Page images
PDF
EPUB

the two lovers to hold up. Ippolito's cheeks, which seemed to have fallen away in one night, appeared to have plumped out again faster; and if he was now pale instead of high coloured, the paleness of Dianora had given way to radiant blushes which made up for it. He looked, as he ought,like the person saved; she, like the angelic saviour.

Thus the two lovers passed on, as if in a dream tumultuous but delightful. Neither of them looked on the other; they gazed hither and thither on the crowd, as if in answer to the blessings that poured upon them; but their hands were locked fast; and they went like one soul in a divided body.

RHYME AND REASON;

OR A NEW PROPOSAL TO THE PUBLIC RESPECTING POETRY

IN ORDINARY.

A FRIEND of ours the other day, taking up the miscellaneous poems of Tasso, read the title-page into English as follows:-“The Rhimes of the Lord Twisted Yew, Amorous, Bosky, and Maritime.”* The Italians exhibit a modesty worthy of imitation in calling their Miscellaneous Poems, Rhimes. Twisted Yew himself, with all his genius, has put forth an abundance of these terminating blossoms, without any fruit behind them: and his countrymen of the present day do not scruple to confess, that their living poetry consists of little else. The French have a game at verses, called Rhymed Ends (Bouts Rimees) which they practise a great deal more than they are aware; and the English, though they are a more poetical people, and lay claim to the character of a less vain one, practise the same game to a very uncandid extent, without so much as allowing that the title is applicable to any part of it.

Yet how many “ Poems” are there among all these nations, of which we require no more than the Rhymes, to be acquainted with the whole of them? You know what the rogues have done, by the ends they come to. For instance,

Rime del Signor Torquato Tasso, Amorose, Boschereccie, Marittime, &c.

what more is necessary to inform us of all which the follow-
ing gentleman has for sale, than the bell which he tinkles at
the end of his cry? We are as sure of him, as of the muf-
fin-man.
Grove,
Heart

Kiss
Night,
Prove,

Blest
Rove,
Impart,

Bliss
Delight.
Love.

Rest.

Was there ever per-oration more eloquent? Ever a series of catastrophes more explanatory of their previous history? Did any Chinese gentleman ever shew the amount of his breeding and accomplishments more completely, by the nails which he carries at his fingers' ends?

The Italian Rimatori are equally comprehensive. We no sooner see the majority of their rhymes, than we long to save the modesty of their general pretensions so much trouble in making out their case. Their cores and amores are not to be disputed. Cursed is he that does not put implicit reliance upon their fedeltà!—that makes inquisition why the possessor più superbo va. They may take the oaths and their seat at once. For example,

Ben mio
Oh Dio

Da me
And again,

Fuggito
Rapito

La fe.

Amata
Sdegnata
Turbata
Irata
Furore
Dolore

Non so.

With

O Cielo
Dal gielo
Tradire
Languire
Morire
Soffrire

Non può.

Where is the dull and inordinate person that would require these rhymes to be filled up? If they are brief as the love of which they complain, are they not pregnant in conclusions, full of a world of things that have past, infinitely retrospective, embracing, and enough? If not “ vast,” are they not

voluminous?"

It is doubtless an instinct of this kind that has made so many modern Italian poets intersperse their lyrics with those frequent single words, which are at once line and rhyme, and which some of our countrymen have in vain endeavoured to naturalize in the English opera. Not that they want the same pregnancy in our language, but because they are neither so abundant nor so musical; and besides, there is something in the rest of our verses, however common-place, which seems to be laughing at the incursion of these vivacious strangers, as if it were a hop suddenly got up, and unseasonably. We do not naturally take to any thing so abrupt and saltatory.

This objection however does not apply to the proposal we are about to make. Our rhymers must rhyme; and as there is a great difference between single words thus mingled with longer verses, and the same rhymes in their proper places, it has struck us, that a world of time and paper might be saved to the ingenious rimatore, whether Italian or English,

by foregoing at once all the superfluous part of his verses; that is to say, all the rest of them; and confining himself, entirely, to these very sufficing terminations. We subjoin some specimens in the various kinds of poetry; and inform the intelligent bookseller, that we are willing to treat with him for any quantity at a penny the hundred; which considering our characters, and how much more is obtained by the Laureate, and divers other tinkling old gentlemen about town, we trust will not be reckoned presuming.

[blocks in formation]

Here, without any more ado, we have the whole history of a couple of successful rural lovers comparing notes. They issue forth in the morning; fall into the proper place and dialogue; record the charms and kindness of their respective mistresses; do justice at the same time to the fields and shades; and conclude by telling their flocks to wait as usual, while they renew their addresses under yonder boughs. How easily is all this gathered from the rhymes! and how worse than useless would it be in two persons, who have such interesting avocations, to waste their precious time and the reader's in a heap of prefatory remarks, falsely called verses !

« PreviousContinue »