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the last syllable in one line, to the sound of the last syllable in another; as,
There sea-born gales their gelid wings expand
To winnow fragrance round the smiling land. BLANK VERSE consists in poetical thoughts expressed in regular numbers, but without the correspondence of sound at the end of the lines which constitutes rhyme; as,
The waters slept: night's silvery veil hung low
Unbroken beating of the sleeper's pulse. POETICAL FEET consist in a particular arrangeinent and connexion of a number of accented and unaccented syllables. They are called feet, because it is by their aid that the voice, as it were, steps along through the verse in a measured
. All poetick feet consist either of two, or of three, syllables; and are reducible to eight kinds; four of two syllables each, and four of three, as follows:
A Trochee has the first syllable accented, and the last unaccented; as, Hāteful, pélting :
Rēstless mortals toil för naught;
Nēvěr wānděrs. An Iambus has the first syllable unaccented, and the last accunted; as, Bētrāy, consíst :
Thě seas shåll waste, the skies in smoke děcây,
Thý realm för ēvěr lästs, thỹ own Měssiah rēigns. A Dactyle has the first syllable accented, and the last two unaccented; as, Lābourěr, possible:
From thě low pleasures of this fällën nătăre. An Anapæst has the first two syllables unaccented, and the last accented; as, Contrăvēne, acquiesce:
At thẻ clöse öf thể dãy whăn thẻ hãmlết is still,
And mortăls thě swēēts of forgetfulnėss prove,
Whẽn nẵught bút thẻ törrẽnt is hoard ăn thể hill,
And näught bắt thě nightingăle's song in the grove. The Spondee ; as, āmēn: a Pyrrhick ; as, on thě—tall tree: an Amphibrach; as, Dělightfül: a Tribrach; as, Nu-měrăblė.
In English versification, some of these feet are much more common than others; but not unfrequently we meet with several kinds introduced into the same piece of composition. This development of poetick numbers, also evinces the copious stock of materials at the command of the English versifier: for we are not only allowed the use of all the ancient, poetick feet, in our heroick measure, but we have duplicates of each kind, agreeing in movement, though differing in sound, and which make dif. ferent impressions on the ear-an opulence peculiar to our language, and one that may be the source of a boundless variety.
By looking again at the foregoing definitions, the young reader will perceive, that the essential qualities or characteristicks of poetry, consist not, as is too often supposed, in harmonick numbers, or feet, or rhymes, but in a peculiar kind of sentiment and conception, called poetick thought. The peculiar nature of poetick thought, however, is not to be learned from definition or description, any more than countenance is, but by observation-by attention to the conceptions, thoughts, sentiments, and language of the best poets. Hence, unless the thought is poetick, all the ornaments of poetick dress—the paraphernalia of numbers, arrangement, and rhythm, cannot elevate it to the dignity of true poetry. We, therefore, much more frequently meet with verses than with
poetry. At pres ent, however, it is not the author's purpose to discuss the qualities and merits of poetry, but merely to make a few remarks
MANNER OF READING POETRY. The foregoing directions for acquiring a just and a happy elocution, have been chiefly applied to the enunciation of prose: and, although most of them are equally applicable to the reading of poetry, yet, in the reading of verse, and particularly rhyming verse, some peculiarities arise out of the nature of the composition itself, which seem to require a brief notice.
OF POETICAL PAUSES.
There are three kinds of pauses brought into requisition in the elegant enunciation of poetry: first, Sentential or Grammatical Pauses, or those
which merely mark the sense; secondly, Rhetorical Pauses, or those employed for the purpose of producing oratorical effect; and, thirdly, Harmonick Pauses, or such as are demanded by the melody and harmony of the numbers, and the
peculiarity of the rhythm.
Harmonick pauses are sometimes divided into the Final pause, and the Cæsural pause. These sometimes coincide with the sentential and the rhetorical pauses, and sometimes they are independent of them.
In rhyme, the FINAL PAUSE takes place at the end of the line, marks the measure, and shows the correspondence of sound between the rhyming syllables.
But where to find the happiest spot below,
An equal portion dealt to all mankind. Remarks.- In reading these examples, it will be noticed, that the final pause, at " below" and " roam," coincides with the sentential, but that, at the word “find,” it does not. The final
pause is so important in rhyme, even when it does not coincide with the sentential, as to merit another example :
Save, that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Molest her ancient, solitary reign. Remarks.—The final pause at “ complain,” takes (as it always does when not in alliance with the sentential pause) the rising inflection, and, in order to produce its proper effect, must be very slight. This pause also occurs at the words “ 'then," "bright," and "when," on page 130.
In regard to the application of the final pause in reading blank verse, nothing can betray a greater want of rhetorical taste and philosophical acumen, than the directions of Mr. Murray, and others, * who recommend its adoption at the close of
Among those who recommend the adoption of the final pause in blank derse, are Lowth, Johnson, Sheridan, Kaines, Blair, and others equally distinguished for learn. ing and talents.
every line, whether it coincides with the sentential pause or
The following is an example which they bring forward to illustrate their absurd notions on this point.
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
loss of Eden, till one greater man
Sing, heavenly muse! To say that the final pause applied to "fruit," "taste," and “man,” in this example, would serve "to mark the difference between prose and verse," or to say that, unless we “make every line sensible to the ear," we mar the melody, and suppress
the numbers of the poet, is all nonsense. Although poetry has much to do with numbers, and feet, and melody, yet, what have these trappings of poetry, or poetry itself, to do with any particular number of lines or feet? May not four feet be just as poetick as fide; or fifteen feet, as poetick as fifty? What has the ear to do, then, with any particular number of feet?
The truth is, the distinctive difference between the poetry of blank verse and prose, depends on no such slender principle as that here referred to; but it rests on a much stronger, and a far more elevated, basis. The poetry of blank verse, like that of rhyme, depends primarily on the majesty, and beauty, and poetick character of the thought; and secondarily on the imagery and the harmony of the numbers. The application of the final pause, then, at the end of a line in blank verse, (except when it coincides with the sentential pause,) is just as absurd as it would be at the end of a line in prose; but the application of this pause in rhyme, has its peculiar and happy effect, which has been already described. By turning to pages 126 and 127, and by applying this pause at the words "skill” and “offence," and by omitting it in pronouncing the words " fight, " waves," "slope,” “ treasures," and " the propriety and force of these remarks will be sufficiently apparent.
The CÆSURAL PAuse divides the line into equal or unequal parts.
In heroick verse, it commonly falls on the fourth, fifth, or sixth syllable.
The bursting heart" may pour itself in prayer.
I have been touched with joy" when on the sea.
Looked up to heaven. In this last example, the line is divided into three portions by two cæsuras: in the following, it is divided into four portions, by the introduction of one cæsural, and two Demi-Cæsural pauses,
which are indicated by the single acute accent (1):
Spreads' undivided" operates' unspent. The regularity and harmony of numbers, and the sameness of sound in pronouncing rhymes, strongly solicit the voice to a sameness of tone; and tone, unless directed by a judicious ear, . is apt to degenerate into a song; and a song in elocution, is, to one of refined taste, of all things the most disgusting. In order to avoid this unendurable sing-song or chant, in enunciating poetry, the best precaution that can be given, is, for the reader who is guilty of it, to forget, as it were, that he is pronouncing verses, and to adopt the easy and natural style which would be just in reading prose.
What is said of the pauses denoted by the common points or stops ?
Define and illustrate by examples, the cæsural pause-also the demiCesural.
In the following examples, those words in which the tonick and sub tonick elements ought to be prolonged, are distinguished by accented vowels; thus, å, e, i, o, and so forth.