbers that reuiue
Triumphs of Princes, and stern tragedies:
henceforth t'attend those happy sprights
Whose bounding fury,
height, and waight affects,
Assist their labour, and sit
close to them,
Neuer to part away till for desert
browes with great Apollos bayes are hid.
taught number, and true harmonye,
Nor is the lawrell his for
Call him with numerous accents paisd by
He'le turne his glory from the sunny clymes,
North-bred wits alone to patronise.
Let France their Bartas, Italy Tasso prayse,
Phæbus shuns none, but in their flight from him.
Some trade in Barbary, some in Turkey
Men that do fall to
misery, quickly fall.
If you doubt whether the first of misery be naturally short or
no, you may iudge it by the easie sliding of these two verses
Whome misery can not alter, time
What more vnhappy life, what
Example of the Tribrack in the fift place, as you may
perceiue in the last foote of the fift verse.
Some from the starry throne his fame deriues,
To proceede farther, I see no reason why the English Iambick in
his first place may not as well borrow a
of the Trochy, as our Trochy or the Latine Hendicasillable
may in the like case make bold with the Iambick: but it must
be done euer with this caveat,
is, that a Sponde, Dactile or Tribrack do supply
the next place: for an Iambick
beginning with a short sillable, and the other ending
before with the like, would too much drinke vp the verse if they
came immediately together.
from the mines beneth, from trees, or herbs,
Each hath his
glory, each his sundry gift,
Renown'd in eu'ry art there
liues not any.
The example of the Sponde after the Trochy.
Though I haue set downe
these second licenses as good and ayreable enough, yet for the
most part my first rules are generall.
As the faire sonne the
lightsome heau'n adorns.
The example of the Dactil.
Noble, ingenious, and discreetly wise.
The example of the Tribrack.
Beawty to ielosie
brings ioy, sorrow, feare.
These are those numbers which Nature in
our English destinates to the Tragick, and Heroik Poeme: for the
subiect of them both being all one, I see no impediment why one
verse may not serue for them both, as it appeares more plainely
in the old comparison of the two Greeke writers, when they say, Homerus
est Sophocles heroicus, and againe, Sophocles
est Homerus tragicus, intimating that both Sophocles
and Homer are the same in height and subiect, and differ
onely in the kinde of their numbers.
The Iambick verse in like manner
being yet made a little more licentiate, that it may thereby the
neerer imitate our common talke, will excellently serue for
Comedies, and then may we vse a Sponde in the fift place,
and in the third place any foote except a Trochy, which
neuer enters into our Iambick verse, but in the first
place, and then with his caueat of the other feete which must of
The sixt Chapter, of the English
He Dimeter (so called in the former Chapter)
of all to handle, because it seems to be a part of the Iambick which
is our most naturall and auncient English verse. We
terme this our English march, because the verse answers our
warlick forme of march in similitude of number. But call it what
you please, for I will not wrangle about names, only intending to
set down the nature of it and true structure. It consists of two
feete and one odde sillable. The first foote may be made either a Trochy,
or a Spondee, or an Iambick
pleasure of the composer, though
most naturally that place affects a Trochy or Spondee;
yet by the example of Catullus in
his Hendicasillables, I adde in the first place sometimes
an Iambick foote. In the second place, we must euer insert
a Trochy or Tribrack, and so leaue the last
(as in the end of a verse it is alwaies held) common. Of this
kinde I will subscribe three examples, the first being a peece of
a Chorus in a Tragedy.
Rauing warre begot
In the thirstye sands
Of the Lybian Iles
What the greedye rage
Of fell wintry
Could not turne to spoile,
Fierce Bellona now
Hath laid desolate,
Voyd of fruit, or hope.
Th'eger thriftye hinde
Whose rude toyle reuiu'd
Himselfe is but earth,
Left a scorne
Through seditious armes:
And that soile, aliue
Which he duly nurst,
him duly fed,
Dead his body feeds:
Yet not all the
His tuffe hands manur'd
Now one turfe affords
His poore funerall.
Thus still needy liues,
An example Lyrical.
