Pope to William Walsh, 22 October, Corresp., i. 22-5. This letter is fabricated from one to Henry Cromwell, dated 25 November 1710. Sherburn remarks, 'Evidently he felt inclined to emphasise the influence of Walsh, and had relatively few Walsh letters to print.'
After the Thoughts I have already sent you on the subject of English Versification, you desire my opinion as to some farther particulars. There are indeed certain Niceties, which tho' not much observed even by correct Versifiers, I cannot but think deserve to be better regarded.
1. It is not enough that nothing offends the Ear, but a good Poet will adapt the very Sounds, as well as Words, to the things he treats of. So that there is (if one may express it so) a Style of Sound. As in describing a gliding Stream, the Numbers shou'd run easy and flowing; in describing a rough Torrent or Deluge, sonorous and swelling, and so of the rest. This is evident every where in Homer and Virgil, and no where else that I know of to any observable degree. The following Examples will make this plain, which I have taken from Vida.
Molle viam tacito lapsu per levia radit.
Incedit tardo molimine subsidendo.
Luctantes ventos, tempestatesque sonoras.
Immenso cum præcipitans ruit Oceano Nox.
Telum imbelle sine ictu, Conjecit.
Tolle moras, cape saxa manu, cape robora Pastor,
Ferte citi flammas data tela, repellite pestem. 1
1 [The sources of these lines, in order, are: Vida, Ars poetica, iii. 374, 376; Aeneid, i. 53; Vida, iii. 425; Aeneid, ii. 544-5 (combined); Vida, iii. 422, 423]