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Those beginning with a trochee, and ending with the eighth syllable, have almost equal elegance:
6 So bent' he seems-
* For man' will hearken-to his gloz'ing lies,'—
When the cadence falls on the last syllable of the line, its beauty is still greatly heightened by its commencing with a trochee :
“He spake';—and to confirm' his words out flew'
Millions of flaming swords,—drawn' from the thighs
“The fiend' looked up and knew'His mount'ed scale aloft ;-nor more,' but fled'Mur'muring,--and with him fled the shades' of night."
“ We lose the prime,—to mark' how springOur ten'der plants,-how blows the citron grove,'What drops' the myrrh,—and what' the balmy reed',How na'ture paints her colors, how' the bee'Sits' on the bloom,-extract'ing liquid sweet."
Bryant's blank verse abounds with fine cadences of these several classes :
“ These' dim vaults,
“ Noise'lessly around From perch' to perch--the sol'itary bird Pass'es."
" Nes'tled at his root'
- These lof'ty trees
“ Life mocks' the idle bate' Of his arch en'emy Death ;-yea, seats' himself Upon the ty'rant's throne,—the se'pulchre,
MUSICAL FEET, AND MODULATION OF VERSE.
And' of the tri'umphs of his ghas'tly foe
These cadences have thus far greater spirit and beauty than they would had they begun with an iambic instead of a trochee.
What is it that mainly distinguishes verse from prose? What is a musical foot ? What are the principal musical feet used in English verse ? What is the pyrrhic? What is the spondee? Describe the iambic and trochee. Define the dactyl and the anapest. What is the amphimacer? What is the amphibrach? How many syllables are there in the line in blank verse? Of what feet does blank verse mainly consist! What other feet are sometimes employed in it? Of what foot are eight syllable lines chiefly formed! May trochees and spondees be sometimes used in them? Of what foot are long, common, and short metre hymns formed ? How many syllables are there in the lines of long metre? How many in those of common, and how many in those of short metre? Of what feet are seven syllable hymns formed! What feet are used in the construction of eleven syllable lines? What foot is used at the beginning of ten syllable lines, to give variety and elegance to the modulation? What is the second element in the music of blank and other ten syllable verse ? How is the line divided by the cæsura? How are the lines to be read to give them the proper rhythm or modulation? Give an example from Milton. Give one from Pope. What other means are there by which the melody of blank verse is varied and heightened ! On what syllables in a line may à cadence terminate? With what foot do the finest cadences begin! On what syllable do the finest close ?
The ear is as capable of being raised by cultivation to a quicker perception and higher enjoyment of the harmony of verse, as it is of music, and as the fancy, taste, and other powers and sensibilities are of evolution and refinement by culture; and just in proportion as a high beau-ideal is approached, the delight which fine verse yields is increased, and the possibility of a still higher and more varied pleasure is augmented. If the characteristics that have been pointed out are not at first distinctly appreciated, they will soon be unfolded by careful study, and become the vehicle of a delicate and lofty delight, with which those who have never particularly considered them have no acquaintance. A few of the finest passages in which they appear, thoroughly analysed and revolved till all their peculiarities are
comprehended, and their beauty fully felt, will contribute more to unfold the sensibility to what is graceful, elegant, and grand, and give truth, elevation, and strength to the taste, than months and years of casual and unobservant reading; make the understanding and comprehension of other passages easy and instantaneous, and raise the perception and enjoyment of every charm to a quickness and energy of which otherwise we could have no conception.
An acquaintance with the principles of versification, and with the structure and laws of figures, is essential, in order to the proper reading, understanding, and enjoyment of the psalms and hymns that are used in domestic and public worship. A knowledge of the office and the proper method of pronouncing a trochee at the commencement of a line is necessary to the correct reading, and frequently to the full appreciation of the sentiment of a hymn. It is used not merely to vary and heighten. the melody of the verse, but often because the employment of an emphatic word or syllable at the beginning of the line is requisite to a vivid exhibition of the act which it narrates or describes, or expression of the thought which it utters. There is an eminent example of this in the following passage of Paradise Lost, b. vi. :