Greatest in thy wars,
Greater in thy peace
Our muse only Truth
Figments can not
Thy ritch name to deck
That it selfe adornes:
But should now this age
Let all poesye fayne,
Nothing faine at all
Worthy halfe thy
An example Epigrammicall.
Kind in euery kinde
This deare Ned resolue,
Neuer of thy
Be too prodigall;
He that prayseth all
praise truly none.
The first Epigramme.
in course to be intreated is the English Trochaick, being
a verse simple, and of it selfe depending. It consists, as the
Latine Trochaick of fiue feete, the first whereof may be
a Trochy, a Spondee, or an Iambick, the
other foure of necessity all Trochyes, still holding this
rule authenticall, that the last sillable of a verse is alwayes
common. The spirit of this verse most of all delight in Epigrams,
but it may be diuersly vsed, as shall
be declared. I haue written diuers light Poems in this kinde,
which for the better satisfaction of the reader, I thought
conuenient here in way of example to publish. In which though
sometimes vnder a
knowne name I haue shadowed a fain'd conceit, yet it is
done without reference, or offence to any person, and only to
make the stile appeare the more English.
The second Epigramme.
Lockley spits apace, the rhewme he cals it,
drop (though often vrged) he straineth
From his thirstie
iawes, yet all the morning,
And all day he spits, in eu'ry
At his meales he spits, at eu'ry meeting,
barre he spits before the Fathers,
In the Court he spits
before the Graces,
In the Church he spits, thus all
With that rude disease, that empty spitting:
Yet no cost he spares, he sees the Doctors,
Keepes a strickt
diet, precisely vseth
Drinks and bathes drying, yet all
'Tis not China (Lockley) Salsa
Nor dry Sassafras can helpe, or ease
'Tis no humor hurts, it is thy humor.
The third Epigramme.
Cease fond wretch to loue so oft deluded,
Still made ritch with hopes, still vnrelieued,
her delaies; she that debateth
Feeles not true desire, he
Others times attends, his owne betrayeth:
Learne t'affect thy selfe, thy cheekes deformed
care reuiuie by timely pleasure,
Or with skarlet heate them,
or by paintings
Make thee louely, for such arte she vseth
Whome in vayne so long thy folly loued.
The fourth Epigramme.
Kate can fancy only berdles husbands,
Thats the cause
she shakes off eu'ry suter,
Thats the cause she liues so
stale a virgin,
For before her heart can heate her
Her smooth youths she finds all hugely
The fift Epigramme.
All in sattin Oteny will be suted,
sattin (as by chance he cals it)
Oteny sure will haue
The sixt Epigramme.
Tosts as snakes or as the mortall Henbane
Hunks detests when huffcap ale he tipples,
bread he graunts the fumes abateth:
Therefore apt in ale,
true, and he graunts it,
But it drinks vp ale, that Hunks detesteth.
The seauenth Epigramme.
What though Harry braggs, let him be noble,
Noble Harry hath not halfe a noble.
The eight Epigramme.
Phæbe all the rights Elisa claymeth,
Mighty riuall, in this only diff'ring
That shees only true,
thou only fayned.
Barnzy stiffly vowes that hees no Cuckold,
The ninth Epigramme.
Yet the vulgar
eu'ry where salutes him
With strange signes of hornes, from
Wheresoere he commes a sundry Cucco
frequents his eares, yet hees no Coccold.
But this Barnzy knowes that his Matilda
Skorning him with Haruy playes the wanton;
Knowes it? nay desires it, and by prayers
Dayly begs of
heau'n, that it for euer
May stand firme for him, yet hees no
And tis true, for Haruy keeps Matilda,
Fosters Barnzy, and relieues his
Buyes the Cradle, and begets the children,
Payes the Nurces eu'ry charge defraying,
And thus truly
playes Matildas husband:
So that Barnzy now
becomes a cypher,
And himselfe th'adultrer of Matilda.
Mock not him with hornes, the case is
Haruy beares the wrong, he proues the
Buffe loues fat vians, fat ale, fat all things,
The tenth Epigramme.
whores, fat offices, yet all men
Him fat only wishes to feast
Smith by sute diuorst, the knowne adultres
The eleventh Epigramme.
againe; what ayles the mad-cap
By this fury? euen so theeues
Of their hempe reseru'd, againe the dismall
Tree embrace, againe the fatall halter.
His late loss the Wiuelesse Higs in order
The twelfth Epigramme.
Eu'rywhere bewailes to friends, to strangers;
Tels them how
by night a yongster armed
Saught his Wife (as hand in hand he
With drawne sword to force, she cryed, he
Roring ran for ayde, but (ah) returning
with the prize the beawty-forcer,
Whome in vaine he seeks, he
threats, he followes.
Chang'd is Hellen, Hellen hugs
Safe as Paris in the Greeke
Therewith his reports to teares he turneth,
Peirst through with the louely Dames remembrance;
sighes, he raues, his haire he teareth,
Forcing pitty still
by fresh lamenting.
Cease unworthy, worthy of thy
Thou that couldst so faire a prize deliuer,
feare vnregarded, vndefended,
Hadst no heart I thinke, I know
Why droopst thou Trefeild? will Hurst the
The seauenth Chapter, of the English
Make dice of thy bones? by heau'n he can not;
Can not? whats the reason? ile declare it,
Th'ar all growne
so pockie, and so rotten.
He Elegeick verses challenge the next place, as
compound verses the simplest. They are deriu'd out of our owne
naturall numbers as neere the imitation of the Greekes and Latines,
as our heauy sillables will permit. The first
verse is a meere licentiate Iambick; the second is fram'd
of two vnited Dimeters. In the first Dimeter we are
tyed to make the first foote either a Trochy or a
the second a Trochy, and the odde sillable
of it alwaies long. The second Dimeter consists of two Trochyes
(because it requires more swiftness then the
first) and an odde sillable, which being last, is euer common. I
will giue you example both of Elegye and Epigramme,
in this kinde.
Example of Epigrams, in Elegeick verse.
Constant to none, but euer false to me,
Traiter still to loue through thy faint desires,
Not hope of pittie now nor vaine redresse
my griefs to teares, and renu'd laments
Too well thy empty
vowes, and hollow thoughts
Witnes both thy
wrongs, and remorseles hart.
Rue not my sorrow, but blush at
Let thy bloudy cheeks guilty thoughts
My flames did truly burne, thine made a shew,
As fires painted are which no heate retayne,
as the glossy Pirop faines to blaze,
toucht cold appeares, and an earthy stone,
True cullours deck
thy cheeks, false foiles thy brest,
thy light beawty is thy minde.
None canst thou long refuse,
nor long affect,
But turn'st feare with hopes,
sorrow with delight,
Delaying, and deluding eu'ry way
Those whose eyes are once with thy beawty
Thrice happy man that entring first thy loue,
Can so guide the straight raynes of his desires,
That both he can regard thee, and refraine:
grac't, firme he stands, if not, easely falls.
The first Epigramme.
The second Epigramme.
Arthure brooks only those that brooke not him,
Those he most regards, and deuoutly serues:
But them that grace him his great brau'ry skornes,
Counting kindnesse all duty, not desert:
Arthure wants forty pounds, tyres eu'ry friend,
But finds none that holds twenty due for
The third Epigramme.
If fancy can not erre which vertue guides,
In thee Laura then fancy can not erre.
The fourth Epigramme.
Drue feasts no Puritans, the churles he saith
no men, but eate, praise God, and depart.
The fift Epigramme.
A wiseman wary liues, yet most secure,
not him greatly, nor delights.
Fortune and death he skorning,
Th'earth his sober Inne, but still heau'n his
The sixt Epigramme.
Thou telst me Barnzy Dawson hath a wife,
he hath I gruant, Dawson hath a wife.
The seauenth Epigramme.
Drue giues thee money, yet thou thankst not him,
thankst God for him, like a godly man.
Suppose rude Puritan
thou begst of him,
And he saith God help, who's the godly
The eight Epigramme.
All wonders Barnzy speakes, all grosely faind,
Speake some wonder once Barnzy, speake the
The ninth Epigramme.
None then should through thy beawty Lawra pine,
Might sweet words alone ease a loue-sick heart:
sweet words alone that quit so well
Hope of friendly deeds
kill the loue-sick heart.
The eight Chapter, of Ditties and Odes.
