« 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.
Monometer . . Highly.
Octometer .. Once upon à | midnight | dreary, / while † | 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, I breathe an | evening | blessing,
Ere repose our spirits seal-
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 I gets himself another 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.
In this meter lines longer than tetrameter are rarely found.
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 ran somed creation,. . . Dimeter, hypercatalectic, with u-). Though feelble their lays, Dimeter, acatalectic, with (--). With true | adorastion. . . . . Dimeter, hypercatalectic, with (+-).
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.
Tetrameter, acatalectic, pure When through | the torn sail | the wild tem pest is
hypercatalecWhen o'er | the dark wave | the red light|ning is tic, with (--).
gleamling. 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 general 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 Æneid. 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.
Emblem of happiness.
Trimeter . . Wearing a way in his / youthfulness.
Dactylic dimeter seems especially appropriate to mourning. It is used in the Bridge of Sighs :
Take her up | tenderly,
Lift her with | care;
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.
Arms on Armor clashing brayed.
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,
The mighty master smiled to see
That love was in the next degree. 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; as,
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:
1. 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."