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Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,
Ad pœnas fugiunt, et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus:
S. B., M.I
ON PARADISE LOST
WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All-the argument
Or, if a work so infinite he spanned,
Might hence presume the whole Creation's day
Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit,
The majesty which through thy work doth reign
Where could'st thou words of such a compass find?
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
While the Town-Bayes writes all the while and spells,
And, while I meant to praise thee, must commend.
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rime.
THE measure is English heroic verse without rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin-rime being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame metre; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse, than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rime both in longer and shorter works, as have also long since our best English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings-a fault avoided by the learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect then of rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome and modern bondage of riming.