Page images

6 11-30-34 ms recat.


T is little that the Editor has to say on the appearance of the Fourth, and concluding, Series of the lamented Southey's Common Place Book. Possibly to some, it may contain the most interesting portion of the whole,-as Daniel says, "the tongue of" his "best thoughts,"-to others, deeper thought, and original ideas, may be less interesting, and they may long for the olla podrida of the earlier portions. But, to all, even to general readers, there is no doubt but that the Series now presented to the Public is in every way most interesting, and there is, in his Manna, to adopt a saying of the Rabbi's, something to suit the taste of all.

[ocr errors]

In a letter written July 11, 1822, there occurs the passage following, and in it is shewn that "besetting sin-a sort of miser-like love of accumulation". - to which the Reader owes the volumes now brought, with no little labour, to completion. "Like those persons who frequent sales, and fill their houses with useless purchases, because they may want them some time or other; so am I for ever making collections and storing up materials which may not come into use till the Greek Calends. And this I have been doing for five and twenty years! It is true that I draw daily upon my hoards, and should be poor without them; but in prudence I ought now to be working up those materials rather than adding to so much dead stock." Life and Correspondence, vol. v. p. 135.

From these stores, as hinted, these Common Place Books are derived, but much, very much, is left behind,-besides that contained in the wondrous collection for the HISTORY OF PORTUGAL,-not to be understood except by those who know the private marks of the Author. Enough, however, has been given to shew the vast collections of this unrivalled scholar, and the comprehensive grasp of that gigantic intellect,

which, with untold mines of power, was meek and lowly and of childlike simplicity, as shewn, more or less, in every letter in the Life and Correspondence. That Southey was a great man and a great scholar, is comparatively, a little thing,—that he was a good man and a Christian every whit, and a righteous example and a pattern for ages yet to come, that is a great matter! His praise is this, that he was a humble minded man, a good son, a good father, a good Christian!

It is scarcely necessary to add, in the words of his prime favourite author, that " he had a rare felicity in speedy reading of books, and as it were but turning them over would give an exact account of all considerable therein." The words occur in the Holy State, in the Life of Mr. Perkins, who preached to the prisoners in the castle of Cambridge, "bound in their bodies, but too loose in their lives."



December 24, 1850.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

HE frequent occurrence of monosyllables is unfavourable to hexameters in our language. The omission of the e in the imperfect and participle, the contraction of the genitive, these also by shortening words increase the difficulty.

The Saxon genitive, then, must be restored; the pronoun genitive also, "his," and even "her." The latter innovation or renovation will remove one hissing sound.

The English hexameter will be much longer to the eye than either the Greek or Latin, but so many of our letters are useless, that I do not think it can be longer to the ear. We often express a single sound by two characters, as in all letters with the h compounded.

A trochee may be used for a spondee, perhaps an iambic, but the iambic must never follow a trochee.

Like blank verse, hexameters may run into each other, but the sentence must not, I think, close with a hemistich.

The reader will find the question of English hexameters fully examined in the Preface to the Vision of Judgment.-J. W. W.

Perhaps the Saxon plural in en may be advantageously restored.

The fewest possible syllables in a line are thirteen, the most seventeen. The first four feet vary from eight to twelve. I conceive that any arrangement between these will be sufficient if they satisfy the ear.

We have in our language twelve feet; the Greeks and Romans had twenty-eight. Spondee. Iambic


Dactyl Amphibrachys Amphimacer Antibacchius Ditrochæus Dijambus

Pæon Secundus Ionicus Major Choriambic.

[ocr errors]



[blocks in formation]

Irregular Blank Verse.

Or metres that must be the best which being harmonious enough to the reader, fetters least the poet's thoughts.

blank verse of which none make the half of Those lines are admissible in irregular any other; for the Alexandrine is two tacked


« PreviousContinue »