**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


No. 060 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

Vid. MENAGIANA. Thus far the learned Menage, whom I have translated Word for Word. [9]

The first Occasion of these Bouts Rimez made them in some manner excusable, as they were Tasks which the French Ladies used to impose on their Lovers. But when a grave Author, like him above-mentioned, tasked himself, could there be anything more ridiculous? Or would not one be apt to believe that the Author played [booty [10]], and did not make his List of Rhymes till he had finished his Poem?

I shall only add, that this Piece of false Wit has been finely ridiculed by Monsieur Sarasin, in a Poem intituled, La Defaite des Bouts-Rimez, The Rout of the Bouts-Rimez. [11]

I must subjoin to this last kind of Wit the double Rhymes, which are used in Doggerel Poetry, and generally applauded by ignorant Readers. If the Thought of the Couplet in such Compositions is good, the Rhyme adds [little [12]] to it; and if bad, it will not be in the Power of the Rhyme to recommend it. I am afraid that great Numbers of those who admire the incomparable Hudibras, do it more on account of these Doggerel Rhymes than of the Parts that really deserve admiration. I am sure I have heard the

Pulpit, Drum Ecclesiastick,
Was beat with fist instead of a Stick,


There was an ancient sage Philosopher
Who had read Alexander Ross over,

more frequently quoted, than the finest Pieces of Wit in the whole Poem.


[Footnote 1: chymes]

[Footnote 2: This is an error. [Greek: Anagramma] meant in old Greek what it now means. Lycophron, who lived B.C. 280, and wrote a Greek poem on Cassandra, was famous for his Anagrams, of which two survive. The Cabalists had a branch of their study called Themuru, changing, which made mystical anagrams of sacred names.]

[Footnote 3: was called]

[Footnote 4: The invention of Acrostics is attributed to Porphyrius Optatianus, a writer of the 4th century. But the arguments of the Comedies of Plautus are in form of acrostics, and acrostics occur in the original Hebrew of the ‘Book of Psalms’.]

[Footnote 5: was]

[Footnote 6: known by the name of]

[Footnote 7: The Chronogram was popular also, especially among the Germans, for inscriptions upon marble or in books. More than once, also, in Germany and Belgium a poem was written in a hundred hexameters, each yielding a chronogram of the date it was to celebrate.]

[Footnote 8: Bouts rimes are said to have been suggested to the wits of Paris by the complaint of a verse turner named Dulot, who grieved one day over the loss of three hundred sonnets; and when surprise was expressed at the large number, said they were the ‘rhymed ends,’ that only wanted filling up.]

[Footnote 9: Menagiana, vol. I. p. 174, ed. Amst. 1713. The Menagiana were published in 4 volumes, in 1695 and 1696. Gilles Menage died at Paris in 1692, aged 79. He was a scholar and man of the world, who had a retentive memory, and, says Bayle,

‘could say a thousand good things in a thousand pleasing ways.’

The repertory here quoted from is the best of the numerous collections of ‘ana.’]

[Footnote 10: double]

[Footnote 11: Jean Francois Sarasin, whose works were first collected by Menage, and published in 1656, two years after his death. His defeat of the Bouts-Rimes, has for first title ‘Dulot Vaincu’ is in four cantos, and was written in four or five days.]

[Footnote 12: nothing]