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strong accent is in all cases indispensably required ; and in order to make the line tolerably harmonious, it seems necessary that at least two more of the even syllables should be accented, the fourth being (almost always) one of them. Milton, however, has not subjected his verse even to these rules; and particularly, either by negligence or design, he has frequently put an unaccented syllable in the fourth place." * To make this statement respecting Milton is to show very little attention to his manner of versification ; and to put it as a doubt whether he did not, through negligence, set an unaccented syllable in the fourth place of his line, is to doubt whether he was not grossly negligent in that point throughout his poem; since he has done so no less than three times within the first seven lines:
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater man Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, Sing, heavenly Muse, that on the secret top Of Oreb, 6r of Sinai, &c.
Again, to affirm that " a strong accent is in all cases indispensably required on the rhyming syllable," is to condemn the practice of our most correct and approved authors. Pope, without scruple, admitted an unaccented syllable to rhyme: for instance,
* See Paradise Lost, book iii. 36, 586; book v. 413, 750, 874. Essay, p. 6a.