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In the continuation of the Arabian Tales, the Domdaniel is mentioned; a Seminary for evil Magicians, under the Roots of the Sea. From this seed the present Romance has grown. Let me not be supposed to prefer the rhythm in which it is written, abstractedly considered, to the regular blank verse; the noblest measure, in my judgement, of which our admirable language is capable. For the following Poem I have preferred it, because it suits the varied subject; it is the Arabesque ornament of an Arabian tale.
The dramatic sketches of Dr Sayers, a volume which no lover of poetry will recollect without pleasure, induced me, when a young versifier, to practise in this rhythm. I felt that while it gave the poet a wider range of expression, it satisfied the ear of the reader. It were easy to make a parade of learning, by enumerating the various feet which it admits; it is only needful to observe, that no two lines are employed in sequence which can be read into one. Two six-syllable lines, it will perhaps be answered, compose an Alexandrine: the truth is, that the Alexandrine, when harmonious, is composed of two six-syllable lines.
One advantage this metre assuredly posthe dullest reader cannot distort it into discord: he may read it prosaically, but its flow and fall will still be percepti
ble. Verse is not enough favoured by the English reader: perhaps this is owing to the obtrusiveness, the regular Jews-harp twing-twang, of what has been foolishly called heroic measure. I do not wish the improvisatorè tune;.. but something that denotes the sense of harmony, something like the accent of feeling,..like the tone which every Poet necessarily gives to Poetry.
Cintra, October 1800.