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printed at Oxford in 1480 and 1481, of whom I shall make further mention in the following Pages.
Whether he came along with Corseles as an under Workman is difficult to determine."
JACQUES DE LA TAILLE.
MR. TOLD, in ins Life of Spenser, has made many ingenious remarks on the false taste of some of our Poets of that period, and particularly on that absurd propensity which distin. guished many of them, to aecommodate the English language to the metres of the ancients. The absurdity, however, did not escape the animadversions of the critics and satirists of those times. Eishop Hall terms such effusions
rhymeless numbers.” In his Sixth Satire he thus speaks of them :
Whoever saw a colt wanton and wild,
Strange as it may seem, there was not long since, an attempt to revive this foolery, but the very happy ridicule of the writers of the Poetry in the Periodical Work of the Antijacobin, extinguished it, it may be boped for ever. Few can forget
the humourous effusion of the “ Needy Knife Grinder."
The absurdity, however, was not confined to our countrymen. The French also had a similar ambition. By the kindness of the Bishop of Rochester, I am enabled to describe the following very singular and uncommon French book.
" LA MANIERE DE FAIRE DES VERS EN FRANÇOIS COMME EN GREC ET EN LATIN,
Par feu JACQUES DE LA TAILLE, du pays de Beauce. Paris
Frederic Morel 1573.” 12mo. This is a regular prosodical Treatise, and proceeds, after having laid down and adjusted the quantities of syllables, to treat of the different metres, and to exemplify them in French verses. These examples are very curious and amusing, though they prove, that the attempt to introduce the classical metses into a modern language, was as unsuccessful in France as it was with us.
It requires no common sagacity to find out that the following line is an Hexameter.
Dessūs toūs animāux Diệu formā l'hommě malheureux.
When the discovery is made it is not easy to hring the ear to acknowledge that it is so.
The same may be observed of the Pentameter.
īl nous faut abolir toutě súpērstitiôn,
The following is an example of the long Asclepiad.
Charle en Francě fērā naitrě le siècle d'or.
This of the short Asclepiad.
Õ seigneūr que jě sēns dě mål.
As a specimen of the long lambic I subjoin
Celui perire qui se confie en son bien.
Of the Sapphic
O le seul, auteur de se monde parfait,
It is not unworthy of observation, that the Sapphic metre is that which seems best to accommodate itself to the form of both languages.
The author of this curious little volume died of the Plague in the year 1562, before he had compleated his twenty-first year. Young as he was, he had written five Tragedies besides other Poems, which were collected and published, together with the works of his Brother, who was named JOHN DE LA TAILLE, who also was a Poet in 1573 or 1574..
It is important to state the time of his death, because it offers a question to those who are well versed in Old English Literature, whether the idea of adopting the ancient metres, which towards the end of the sixteenth century prevailed so much with our English Poets, might not be borrowed from this French writer.