At all thou frankly throwst, while Frank thy
Bars not Luke the mayn, Oteny barre the
The English Sapphick.
descend orderly from the more simple numbers to them that are the
more compounded, it is now time to handle such verses as are fit
for Ditties or Odes; which we may call Lyricall,
because they are apt to be soong to an
instrument, if they were adorn'd with conuenient notes. Of that
kind I will demonstrate three in this Chapter, and in the first
we will proceede after the manner of the Saphick which is
a Trochaicall verse as well as the Hendicasillable
in Latine. The first three verses therefore in our English Saphick
are meerely those Trochaicks which I
handled in the sixt Chapter, excepting only that the first foote
of either of them must euer of necessity be a Spondee, to
make the number more graue. The fourth and last closing verse is
compounded of three Trochyes together, to giue a more
smooth faewell, as you may easily obserue in this Poeme made vpon
a Triumph at Whitehall, whose glory was dasht with an
vnwelcome showre, hindring the people from the desired sight of
shield the Christian Diana
Englands glory crownd with
Liue long with triumphs to blesse thy
At thy sight
Loe they sound, the Knights in order armed
Entring th[e]reat the list, adrest to combat
courtly loues; he, hees the wonder
Whome Eliza graceth.
pomp the vulgar heaps detaineth,
And rough steeds, let vs the
Close obserue, the speeches and the musicks
But whence showres so fast this angry tempest,
Clowding dimme the place? behold Eliza
This day shines
not here, this heard, the launces
And thick heads do vanish.
The second kinde consists of Dimeter,
whose first foote may either be a Sponde
or a Trochy: The two verses following are both of them Trochaical,
and consist of foure feete, the first of
either of them being a Spondee or Trochy, the other
only Trochyes. The fourth and last verse is made of
two Trochyes. The number is voluble and fit to expresse any
The third kind begins as
the second kind ended, with a verse consisting of two Trochy
and then as the second kind had in the middle two Trochaick
verses of foure feete, so this hath three of the
same nature, and ends in a Dimeter as the second began.
The Dimeter may allow in the first place a Trochy
or a Spondee, but no Iambick.
Rose-cheekt Lawra come
smoothly with thy beawties
Silent musick, either other
Louely formes do flowe
From concent deuinely
Heau'n is musick, and thy beawties
Birth is heauenly.
These dull notes we sing
Discords neede for helps
to grace them,
Only beawty purely louing
Knowes no discord:
But still mooues delight
Like cleare springs
renu'd by flowing,
Euer perfet, euer in them-
The ninth Chapter, of the Anacreontick
Kindest loue, yet only chastest,
Royall in thy smooth
Frowning or demurely smiling
Still my pure delight.
Let me view thee
thoughts and with eyes affected,
And if then the flames do
Quench them with thy vertue, charme them
With thy stormy browes.
Heau'n so cheerefull
Laughs not euer, hory winter
Knowes his season, euen the
Sommer mornes from angry thunder
Iet not still
Feete of two sillables.
any shall demaund the reason why this number being in it selfe
simple, is plac't after so many compounded numbers, I aunswere,
because I hold it a number too licentiate for a higher place, and
in respect of the rest imperfect, yet is it passing gracefull in
our English toong, and will excellently fit the subiect of a Madrigall,
or any other lofty or tragicall matter. It
consists of two feete, the first may be either a Sponde or Trochy,
the other must euer represent the nature of a Trochy, as for
Thus haue I briefly described eight seuerall kinds of English
numbers simple or compound. The first was our Iambick pure
and licentiate. the second, that which I call our Dimeter,
being deriued either from the end of our Iambick, or from
the beginning of our Trochaick. The third which I deriued
was our English Trochaick verse. The fourth our English Elegeick.
