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1 An | elevated / genius | em- | ployed in | little | things, 19 ap- | pears, 17 to I use the | simile of Lon-ginus, 1 like the sun in his | evening | decli- | nation : 10he re- | mits his! splendor, but re- tains his magnitude ; Gand | pleases more, though he dazzles less."9199
The difference of effect in “ rhythmical accent,” it will be perceived, on closely examining the style of the preceding passages, is greatly dependent on the number of syllables included within each“ bar,” and, not less, on the pauses, which are also included in the " rhythm," and therefore enclosed within the bars; since the “ time" of the voice necessarily includes its rests and intermissions as well as its sounds. Rhythm” depends farther on the position of the accented syllable which takes on the emphasis of a phrase, as well as on the different species of accent, as “radical,” concrete," or " temporal.” Compare, particularly, the ntents of the " bars” in the last few lines of the last two examples. They will be found to imbody the expressive genius of each author, and “clothe his thought in fitting sound.” The meek and quiet spirit of Addison, breathes in the plain, conversational, and comparatively uniform style of " rhythm,” in the close of the paragraph quoted from him ; and the noble soul, but mechanical ear, of Johnson, are equally expressed in the sweeping “rhythm” of “quantity” and pause, and measured antiphony, in the cadence of the last sentence extracted from the Rambler. The limits of an elementary work like the present, will not admit the details of analysis by which the peculiar character of each of the authors quoted might be verified by his peculiar “ rhythm." But in the statements already made on quantity, pause,” " movement,
accent, ” and “ rhythm,” the implements of analysis have been furnished ; and the exercise of applying them may be left to the teacher and the student.
The term metre," or measure,” is applied, in prosody and in elocution, to that exact gange of “rhythm,” which is furnished in the process of prosodial analysis termed "scanning," by which a
verse, or line of poetry, is resolved into its constituent “ quantities ” and “ accents.'
“Metre," as a branch of prosody, comprehends, in our language, both “ quantity" and ** accent.' » The ancient languages, and those of modern Europe, generally, are less favorable than ours, to this union. The Greek and the Latin seem to have leaned chiefly on “quantity" ; and we discern a similar tendency, though in an inferior degree, in the European continental languages, - particularly those of the South. . A language abounding in long “quantities ” of various sound, needs less aid from
" accent,” whether for distinctive enunciation or expression of feeling, than one redundant, like the English, in the number and force of its consonants. The racy energy of English enunciation is owing to the comparative force, spirit
, and brilliancy of its accent, which strikes so instantaneously on the ear, with a bold "radical movement” and absorbing power, that compel the attention to the determining syllable of every word. It bespeaks at once the practical and energetic character of the people with whom it originated. — Other modern languages seem to distribute the accent among all the syllables of a word, and to leave the ear doubtful to which it is meant to apply, - unless in the case of long vowels, in which they greatly excel, as regards the uses of music and of " expressive speech, or impassioned modes of voice.
In emphatic utterance, however, the firm grasp which our numerous hard consonants allow to the organs, in the act of articulation, gives a peculiar percussive force of explosion to the vowels that follow them in accented syllables; and the comparatively short duration of our unaccented sounds, causes those which are accented, when they possess long “quantity,” to display it with powerful effect in the utterance of “ expressive" emotion. Our poets sometimes, turn this capability of the language to great account; and none abounds more in examples than Milton, whose ear seems to have detected and explored every element of expressive effect which his native tongue could furnish.
Syllables have been classed, in prosody, as long or short, accented or unaccented ; and the prosodial characters, (long,) and (short,) have been used to designate them to the eye. The same marks have been arbitrarily used to denote accented and unaccented syllables
The “rhythm” of verse, as measured by“ long” and “ short" or by “heavy," (accented,) and " light,” (unaccented,) syllables, has the following metrical designations.
I. " Lambic Metre."
This form of verse takes its name from the circumstance of its being constituted by the foot, or sequence of syllables, called an “iambus.” The words “ foot” and “ feet are arbitrarily used in prosody, to express a group of syllables constituting a distinct and separable portion of verse. The " iambus" is a foot consisting of two syllables : the first, short, or unaccented, or both; the second, long, or accented, or both; as in the word rě. pēal. “ Tambic” metre is exemplified in “ epic
66 heroic” poetry, whether in the form of “ blank verse, so called from its not furnishing rhymes, and its consequent blank effect on the ear, as in Milton's Paradise Lost, or of rhyming "couplets,' called from the lines rhyming in couples, as in Pope's transla
tion of Homer. Each line, in “blank verse and the “heroic couplet,” contains five “iambuses,” or ten syllables, alternating from short to long, or from unaccented to accented; as in the following examples.
" Blank” Verse.
“ Ādvanced l in view, I thěy stānd, I å hör | rỉd front | Of drē id | lūl length, I and dā? | zling arms, 1 în guise Of wār I riðrs old, with or | děred spēır | ănd shield.
“ Heroic Couplet.”
