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"shapes and forms,

The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Their great Commander." ||

"Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf
Confounded, though immortal." ||

Considerably less frequent still is the Casura after the completed fourth foot (generally the eighth syllable); and still more rare, though occasional, are the Cesuras at the middle of the second foot (generally after the third syllable) and after the first completed foot (generally the second syllable) :

"Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. || Thus they

"for now the thought

Both of lost happiness and lasting pain
Torments him.

Round he throws his baleful eyes."

"And now his heart

Distends with pride, and, hardening in his strength,
Glories for never since created Man."

Very rare indeed is the Casura in the middle of the fifth foot (ie. after what is generally the ninth syllable); but there are instances :

"Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets,
I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None
But such as are good men can give good things."

Hardly to be found at all is the Casura after the first syllable or in the middle of the first foot; but this may pass as an instance :

"The Ionian Gods, of Javan's issue held

Gods; yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth."


RHYMES may either be Perfect or Imperfect; and nearly the whole question as to Milton's practice in rhyming

connects itself with this distinction :-I. PERFECT RHYME consists of the stated recurrence, at metrical intervals, of exactly the same vocal endings, whether vowel-sounds simply (e.g. go...blow, eye...cry), or vowel-sounds with consonantal additions completing the syllable (e.g. gold...bold...moula

...rolled, rose...close...blows, hand...stand, bear...spare, pause ...draws), or vowel-sounds with such additions as to make farther syllables (e.g. going...blowing, beaming...streaming, thunder...plunder, mountains...fountains, utility...facility). Obviously, from this definition, a perfect rhyme may be single or monosyllabic, double or dissyllabic, or even triple or trisyllabic: obviously also, it is not identity of spelling that is required, but only identity of sound in the vowel that leads the rhyme, and in all that follows it, if anything does follow it, to complete the rhyme. Two sorts of Rhyme, however, that would be "perfect" according to this definition, are excluded, nevertheless, from good English verse. One is the identical rhyme: i.e. a rhyme perfect by the foregoing rule, but unfortunate in having the same consonantal sound repeated before the leading vowel-sound; e.g. verse ...converse, so...sew, leaving...believing. Though French verse favours such rhymes, and they are found in Italian, they are forbidden in modern English. Equally forbidden in all serious poetry is what may be called The Provincial Rhyme, or that in which the rhyme is good only by a pronunciation peculiar to a locality or district. Rhymes of this sort specially worthy of reprobation are such Cockney Rhymes as "arm...calm," " morn...dawn," "morning... dawning," "Ah...far," "lyre...Sophia," "higher...Thalia." Keats was, I think, the first classic English poet that fell into such rhymes, but they have become alarmingly frequent of late in South of England verse.-II. IMPERFECT RHYMES are those which, though falling short of the conditions of Perfect Rhyme, yet give, whether from custom or from their approximation to Perfect Rhyme, a similar pleasure to the ear. They may be variously classified; but perhaps the following classification, suggested in part by Mr. A. J. Ellis's collection of imperfect rhymes from Moore and Tennyson (Early English Pronunciation, pp. 858-862), is practically sufficient:—(1.) Weak or unaccented sounds rhyming with the same, or nearly the same, strong or accented: e.g. misery...see, eternity...free, agonies...freeze, myrrh...lovelier, minister...fir, visible...hill, festival...all, etc. (2.) Consonantal Rhymes, or vowel-sounds rhyming with different vowel-sounds because the sequent consonants are the same : e.g. love...move, love...grove, home...come, one...alone, blood... good, heaven...even, clamber...chamber, death...sheath, have...

save, urn...mourn, God...abroad, Christ...mist, earth...forth, etc. Such rhymes are quite common in the best modern English poets, and are therefore legitimate. Many of them are called specially Eye-Rhymes, because the sameness of the spelling helps to reconcile them to the ear. (3.) Rhymes in which the vowel-sounds differ decidedly, and there is also a difference of accent: e.g. die...sympathy, eyes...mysteries, Christ...Evengelist. The accepted rhymes of this sort are comparatively few, and some of them are Eye-Rhymes. (4.) Rhymes in which, the vowel - sounds either agreeing somewhat or differing essentially, the succeeding consonants yet differ: e.g. his...bliss, peace...these, house...vows, else... tells, vase...grace, breath...wreathe, pass...was, face...gaze,


Milton has, of course, his full proportion of Perfect Rhymes, chiefly monosyllabic, but occasionally dissyllabic. Equally of course, no sanction of the hideous modern Cockney rhymes, as claiming to belong to this class, will be found in him. Of "identical rhymes " he is not so innocent, though one can see that, despite the example of Chaucer, Spenser, and the Italian poets generally, he did not like them. In Psalm LXXX. 21-23 he makes "tears" rhyme to itself; in Psalm LXXXVI. 26-28 he makes "works" rhyme to itself; in Vac. Ex. 89, 90, he makes "not" rhyme with "knot"; in Sonnet IX. he makes the "Ruth "" proper name rhyme with "6. ruth," the abstract noun; in Psalm II. 20-22 he makes "averse" rhyme with "converse"; in Psalm VII. 32-35 he makes "righteousness" rhyme with "wickedness"; in Psalm LXXX. he makes "vouchsafe" rhyme several times with "safe"; and search may detect some more latent instances. On the other hand, in the Psalm Translations in Service metre, when a rhyme is due in the third line to the word ending the first, he sometimes fails to give it. In those Psalm Translations, however, he was not at all fastidious.- -But what in the main matter of Imperfect Rhymes? Milton, if not so lax here as Spenser had been, fully asserted the liberty which has been maintained by succeeding English poets to this day. He furnishes examples freely of all the kinds of Imperfect Rhymes recognised in our classification: e.g. (1.) blest... hoverest, err...harbinger, iniquity...he; (2) sphere...were, God...load, spreads...meads, stood...flood, good...blood, groves

...loves, tomb...comb, alone...one, known...down, hearers... bearers; (3.) tie...harmony, victories...arise; (4.) pass...was, voice...noise.

With all possible deduction on account of dubious pronunciations, the proof is positive in every page that Milton made free and large use of imperfect rhymes. From a rough calculation, I should say that, in the whole of his rhymed poetry, extending to about 2700 lines, every eighth or tenth rhyme is more or less imperfect. Nor is it only in his least elaborate poems and passages that such rhymes occur. They occur in passages the most finished and dainty, the most lyrical and musical. Take for example the Echo Song in Comus, sung by the lost Lady in the woods at night. That song is avowedly an address to the very Genius of Sound; it is the song of which the Guardian Spirit said that its perfection had enraptured Silence herself, and might have created a soul under the ribs of Death. Well, that song is even conspicuous for its imperfect rhymes

"Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen
Within thy airy shell

By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet-embroidered vale

Where the love-lorn nightingale

Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well:
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair

That likest thy Narcissus are?

O, if thou have

Hid them in some flowery cave,

Tell me but where,

Sweet Queen of Parley, Daughter of the Sphere !
So may'st thou be translated to the skies,

And give resounding grace to all Heaven's harmonies!'


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