ページの画像
PDF
ePub

"

11. “What praise for such rich strains shall we allow ?

What just rewards the grateful crown bestow ?”Dryden. 12. “ A Cerberus himself pronounce

A leash of languages at once.”Butler. 13. “Whose regular motions better to our view,

Than Archimedes' sphere, the heavens did shew."-Dryden. 14. “ Learn'd, virtuous, pious, great; and have by this

An universal metempsychosis.”—Dryden. 15. “ Till into seven it multiplies its stream,

And fattens Egypt with a fruitful slime."--Addison. 16. “That lieth in a hoard,

Till it be spread abroad.”—Old Ballad. 17. “ Half a league onward,

Rode the six hundred ;

Volleyed and thundered.”—Tennyson. 18. “ An hour they sate in council,

At length the Mayor broke silence:
• For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell ;

I wish I were a mile hence !'”- Browning. 19. “ Bird of the wilderness,

Blithesome and cumberless ;

Emblem of happiness,

Blest is thy dwelling-place.”Hogg. 20.“ And this shall be the forfeyture

Of your own flesh a pound.
If you agree, make you the bond,

And here is a hundred crownes."-Old Ballad. 153. Two consecutive lines rhyming, form a Couplet; as

“ The face of nature we no more survey,

All glares alike, without distinction gay.”—Pope.
Three consecutive lines rhyming, form a Triplet; as-

“But true expression, like th' unchanging sun,
Clears and improves whate'er it shines upon;

It gilds all objects, but it alters none."- Pope. A combination of four or more lines, with various rhymes, is called a Stanza (see $$ 160–1, &c.).

154. Unrhymed lines are called BLANK verse. 155. THE PAUSE is that point in a verse where the sense and rhythm both admit of a momentary interruption of the latter. The pause cannot be made in the middle of a word; but, with this exception, it may fall at any part of the verse. Besides the pause in the course of the line, there is generally one also at the end of the line, as there the sense is usually interrupted. Not always, however ; e. g.:

" Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood.” -Milton.
“ What cannot you and I perform | upon
The unguarded Duncan? | What not put upon

1 His spungy officers.”-Shakespeare. 156. Measures, understanding by that term the character given to verse by the combination of similar feet in it, are of two kinds according as the accent follows or comes before the interval, or holds the first place or the second place in the foot ; áx and ; áss and ssá.

157. The oldest as well as most common measure in English verse is that in which the accent succeeds the interval, . This we shall call REGULAR MEASURE, calling that in which the accent precedes the interval (áx), IRREGULAR MEASURE.

*** It appropriately bears this name on other grounds. The tendency of a weak syllable to drop off at the end of a line is obvious from the frequently defective character of this irregular measure. Weak syllables have also a tendency, though less decided, to drop off at the beginning. It therefore seems warrantable to deduce the irregular from the regular measure as follows :-An excessive regular verse (1) x a | x a | xa | x a | x | , loses the first syllable and becomes (2) a x | a x | ax a xl, a complete irregular verse. The last syllable being weak, however, easily drops, and the verse becomes (3) a xa x | a x | a -1 a defective irregular verse, and one of the most usual form. We may make a concrete example of this from the follow

ing three lines :(1.) That life is but an empty dreaming. Excessive Regular. (2.) Life is but an empty dreaming. Complete Irregular. (3.) “Life is but an empty dream.”— Defective Irregular.

[ocr errors]

I

Chapter II.-Regular Measure.

