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DESCRIPTIONS OF THE
DIFFERENT SPECIES OE ENGLISH VERSE,
SCANNING AND VERSIFICATION,
to the various Capacities of Youth at different Ages,
in reading and writing Pot try;
BY JOHN CAREY, LL. D.
A NEW AND IMPROVED EDITION.
PRINTED FOR BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY,
1664, Mar. 30
Publications by Dr. Candy.
“ Key to Practical English Prosody and Versification," a new
convenient folding Table.
It is not with the view of maligg poets and
poetesses, that I send forth this little pablication
that must be the work of Nature alone: it is not in
my power to create them; and, if it were, I might be accused of doing more harm than good, in tempting any of my young readers to quit a gainful calling for the gainless trade*. My aims are more humbleji to teach the learner to read poetry with propriety and grace; - 2. to improve and polish bis style for prose composition.
However unprofitable the writing of poetry (as a professional occupation) may in general prove, the reading of it is universally allowed to be far from unprofitable. It softens and þumanises the heart : it inspires the soul with generous and exalted sentiments : it inculcates every virtue with greater energy and success, than the most labored, the most animated, prose. But it loses much of its effect,
• Trade. My profound respect for the inspired sons and daughters of genius would have forbidden 'me to apply this ignoble term to their sublime pursuit, if a great poet had not hiinself set me the example –
I left no calling for this idle trade. (Pope.
when dis-harmonised and enfeebled in the recitation, by an injudicious mode of utterance; and this will ever be the case, when the reader is not thoroughly acquainted with the metre- - not aware of what latitude it allows in the changes of feet, and other poetic licences of different kinds*. Nor can that necessary knowledge be so well acquired from precept alone --- often ill understood, and quickly forgotten -- as it may be gained by practice. For this obvious reason, it has been deemed expedient, in all the chief schools of this and other countries, to train the young student to Latin versification, for the purpose, not of making him a Latin poet, but of qualifying him to relish the beauties of the ancient poetry, and to improve his style for prose composition. And shall we pay more attention to a dead larguage than to our own? It were a shame if we did
a flagrant shiame, if, while we carefully cultivate the Latin versification, we wholly neglected the English; hardly one individual in a thousand ever feeling any temptation to write Latin poetry after he has quitted college; whereas there are very few
• With studied impropriety of speech,
He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach;
of the thinking part of mankind, who do not, at some time or other, find occasion to pen a few verses in their native language. In such cases, which may daily and hourly occur, what a pity, that, for want of due acquaintance with the technical part of the business, they should, by the unmetrical rudeness of their lines, disparage perhaps good ideas, which, in a more terse and polished form, might command the reader's applause! Indeed every person, whether poet or not, who has received any tolerable education, and pretends to write decent prose, ought likewise to be qualified for the occasional production of a few verses, smooth, at least, and metrically correct, whatever
be their merit or demerit in other respects.
That the practice of versification materially improves the style for prose composition, there cannot be a doubt. The ear which is acutely sensible to the harmonies of verse, will naturally revolt against inharmonious harshness in prose; and the pains, bestowed in searching for a variety of words of different lengths, quantities, and terminations, to suit the exigencies of the metrem
.. the shifts and turns,
* Cowper, Task, book 2.