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28. Rhyme has been defined by Milton as the “ jingling sound of like endings.” It may also be defined as spondence in sound at the ends of lines in poetry.
(i) Rhyme is properly spelled rime. The word originally meant number; and the Old English word for arithmetic was rime-craft. It received its present set of letters from a confusion with the Greek word rhythm, which means a flowing.
(ii) Professor Skeat says “it is one of the worst-spelt words in the language.” “It is,” he says, “impossible to find an instance of the spelling rhyme before 1550.” Shakespeare generally wrote rime.
29. No rhyme can be good unless it satisfies four conditions. These are :1. The rhyming syllable must be accented. Thus ring
rhymes with sing'; but not with think'ing. 2. The vowel sound must be the same—to the ear, that is;
though not necessarily to the eye. Thús lose and close
are not good rhymes. 3. The final consonant must be the same. (Mix and tricks
are good rhymes; because x = ks.) 4. The preceding consonant must be different.
Beat and feet; jump and pump are good rhymes.
30. The English language is very poor in rhymes, when compared with Italian or German. Accordingly, half-rhymes are admissible, and are frequently employed.
The following rhymes may be used :-
31. The rhythm or musical flow of verse depends on the varied succession of phrases of different lengths. But, most of all, it is upon the Cæsura, and the position of the Cæsura, that musical flow depends.
The word cosura is a Latin word, and means a cutting.
32. The Cæsura in a line is the rest or halt or break or pause for the voice in reading aloud. It is found in short as well as in long lines.
(i) The following is an example from the short lines of 'Marmion' (vi. 332) :
1} More pleased that || in a barbarous age
2 The bishopric || of fair Dunkeld. It will be seen from this that Sir Walter Scott takes care to vary the position of the cæsura in each line-sometimes having it after 14 feet, sometimes after 2 ; and so on.
(ii) The following is an example from the long lines of the “ Lycidas ” of Milton :
2 Now, Lycidas, || the shepherds weep no more ;
In thy large recompense, || and shalt be good
21 To all that wander | in that perilous flood. Milton, too, is careful to vary the position of his cæsura ; and most of the music and much of the beauty of his blank verse depend upon the fact that the cæsura appears now at the beginning, now at the middle, now at the end of his lines ; and never in the same place in two consecutive verses.
(iii) Of all the great writers of English verse, Pope is the one who places the cæsura worst — worst, because it almost always in the same place. Let us take an example from his “Rape of the Lock” (canto i.) :
2 The busy sylphs || surround their darling care,
2 And Betty's praised || for labours not her own. And so he goes on for thousands upon thousands of verses. The symbol of Pope's cæsura is a straight line ; the symbol of Milton's is "the line of beauty”—a line of perpetually varying and harmonious curves.
33. A Stanza is a group of rhymed lines.
The word comes from an old Italian word, stantia, an abode.
34. Two rhymed lines are called a couplet; and this may be looked upon as the shortest kind of stanza.
(i) The most usual couplet in English consists of two rhymed iambic pentameter lines. This is called the “heroic couplet." 35. A stanza of three rhymed lines is called a triplet.
(i) A very good example is to be found in Tennyson's poem of “The Two Voices,” which consists entirely of triplets :
“ Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
No life that breathes with human breath
Has ever truly longed for death. 36. A stanza of four rhymed lines-of which the first (sometimes) rhymes with the third, and the second (always) with the fourth—is called a quatrain.
(i) The ordinary ballad metre consists of quatrains—that is, four lines, two of iambic tetrameter, and two of iambic trimeter.
(ii) A quatrain of iambic pentameters is called Elegiac Verse. The best known example is Gray's “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.”
37. A stanza of six lines is called a sextant.
(i) There are many kinds. One is used in Hood's “ Dream of Eugene Aram,” which is written in 4xa and 3xa ; the second, fourth, and sixth lines rhyming.
(ii) Another in Whittier's “Barclay of Ury," which has the first and second lines, the third and sixth, the fourth and fifth, rhyming with each other.
(iii) Another in Lowell's “Yussouf,” which has the first and third lines, the second and fourth, and the fifth and sixth rhyming.
38. A stanza of eight lines is called an octave, or ottava rima.
(Pronounced ottahva reema.) 39. A stanza of nine lines is called the Spenserian stanza, because Edmund Spenser employed it in his “Faerie Queene.”
(i) The first eight lines of this stanza are in 5xa; the last line, in 6xa. (ii) The rhymes run thus : abab; bcbcc.
40. A short poem of fourteen iambic pentameter lines—with the rhymes arranged in a peculiar way—is called a sonnet.
(i) This is a form which has been imported into England from Italy, where it was cultivated by many poets—the greatest among these being Dante and Petrarch, both of them poets of the thirteenth century. The best English sonnet-writers are Milton, Wordsworth, and Mrs Browning
(ii) The sonnet consists of two parts-an octave (of eight lines), and a sestette (of six). The rhymes in the octave are often varied, being sometimes abba, acca: those in the sestette are sometimes abc, abc; or a babcc.
(iii) Shakespeare's “Sonnets are not formed on the Italian model, and can hardly be called sonnets at all. They are really short poems of three quatrains, ending in each case with a rhymed couplet. (iv) The following is Wordsworth's sonnet on “THE SONNET":
"Scorn not the Sonnet; critic, you have frowned
sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf