On English Hexameters

P ORSON was askt what he thought of hexameters written in English:
" Show me," said he, " any five in continuance true to the meter,
Five where a dactyl has felt no long syllable puncht thro' his midrif,
Where not a trochee or pyrric has stood on one leg at the entrance
Like a grey fatherly crane keeping watch on the marsh at Cayster.
Zounds! how they hop, skip, and jump! Old Homer, uplifting his eyebrows,
Cries to the somnolent Gods . . " O ye blessed who dwell on Olympos!
What have I done in old-age? have I ever complain'd of my blindness?
Ye in your wisdom may deem that a poet sings only the better
(Some little birds do) for that ; but why are my ears to be batter'd
Flat to my head as a mole's or a fish's, if fishes have any?
Why do barbarians rush with a fury so headstrong against me?
Have they no poet at home they can safely and readily waylay?"
Then said a youth in his gown, " I do humbly beg pardon, Professor,
But are you certain that you, to whom all the wide Hellas is open,
Could make Homer, who spoke many dialects with many nations,
Speak, as we now have attempted to teach him, our pure Anglo-saxon?"
Then the Professor, " I wager a dozen of hock or of claret,
Standing on only one foot I can throw off more verses and better
Than the unlucky, that limp and halt and have " no foot to stand on ."
" 'Pon my word, as I live!" said a younger, " I really think he has done it,
Every soul of us here, by a score of hexameters, quizzing."
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