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blank verse, it is exhibited in his translation of Virgil in a very imperfect state. It is formal and stiff. It reads as if it had originally been written in rhyming couplets, and the terminations subsequently altered. This measure was afterwards adopted by a still more distinguished ornament of the English aristocracy, who, as the author of the first tragedy in our language that at all deserved that name, and from his sublime Induction to the Mirror for Magistrates, may be considered as, in some degree, the precursor both of Shakspeare and Spenser. To him we owe the
application of blank verse to the drama. Yet still, even in the hands of Sackville, it was heavy and pompous. The first who attempted to introduce any variety of pauses, was a writer whose name can never be mentioned without pain. If Marlowe had not led a life of profligate dissipation, which, perhaps, hastened his death, he would probably have held a very high rank among the poets of his country. He who was at the same time celebrated for his "mighty line," and could produce that exquisite specimen of pastoral sweetness, The Shepherd to his Love, was capable, under better auspices, of the greatest efforts of genius. In his Edward III. we occasionally meet with passages which exhibit the varied flow of suc ceeding poets:
"A heavy case;
Slaughter themselves in others, and their sides
"With their own weapons gore! But whats the help?
"And Edward, thou art one among them all
"Whose looseness hath betrayd thy land to spoil,
His translation of the first book of Lucan, is a very
and as I know of no other
but that which is in Mr. Malone's collection, I will produce a specimen. It is from the speech of Lalius, the centurion. See Lucan. lib. i. 1. 361 :
"What, doubtst thou us? even nowe when youthful bloud
But although these and similar passages evince that Marlowe's ear had sometimes taught him to release blank verse from the fetters which had been imposed upon it, yet the general strain of his versification resembles that of Surrey and Sackville. At last Shakspeare arose, who was destined to carry the drama in all its parts to the highest state of perfection; and even in the structure of his verse, not only left all his predecessors far behind him, but exhibited to those who came after him, a model of harmony which no one has ever surpassed. Perhaps no species of metrical excellence can be mentioned, which is not exemplified in his plays. He has equally avoided the formal monotony of those who went before him, and the laxity of his contemporaries; his metre is generally correct; but the inexhaustible variety of his modulation never palls upon the ear. Whether that spirit of his, in aspiration, lifts him from the earth;" or humbler topicks require a more subdued tone; whether he is
sublime, pathetick, familiar, or gay, the colours of
"So on the tip of his subduing tongue
"All kinds of arguments and questions deep,
I have withdrawn from the Index, which will be
listen, listen to, xi. 105.
other instances of particles omitted, xii. 23, 83.
command upon, command, xi. 137.
xiii. 228, 390.
xv. 33, 282.
Particles employed contrary to modern usage:
for catching cold, lest they should catch cold, iv. 26.
guilty to, guilty of, iv. 214.
charge with, i. e. charge for, xii. 172.
I desire you of more acquaintance, v. 255.
whom we intreated of succour, xvii. 349.*
Adjectives used adverbially :
damnable, for damnably, x. 438.
honourable, for honourably, xiv. 288, 395.
more wider, viii. 416.
most best, vii. 272.
* For a multitude of particles similarly misapplied in the
Negative used to assert a thing strongly:
here's no vanity, xvi. 395.
Present tense of a verb used for the passive parti-
heat, for heated, xi. 342.
fast, for fasted, xii. 172.
frustrate, for frustrated, xii. 38.
other instances, xv. 36, 225.
Active participle, used for passive:
multiplying, multiplied, xiii. 354.
Passive participle for active:
brooded, for brooding, xv. 293.
Adjectives used for active participle:
estimable, esteeming, xi. 379.
Adjectives used for passive participle:
dividable, for divided, viii. 263.
Participle passive instead of adjective: