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17O                             ORTHOMETRY.
The notice taken of this imperfection leads to the mention of another very similar to it. Our versifiers, for the most part, are well acquainted with poetical language, and possess a store of terms and phrases which are very fit and proper to be employed in the composition of verse; but they often commit mistakes in the application of them. Among their errors one arises from this : that they consider certain words to be synony­mous which are only partially so. For instance, a head of hair and tresses frequently mean the same thing; but we cannot properly give the name of tresses to every head of hair. Again, waves and water are the same: every wave is water; but water in every situation and quantity is not to be called a wave. The misapplication of such terms as these, and the indifferent use of one for the other, as if they had the same signification in all cases, is a blemish in our poetry, and it deserves anim­adversion. It is admitted, sometimes for the purpose of supposed poetical ornament, and some­times for the more urgent purpose of supplying a rhyme. Tyros in the art of versifying are the worst offenders in this respect, yet traces of it are to be seen in writers of a much higher order. In Pope's Windsor Forest the river Thames is described thus:
In that blest moment from his oozy bed Old Father Thames advanced his reverend head. His tresses dropp'd with dews, and o'er the stream His shining horns diffused a golden gleam.
Tresses are braided hair, and the term is gen-






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III