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DEVELOPMENT OF VERSIFICATION.          it I
Milton, in their lyrical efforts may be said to have rung all the changes of metrical combinations pos­sible, and to have well-nigh exhausted the varieties of rhythm and poetic embellishment of which our language is capable, leaving to their successors little more than imitation as far as the form of verse goes. Dryden and Pope smoothed and polished the Heroic measure to the verge of mono­tony, and since their time but little originality has been possible in the art of versification beyond the experiments made with the classic metres.*
* See p. 264. Coleridge, in his beautiful fragment, Chrisiabel, made use of what he terms a new principle, the verse consisting of lines varying in length from seven to twelve syllables, but always having four accents. There is nothing strikingly new in this beyond the carrying of it out systematically.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III