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This term, although it includes all unrhymed measures, is generally restricted to Heroic verse, or Iambic pentameter. In it are embalmed the masterpieces of English poetry, Milton's epics and Shakspere's dramas. It was first employed in English verse by the Earl of Surrey, who also introduced the sonnet, during the reign of Henry VIII., in a translation which he made of the second and fourth books of the the opening lines
of which are as follows:
These lines are not an unfavourable specimen ot the kind of verse ; they run smoothly, and the pause is varied—in fact they would bear comparison with the blank verse of all but the greatest masters.
Blank verse is less trammelled by artificial restrictions, and its rhythm is improved by the introduction of a greater number of deviations from normal regularity than any other measure in English, or indeed of any other language, ancient or