The fift, sixt, and seauenth, were our English Sapphick, and
two other Lyricall numbers, the
beginning with that verse which I call our Dimeter, the
other ending with the same. The eight and last was a kind of Anacreontick
verse, handled in this Chapter. These
which by my long obseruation I haue found
agreeable with the nature of our sillables, I haue set forth
the benefit of our language, which I presume the learned will not
only imitate, but also polish and amplifie with their owne
inuentions. Some eares accustomed altogether to the fatnes of
rime, may perhaps except against the cadences of these numbers,
but let any man iudicially examine them, and he shall finde they
close of themselues so perfectly, that the help of rime were not
only in them superfluous, but also absurd. Moreouer, that they
agree with the nature of our English it is manifest, because they
entertaine so willingly our owne British names, which the writers
in English Heroicks could neuer aspire vnto, and euen our Rimers
themselues haue rather delighted in borrowed names then in their
owne, though much more apt and necessary. But it is now time that
I proceade to the censure of our sillables, and that I set such
lawes vpon them as by imitation, reason, or experience, I can
confirme. Yet before I enter into that discourse, I will briefly
recite, and dispose in order all such feete as are necessary for
composition of the verses before described. They are sixe in
number, three whereof consist of two sillables, and as many of
Arm'd, like whirlewind
Now she flyes thee;
Time can conquer
Loue can alter
Till death faint not
Could I catch that
Swift foote Lawra,
Soone then would
Prostrate then to
Beg for mercye.
Feete of three sillables.
The tenth Chapter, of the quantity of English
F I N I
He Greekes in the quantity of their sillables
licentious then the Latines, as Martiall in his
Epigramme of Earinon witnesseth, saying, Musas qui
colimus seueriores. But the English may very well challenge
much more licence then either of them, by reason it stands
chiefely vpon monasillables, which in expressing with the voyce,
are of a heauy cariage, and for that cause the Dactil,
Trybrack, and Anapestick
are not greatly mist in our verses. But aboue all the accent
our words is diligently to be obseru'd, for chiefely by the
accent in any language the true value of the sillables is to be
measured. Neither can I remember any impediment except position
that can alter the accent of any sillable in our English verse.
For though we accent the second of Trumpington short, yet
is it naturally long, and so of necessity must be held of euery
composer. Wherefore the first rule that is to be obserued, is the
nature of the accent, which we must euer follow.
The next rule is position, which makes
euery sillable long, whether the position happens in one or in
two words, according to the manner of the Latines, wherein
is to be noted that h is no letter.
Position is when a vowell comes before
two consonants, either in one or two words. In one, as in best, e
before st, makes the word best
by position. In two words, as in setled loue: e before d
in the last sillable of the first word, and l
the beginning of the second makes led in setled
long by position.
A vowell before a vowell is alwaies short, as,
fliing, diing, going, vnlesse the accent alter it, as
The dipthong in the midst of a word is alwaies long, as plaiing
The Synalæphas or Elisions in our toong are
either necessary to auoid the hollownes and gaping in our verse
as to, and the, t'inchaunt, th'inchaunter, or may
be vsd at pleasure, as for let vs, to say let's,
for we will, wee'l, for euery, eu'ry, for they
are, th'ar, for he is, hee's, for admired,
admir'd, and such like.
Also, because our English Orthography (as the French) differ from
our common pronunciation, we must esteeme our sillables as we
speake, not as we write, for the sound of them in a verse is to
be valued, and not their letters, as for follow, we
pronounce follo, for perfect, perfet, for little,
littel, for loue-sick, loue-sik, for honour, honor,
for money, mony, for dangerous,
dangerus, for raunsome, raunsum, for though,
tho, and their like.
Deriuatiues hold the quantities of their primatiues, as deuout,
deuotelie, prophane, prophanelie, and so do the
compositiues, as deseru'd, undeseru'd.
In words of two sillables, if the last haue a full and rising
accent that sticks long vpon the voyce,
the first sillable is alwayes short, vnlesse position, or the
dipthong doth make it long, as desire, preserue, define,
prophane, regard, manure, and such like.
If the like disillables at the beginning haue double consonants
of the same kind, we may vse the first sillable as common, but
more naturally short, because in their pronunciation we touch but
one of those double letters, as atend, apeare, opose. The
like we may say when silent and melting consonants meete
together, as adrest, redrest, oprest, represt, retriu'd,
and such like.
Words of two sillables that in their last sillable mayntayne a
flat or falling accent, ought to hold their first sillable long,
as rigor, glorie, spirit, furie, labour, and the like: any,
many, prety, holy, and their like, are excepted.