“Like leaves on trēes | thě līfe 1 of mān is found ; 1 (* 1.) Now giēen | in youth, (* 2.) now wīth | (* 3.) éring
ăn | thẻ gröund; } Anoth | ©r 14:e | the lol (* 4.) lõwing spring | supplies: They tāll | súccēs (* 5.) săve, ånd | súccēs | sive iise."
verse is exemplified, also, in octosyllabic lines, in rhyming “ couplets,” and in quatrain, or four-line " stanzas.” The following are examples.
“The way I was lõng, 1 the wind I wis cold; Thě min | sirèl wăs infirm 1 ånd old :"
Quatrain Stanza: Octosyllabic Couplets.
Quatrain Stanza: Octosyllabic Lines, rhyming alternately. • The heavens | declare | thỹ glô | rỹ, Lord,
în ēv | ěrý siār | ihý wis dõm shines; ! But whon | où eyes | bẽold | thỸ word,
Wě rēnd | thị nāne | in fáir | ěr līnes.” |
* Irregular feet used as substitutes for the “iambus,” according to the “license" of versification. These feet are called, (1. & 2.) the "spondee,” two long syllables; (3.) the "tribrach,” three short syllables; (4.) the " anapest,” two short syllables, and one long; (5.) the
pyrrhic,” two shori syllables.
" Common Metre” Stanza : Alternate Lines of Eight and Six
To Thēe mỹ thoughts would sõar: 1
Thăt mēr | cý i | ădore.”
" Short Metre" Stanza: Two Lines of Six, one of Eight, and
one of Six Syllables. • Tõ ēv | ěr fra | grănt mēads, |
Whắre rich | ăbūn | dănce grows, |
And guards | mỹ sweet | rẻpose.”
6 Iambic” verse occurs, likewise, in the form of the “elegiac stanza, so called from the circumstance of its having been employed for the purposes of elegy.
Elegiac Stanza: Lines of Ten Syllables, rhyming alternately. • Full mãn |ý 8 gõm, 1 bf pür | Öst hãy | serene, |
The dark | ănfath | ốmed caves | öf 61 ceăn bẽar. | Full mān i ý å flower | is börn | to blūsh | ủnsēen, 1
And waste | its swễet | ness ăn | the des | ert air.... |
Another form of the “ iambic” verse, of frequent occurrence in reading, is that of the “ Spenserian” stanza, so called from the poet Spenser, who was the first to use it, in a continuous poem of considerable length.
“ Spenserian " Stanza : Eight Lines of Ten Syllables and one of
Twelve : the Rhymes occurring as follows : on the 1st and 3d,
on the 2d, 4th, 5th, and 7th, and on the 6th, 8th, and 9th. " Whěrē'er | wě trēad, / 't is hāunt | ed ho | ly ground : 1
Nō ēarth 1 of thīne | is lost | in vūl | găr mould! |
And all the Mūs l'ěs tāles I seem trū | lý told, !
Each hills and dāle, each deepening glēn and wõld, Defies | thể põwer | which cr@shed | thỹ tõm | ples göne:| Age shakes | Athể nắ's töwer, 1 bút stares 1 giây Mar athon.”
There are many other forms of " iambic verse ; but they occur less frequently; and most of them can be easily analyzed after scanning the preceding specimens. *
* For farther examples, and a more extended statement, regarding the " reading of poetry,” see “ American Elocutionist.”
II. — “ Trochaic” Metre.
This species of verse derives its name from its predominating foot, the “ trochee,” which consists, as mentioned before, of a long syllable followed by a short, as in the word fūlål.
" Trochaic verse is exemplified in the following lines from Dryden's Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day.
“Söftlý | swēet, în | Lýdiăn | measŭres,
Soon hě | soothed his | soul ið | pleasúres. - |
Honor, 1 bút ăn | emptỷ | bubble. This species of verse is seldom used in long or continuous poems, but principally in occasional passages for variety of effect. It is found usually in octosyllabic lines of rhyming “couplets,' as above.
III. – Anapastic Metre. This form of verse takes its name from its prevalent foot, the “anapæst,"' consisting of two short syllables followed by one long, as in ihe word intěrvēne.
“ Anapæstic” verse is found usually in the two following forms :
Stanza of Four or Eight Lines of Three “anapæsts,” or equivalent
Compared | with the spēed | of its fight, I
And thě swift | wingěd ār- | rows of light.”
Slanza of Four Lines of Four" anapests,” or equivalent feet. “The ©ven- * | ing was glô- 1 ribus ; and light | thrõugh the
trēes 1 Played the sẵn | shine ănd rain | dröps, the birds | 5nd the
breeze: 1 Thě lānd- | scăpe, oŭtstrētch- | ing in love- | liness, lāy | Ön the lap | of the yếur, | in the beau- | tỷ ởf Mây.”Ỉ
IV. Rhythmical and Prosodial Accent combined. The preceding examples of verse have all, it will here be per* An "iambus " sometimes occurs as the first foot in an "anapæstic" line,