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[285] as respects thoughts and images. In Milton it extends to the language also, and often to the single words of which a period is composed. He loved phrases of towering port, in which every member dilated stands like Teneriffe or Atlas. In those poems and passages that stamp him great, the verses do not dance interweaving to soft Lydian airs, but march rather with resounding tread and clang of martial music. It is true that he is cunning in alliterations, so scattering them that they tell in his orchestra without being obvious, but it is in the more scientific region of open-voweled assonances which seem to proffer rhyme and yet withhold it (rhyme-wraiths one might call them), that he is an artist and a master. He even sometimes introduces rhyme with misleading intervals between and unobviously in his blank-verse:—

There rest, if any rest can harbour there;
And, reassembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope,
If not, what resolution from despair.

1 There is one almost perfect quatrain,—

Before thy fellows, ambitious to win
From me some plume, that thy success may show
Destruction to the rest. This pause between
(Unanswered lest thou boast) to let thee know;

and another hardly less so, of a rhyme and an assonance,—

If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft

1 I think Coleridge's nice ear would have blamed the nearness of enemy and calamity in this passage. Mr. Masson leaves out the comma after If not, the pause of which is needful, I think, to the sense, and certainly to keep not a little farther apart from what, (‘teach each’!)

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