« ZurückWeiter »
dom used, except in combination with other measures. It forms the last line of the Spenserian stanza.
The iambic heptameter, on account of the length of the line, is now generally divided into alternate lines of four and of three feet; so divided, it is the common meter of our hymns, and the favorite meter of ballad poetry.
The iambic octometer is usually written as two tetrameters. Each couplet of this meter is now generally printed as a stanza of four tetrameter lines, rhyming alternately, and each commencing with a capital. In old books, however, the second and fourth lines are made to begin with a small letter. It forms the long meter of our hymns.
The scheme of any particular kind of verse requires a definite number of syllables; when the verse contains just the number required, it is Acatalectic; when the syllables are too few, the verse is Catalectic-deficient; when there is an additional syllable, the verse is Hypercatalectic-redundant.
Trochaic Verse.-In trochaic verse the accent is laid on the odd syllables. The trochaic measure has a light, tripping movement, and is peculiarly fitted for lively subjects.
Dimeter. Children, choose it.
Trimeter Singing | through the forests.
Tetrameter. . Lauded | be thy | name for ever.
Pentameter. . Spake full | well in | language | quaint and | olden. Hexameter. . Holy! | holy! | holy! | all the | saints adore thee. Heptameter.. Hasten, | Lord, to rescue | me, and | set me | safe from trouble.
Octometer Once upon a midnight | dreary, | while I | pon
dered | weak and | weary.
The mos commcn form of the trochaic meter is the tetrameter, in alternate lines of eight syllables and seven. The line of seven syllables is denominated catalectic; thus,
Savior, | breathe an | evening | blessing,
Sin and want we | come confessing,
Thou canst save and | thou canst | heal.
This forms a favorite hymn measure, the usual 8's and 7's of our hymns.
The trochaic pentameter is not common, nor is it very melodious. It is usually catalectic.
The trochaic hexameter is rare. Sometimes each couplet is divided into alternate lines of six syllables and five. This forms the trochaic II's of our hymns.
The trochaic octometer is not common; when found it is usually catalectic; as,
In the spring a fuller | crimson comes up on the | robin's | breast, In the spring the | wanton | lapwing | gets him|self an|other | crest.
Anapestic Verse.-Anapests have been in current use for a long time. This is a very pleasing measure, and much used, both in solemn and cheerful subjects.
Monometer.. But in vain.
Dimeter In my rage | shall be seen.
I am monarch of all | I survey.
Tetrameter. . Tho' his life | be a dream | his enjoy|ments I see.
In this meter lines longer than tetrameter are rarely
Anapestic verse is not always pure; it is quite as often found with the interchangeable iambus (~-) occupying the place of the first foot. Thus:
The ransomed creation, . . . Dimeter, hypercatalectic, with ~-). Though feeble their lays, Dimeter, acatalectic, with (~~). Dimeter, hypercatalectic, with (~~).
With true adoration.
Shall lisp to Thy praise. . . Dimeter, acatalectic, with (~-).
The few lurid mornings that dawn | on us here
Tetrameter, acatalectic, with (--)
Are enough for life's woes, | full enough for its cheer.
When through the torn sail | the wild tempest is
When o'er | the dark wave | the red light|ning is tic, with (~~). gleaming.
Dactylic Verse.- Dactylic verse was but sparingly used in English until the present century; and, although we have had some brilliant examples, it is not yet in gen eral use. It is not often pure, that is, composed wholly of dactyls: a spondee, or a trochee, or one long syllable generally forms the last foot.
The dactylic hexameter was the heroic verse of the Greeks and Latins: it is used in Homer's Iliad and in Virgil's Eneid. In it a spondee or a dactyl might form any foot except the fifth, which was usually a dactyl, and the sixth, which was always a spondee. Longfellow's Evangeline is written in imitation of the classical hexameter.
Monometer .. Fearfully.
Dimeter. Emblem of happiness.
Trimeter.. Wearing away in his | youthfulness.
Tetrameter. Weary way | wanderer, | languid and | sick at heart. Hexameter. Over his | countenance | flitted a | shadow like | those on the landscape.
Dactylic pentameters and heptameters are very rare. Dactylic dimeter seems especially appropriate to mourning. It is used in the Bridge of Sighs:
Take her up tenderly,
Young, and so | fair!-Hood.
Rhyme is a correspondence of sound at the end of verses, or sometimes at intervals in the verse. It was not employed in ancient poetry, but it is used in almost all modern verse. It is (1) Alliterative, (2) Assonantal, and (3) Consonantal.
Alliterative rhyme is the correspondence in sound of the first letters of certain words. These words more frequently succeed each other, but they may stand at no great distance apart. Thus:
He rushed into the field, and foremost fighting, fell.
Alliteration formed the distinctive mark of the oldest English poetry; it was the only kind of rhyme used in Anglo-Saxon verse. Although no longer a regular constituent of English poetry, it is sometimes used for effect
by modern authors; within moderate limits it promotes melody, but its frequent introduction savors of affectation. Assonantal rhyme is the correspondence of the vowels at the end of two lines; as,
Consonantal rhyme is the correspondence of the vowel and the final consonant or consonants in the rhyming syllables. This is the most common rhyme in English poetry;
The mighty master smiled to see
Nobody knew how the fisherman brown,
With a look of despair that was half a frown.
To form a perfect consonantal rhyme, three things are essential:
I. That the vowel and the parts following it be the same. 2. That the parts preceding the vowel be different.
3. That the rhyming syllables be accented alike.
Thus wing and ring, breeze and trees, night and white are perfect rhymes; but room and home, war and car, breathe and tease, are not perfect. The number of words in the English language which form perfect rhymes is so limited that many slight deviations are sanctioned, and are termed allowable rhymes. "Still," says Angus, "it may be safely affirmed that rhyme will never be universal in our poetry. Many of our most beautiful poetic words have no rhymes; nor does the ever accumulating wealth of our language tend to supply this deficiency. Modern additions to our speech are chiefly inflected forms, and are, therefore, unsuited for poetry. From all these causes there will always be in English room for forms of blank verse, and for the exercise of ingenuity in new meters.