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BIBLIOGRAPHY.                              281
seven years before (but which, it seems, had not been owned by him), for the subject of his remarks on English Versification. He says, " Of the kinds of English verses which differ in number of sylla­bles, there are almost infinite. To avoid therefore tediousness, I will repeat only the different sorts of verses out of the Shepherd's Calendar, which may well serve to bear authority in this matter.
" There are in this work twelve or thirteen sundry sorts of verses, which differ either in length, or rhyme, or distinction of the staves." Having quoted several passages to prove this assertion, he adds, " I shall avoid the tedious rehearsal of all the kinds which are used, which I think would have been impossible, seeing they may be altered to as many forms as the poets please : neither is there any tune or stroke which may be sung or played on instruments, which hath not some poetical ditties framed according to the numbers thereof."
But notwithstanding this abundant variety, our author was one of those who fancied that English poetry would be greatly improved by adopting Greek and Latin measures, and composing in hexameter, pentameter, sapphic, and other ancient forms. It was a project that had already been set on foot by some of high literary reputation; and he endeavoured to advance it by his advice and example. He was aware, indeed, of the objection " that our words are nothing resemblant in nature to theirs, and therefore not possible to be framed with any good grace after their use ;" but this he






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