158. Of this measure, which, as has been stated, is at once the oldest and commonest in English poetry, there are two varieties ($ 145) :

1. Simple Regular measure ; x a, X a, &c.
2. Complex Regular measure, s s a, 8 s a, &o.

1. Simple (wa). 159. Simple Regular Pentameter is the Heroic Measure of English poetry. In its rhymed form it is the measure of Chaucer and Spenser, of Dryden and Pope, of Cowper, Campbell, and Byron ; e.g. :

“ True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence;
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.
Soft is the strain when Zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth strain in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,

The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar."— Pope. In its unrhymed form it is the stately and solemn blank verse of Shakespeare and Milton, as of Wordsworth and Tennyson; e. g.;

“ Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied ; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;

She all night long her amorous descant sung."-Milton. 160. Four lines of simple regular pentameters rhyming alternately, form the Elegiac Stanza of English poetry; e.g.:

“ Full many a gem of purest ray serene,

The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,

And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”—Gray. 161. Nine lines, the first eight of simple regular pentameters,

* So-called Iambic.

and the ninth a hexameter (or Alexandrine *), form the Spenserian Stanza, first used by Spenser, and more recently by Thomson and Byron. The nine lines contain only three rhymes disposed thus, b, c, b, c c, d, c, d, d; e.g.:

" It fortunéd, out of the thickest wood

A ramping lion rushéd suddenly,
Hunting full greedy after salvage blood;

Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,

With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
To have at once devour'd her tender cor'se;

But to the prey whenas he drew more nigh,
His bloody rage assuagéd with remorse,
And with the sight amazed, forgot his furious force.”—

Spenser. 162. Fourteen lines of simple regular pentameters (the last sometimes an Alexandrine) form the Italian Stanza or Sonnet, introduced into English poetry, in the 16th century, by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who also was the first to adopt blank verse in English. Great licence is allowed in the order of the rhymes; e.g.:

Surrey uses only two rhymes ; making the sonnet seven couplets.

Spenser uses five rhymes; the first nine lines being a Spenserian Stanza, and the last five corresponding with the last five of the same stanza.

Shakespeare uses seven rhymes, making his sonnet equal to three elegiac stanzas and a couplet; as,

bc bc de de fgfg | hh Wordsworth uses three rhymes, of which one runs throughout the whole sonnet thus :

• Weak is the will of man, his judgment blind,

Remembrance persecutes, and hope betrays;
Heavy is woe, and joy for humankind

A mournful thing, so transient is the blaze!
Thus might he paint our lot of mortal days,
Who wants the glorious faculty assigned
To elevate the more than reasoning mind,

And colour life's dark cloud with orient rays.

* So called from a twelfth century romance in that measure, called the “ Alexandreis."

a

Imagination is that sacred power,
Imagination lofty and refined;

'Tis hers to pluck the amaranthine flower
Of faith, and round the sufferer's temple bind

Wreaths that endure affliction's heaviest shower,
And do not shrink from sorrow's keenest wind."-

Wordsworth. 163. The Simple Regular Tetrameter, is the Romantic Measure of English poetry. In it wrote Wace, Barbour, Wyntoun, Harry the Minstrel, and many other of our old Chroniclers and Romancists, and it was revived in modern poetry by Sir Walter Scott. Though not equal in dignity to the Pentameter, it has been employed in almost every kind of poetical composition, except the very highest.

164. Rhyme is almost invariably employed in this measure, the line being too short to admit of the stateliness indispensable to the rhythm of blank verse. Its original form was that of rhymed couplets; e.g.

“Ah, Freedom is a noble thing!

Freedom makes men to have liking;
Freedom all solace to men gives ;
He lives at ease that freely lives.
A noble heart may have none ease,
Na elsé nought that may him please,
If freedom faileth ; for free liking

Is yearnéd oure all other thing."-Barbour. 165. To get rid of the monotony which a continuous flow of such couplets produces, Dunbar (see “Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins ") had recourse to a stanza consisting of four such couplets, each followed by a Trimeter in the same measure, the four Tetrameters having the same rhyme. Scott, in his poetical romances, adopts the same principle, but uses it with less regularity, frequently making the four and three feet lines alternate, e. g.:

“He was a man of middle age ;
In aspect manly, grave, and sage,

As on king's errand come;
But, in the glances of his eye,
A penetrating, keen, and sly

Expression found its home;

a

« 前へ次へ »