One obseruation which leades me to iudge of the difference of
these dissillables whereof I last spake, I take from the
originall monasillable, which if it be graue, as shade, I
hold that the first of shadie must be long, so true, trulie,
haue, hauing, tire, tiring.
Words of three sillables for the most part are deirued from words
of two sillables, and from
them take the quantity of their first sillable, as florish,
florishing long, holie holines short, but mi,
in miser being long, hinders not the first of misery to
be short, because the sound of the i
De, di, and pro, in
trisillables (the second
short) are long, as desolate, diligent, prodigall.
Re is euer short, as remedie,
Likewise the first of these trisillables is short, as the first
of benefit, generall, hideous, memorie, numerous, penetrate,
seperat, timerous, variant, various, and so may we esteeme of
all that yeeld the like quicknes of sound.
In words of three sillables the quantity of the middle sillable
is lightly taken from the last sillable of the originall
dissillable, as the last of deuine, ending in a graue or
long accent, makes the second of deuining also long, and
so espie, espiing, denie, deniing: contrarywise it falles
out if the last of the dissallable beares a flat or falling
accent, as glorie, gloriing, enuie, enuiing, and so forth.
Words of more sillables are eyther borrowed and hold their owne
nature, or are likewise deriu'd, and so follow the quantity of
or are knowne by their proper accents, or may be easily
by a iudiciall eare.
All words of two or more sillables ending with a falling accent
in y or ye, as fairelie, demurelie, beawtie,
pittie; or in e, as parle, Daphne, or in a,
as Manna, are naturally short in their last
sillables: neither let any man cauill at this licentiate
abbreuiating of sillables, contrary to the custome of the Latines,
which made all their last sillables that ended
in u long, but let him consider that our verse of fiue
and for the most part but of ten sillables, and therefore may
with sufficient reason aduenture vpon this allowance. Besides,
euery man may obserue what an infinite number of sillables both
among the Greekes and Romaines are held as common.
But words of two sillables ending with a rising accent in y or ye,
as denye, descrye, or in ue,
as ensue, or in ee, as foresee, or in oe,
as forgoe, are long in their last sillables,
vnlesse a vowell begins the next word.
All monasillables that end in a graue accent are euer long, as wrath,
hath, these, those, tooth, sooth, through, day, play,
feate, speede, strife, flow, grow, shew.
The like rule is to be obserued in the last of dissillables,
bearing a graue rising sound, as deuine, delaie, retire,
refuse, manure, or a graue falling sound, as fortune,
All such as haue a double consonant lengthning them, as warre,
barre, starre, furre, murre, appeare to me rather long then
any way short.
There are of these kinds other, but of a lighter sound, that if
the word following do begin with a vowell are short, as doth,
though, thou, now, they, two, too, flye dye, true, due, see, are,
far, you, thee, and the like.
These monasillables are alwayes short, as a, the, thi, she,
we, be, be, no, to, go, so, do, and the like.
Bit if i, or y, are ioyn'd at the beginning of a
word with any vowell, it is not then held as a vowell, but as a
consonant, as Ielosy, iewce, iade, ioy, Iudas, ye, yet, yel,
youth, yoke. The like is to be obseru'd in w, as winde,
wide, wood: and in all words that begin with va,
ve, vi, vo, or vu, as vacant, vew, vine, voide, and
All Monasillables or Polysillables that end in single consonants,
either written, or sounded with single consonants, hauing a sharp
and standing without position of the word following, are
short in their last sillable, as scab, fled, parted, God, of,
if, bandog, anguish, sick, quick, riual, will, people, simple,
come, some, him, them, from, summon, then, prop, prosper, honour,
labour, this, his, speches, goddesse, perfect, but, what,
that, and their like.
The last sillable of all words in the plurall number that haue
two or more vowels before s, are long, as vertues, duties,
These rules concerning the quantity of our English sillables I
haue disposed as they came next into my memory, others more
methodicall, time and practise may produce. In the meane season,
as the Grammarians leaue many sillables to the authority of
Poets, so do I likewise leaue many to their iudgements: and
withall thus conclude, that there is no Art begun and perfected
at one enterprise.