In his critical book “An Apology for Poetry” (1595) Philip Sidney discusses about English versification. There are two sorts of
versifying: the one ancient, and the other modern. The ancient marked the quantity of each syllable; the modern observe only the number. The chief feature of their versification is that like the sounding of words, we call rhyme. The ancient versification is fitter for music, but the modern with its rhyme also strikes a certain music to the ear. The English as well as the ancient versification has both sweetness and majesty and so gives delight. English is superior to other languages, for it does not need elision of vowels as does the Italian language; nor is it too full of consonants like the Dutch language. It is superior to the French and Spanish languages also, for it does not have many of its defects.
In rhyme, the English do not observe quantity, but they observe the accent very precisely, which the other languages do not do. They are always careful to introduce Caesura or a breathing place in the midst of their verse. Lastly, as regards the very rhyme itself, the Italian cannot put in the last syllable, by the French named the “masculine rhyme.” They place it in the next to the last, which the French call the “female” or they place it in the next before the last two, which the Italians call Sdrucciola. The example for the former is buono: suono, of the Sdrucciola, femina; Semina. The French have both the male, as bon; son, and the female, as Plaise; taise. It is the English alone who have all three, due, true; father, rather: motion, potion. Thus in matters of rhyme English is superior to other languages.