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WORKS ON VERSIFICATION:
In this chapter the attention of the student will be directed to what has been written upon the subject of verse and poetic criticism, since the rise of the Gay Science towards the end of the sixteenth century. It does not aim at furnishing an exhaustive list of such works, but it will be found sufficiently comprehensive to guide the reader who wishes to advance beyond an elementary knowledge of the subject. And as the older works are difficult of access, more copious extracts from them are given, although many of the views there expressed have long since been abandoned.
The first English writer* that occurs to notice is William Webbe, who published a Discourse of English Poetry in 1586. It was written "to stirre up some other of meete abilitie to bestow travell on the matter." In that discourse, after treating of poetry in general, he singles out Spenser from the English poets for his especial commendation, and takes the Shepherd's Calendar published about
• Our King James I. published in Scotland, in 1584, " Ane schort Treatise, containing some reulis and cautelis to be observit and eschewit in Scottis Poesie."