Observations In The Art Of English Poesie Thomas Campion 1602 In

his Observations in the Art of English Poesie Thomas Campion sought to do something unique, as expressed in the subtitle to his work: "Wherein it is demonstra-tiuely prooued, and by example confirmed, that the English toong will receiue eight seuerall kinds of numbers, proper to it selfe, which are all in this booke set forth, and were neuer before this time by any man attempted." By numbers, Campion means he will focus on substituting certain classic rhythms or meter, mainly combinations of iambs and trochees, for rhyme.

Campion introduces his discussion by writing, "But when we speake of a Poeme written in number, we consider not only the distinct number of the sillables, but also their value, which is contained in the length or shortnes of their sound." Until Campion's observations poets had not much concerned themselves with defining or discussing rhyme. They understand some traditional conventions, which they followed. Campion's serious attack proves humorous to later readers, as when he states that he understands he may be challenged by those with the worst of weapons, poets themselves, who might rhyme him to death. He also understands that a broad use of rhyme in various cultures means custom stands against him. However, he writes, "All this and more can not yet deterre me from a lawful defence of perfection, or make me any whit the sooner adheare to that which is lame and vnbe-seeming. For custome I alleage, that ill vses are to be abolisht, and that things naturally imperfect can not be perfected by vse." He later continues, "The eare is a rational sence, and a chiefe iudge of proportion, but in our kind of riming what proportion is there kept, where there remaines such a confused inequalitie of sillables? Iambick and Trochaick feete which are opposed by nature, are by all Rimers confounded, nay oftentimes they place in stead of an Iambick the foote Pyrry-chius, consisting of two short sillables, curtalling their verse, which they supply in reading with a ridiculous, and vnapt drawing of their speech. As for example: Was it my desteny, or dismall chaunce?"

Campion follows this procedure throughout his document, discussing various stresses and supplying examples. Samuel Daniel replied to Campion's proposal in his 1603 A Defence of Rhyme, in which he argued that its use and practice justified its existence. Campion's entire work may be found online in the University of Oregon's Renascence Editions at http:// darkwinguoregon.edu/~rbear/ren.htm.

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