There are others to be found, though all in his earlier works. Cf. p. 4, l. 10:
'No comet need foretell his change drew on,
Whose corpse might seem a constellation.'
This pronunciation of the termination-tion as a dissyllable is the custom of the 16th century, and in the cases quoted it has been retained in the 17th and 18th. In the writings of Milton it is not uncommon; thus—
'Guiding the fiery wheeled Throne
The Cherub Contemplation.'— II Penseroso, l. 52.
See also on this point G. P. Marsh, 'Lectures on the English Language,' First Series, p. 530, where a full account of the pronunciation is given and reference made to authorities which prove that the reckoning -tion as two syllables is not a mere poetic licence but the recognised custom of the time. Thus Puttenham, 'Arte of English Poesie' (p. 128 of Arber's reprint), says:
'And therefore in all such long polisillables ye doe only giue two sharpe accents, and thereby reduce him into two feete, as in this word [rëmünërãtïön] which makes a couple of good Dactils, and in this word [cõntrïbütïön] which makes a good Spondeus and a good Dactil, and in this word [recãpitülãtïön] which makes two dactills and a sillable overplus to annexe to the word precedent to helpe peece vp another foote.'
So also Sir Philip Sidney, ' An Apologie for Poetrie' (P. 71 of Arber's reprint) : —
'Lastly euen the very ryme itselfe the Italian cannot put in the last sillable, by the French named the Masculine ryme, but still in the next to the last, which the French call the Female; or the next before that, which the Italians term Sdrucciola. The example of the former is Buono, Suono ; of the Sdrucciola Femina, Semina . The French, of the other side, hath both the Male, as Bon, Son , and the Female as Plaise, Taise . But the Sdrucciola bee hath not; where the English hath all three; as Due, True; Father, Rather; Motion, Potion .'
But the most unequivocal account of these words is contained in Ben Jonson's English Grammar. We there read (p. 55, ed. 1640) under the heading 'Of Accent ,
'that 'Nouns ending in -tion or -sion are accented on the antepenultimâ : as condítion, infúsion, etc. '
The expression 'that old versification' used by Johnson would seem to imply that he looked upon this custom as a mere poetical licence. If so the testimony of the authorities just quoted must have escaped his attention.
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