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(i) The following are amphibrachs : Despair'ing; almight'y; tremend'ous; deceitful. (ii) The following is an amphibrachic line :
There came to the beach' a | poor ex'ile | of E'rin l.
10. A verse made up of iambuses is called lambic Verse; of trochees, Trochaic; of anapæsts, Anapæstic; and of dactyls, Dactylic.
11. A verse of three feet is called Triměter; of four feet, Tetrameter; of five feet, Pentameter; and of six feet, Hexameter.
(i) We find the prefixes of these words in Triangle; Tetrarch (a ruler over a fourth part); Pentateuch (the five books of Moses); and Hexagon (a figure with six corners or angles).
12. By much the most usual kind of verse in English is Iambic Verse.
(i) lambic Tetrameter (4 xa) is the metre of most of Scott's poems ; of Coventry Patmore's “Angel in the House”; of Gay's Fables, and many other poems of the eighteenth century. (ii) lambic Pentameter (5xa) is the most common line in English
There are probably more than a thousand iambic pentameter lines for one that there exists of any other kind. Iambic Pentameter is the verse of Chaucer, of Shakespeare, of Milton, of Dryden, of Pope, and of almost all our greater English poets.
13. Rhymed Iambic Pentameter is called Heroic Verse; unrhymed, it is called Blank Verse.
(i) Any unrhymed verse may be called blank—such as the verse employed by Longfellow in his “Hiawatha”—but the term is usually restricted to the unrhymed iambic pentameter.
(ii) Blank verse is the noblest of all verse. It seems the easiest to write ; it is the most difficult. It is the verse of Shakespeare and Milton, and of most of our great dramatists.
14. Iambic Trimeter consists of three iambuses; and its formula is 3xa.
The king' | was on' | his throne'; /
On that' | high fes' | tival'. |
15. Iambic Tetrameter consists of four iambuses; and its formula is 4xa.
The fire,' | with well’ | dried logs' | supplied,' |
There is a good deal of this verse in English ; and most of it is by Scott.
16. Iambic Tetrameter with Iambic Trimeter in alternate lines—the second and fourth rhyming—is called Ballad Metre. When used, as it often is, in hymns, it is called Service Metre.
They set him high upon a cart;=4xa
The hangman rode below;=3xa
And bared his noble brow.=3xa
This is the metre of Macaulay's ‘Lays of Ancient Rome,' of Scott's ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel,' and many other poems. Scott mixes frequently, but at quite irregular intervals, the iambic trimeter with the iambic tetrameter; and this he called the “light-horse gallop of verse."
Front, flank, and rear, the squadrons sweep=4xa
That fought' | around' | their king.' =3xa
17. Tambic Pentameter consists of five iambuses; and its formula is 5xa
(i) The following is rhymed iambic pentameter :
True wit' na' | ture to' | advan' | tage dressed,' l=5 xa
What oft' | was thought,' | but ne'er' so well' | expressed.' l=5xa
You all’ | do know's this man' | tle; I' I remem' | ber=5 xa
The first extract is from Pope's “Essay on Criticism ”; the second from Shakespeare's "Julius Cæsar."
18. Tambic Hexameter consists of six iambuses; and its formula is 6 xa.
(i) The following is from Drayton's “Polyolbion” :
Upon the Midlands now the industrious muse doth fall, 1 =6x2.
The objection to this kind of verse is its intolerable monotony. It pretends to be hexameter; but it is indeed simply two trimeter verses printed in one long line. The monotony comes from the fact that the pause is always in the middle of the line. There is very little of this kind of verse in English. The line of 6xa is also called an Alexandrine, and is used to close the long stanza employed by Spenser.
19. Trochaic Tetrameter consists of four trochees; and its formula is 4ax.
(i) The following is rhymed trochaic tetrameter :
When the heathen trumpet's clang-1=4ax
It will be noticed that each line has a syllable wanting to
Then the little | Hia | watha | = 4ax
It will be observed that, in the above lines from Longfellow's “ Hiawatha,” each trochee is complete ; and this is the case throughout the whole of this poem. “Hiawatha” is the only long poem in the language that is written in unrhymed trochees
20. Trochaic Octometer consists of eight trochees; and its formula is 8ax.
(i) The chief example of it that we have is Tennyson's poem of Locksley Hall” :
Com'rades, I leave' me here' as little, I while' as I yet' 'tis ear'ly | morn'-1=8ax
(ii) There is a syllable wanting in each line of “Locksley Hall”; but it is only an unaccented syllable. Each line consists of eight accents.
21. Anapæstic Tetrameter consists of four anapæsts; and its formula is 4xxa.
(i) There is very little anapæstic verse in English ; and what little there exists is written in tetrameter.
(ii) The following lines, from “Macgregors' Gathering,” by Scott, is in anapæstic verse :
The moon's' | on the lake', I and the mist's' | on the brae', 1 =4xxa
(iii) It will be observed that the first line begins with an iambus. This is admissible ; because an iambus and an anapæst, both having the accented syllable last, belong to the same system.
22. Dactylic Dimeter consists of two dactyls; and its formula is 2 axx.
(i) A well - known example is Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade.”
Can'non to I right of them, / 2axx
Vol'leyed and | thun'dered. - | 2axx (ii) It will be observed that the last two lines want a syllable to make up the two dactyls. Such a line is said to be=2axx -(minus).
(iii) Or we may say that the last foot is a trochee ; for a trochee and a dactyl can go together in one line, both belonging to the same system --both having their accented syllable first.
23. Dactylic Tetrameter consists of four dactyls; and its formula is 4axx.
(i) Bishop Heber's hymn is one of the best examples :
Bright'est and | best of the / sons' of the morn'ing.
24. Amphibrachic Tetrameter consists of four amphibrachs; and its formula is 4xax.
(i) Campbell's well-known poem is a good example :
There came to the beach' a I poor ex’ile I of E'rin. (ii) There are very few examples in English of this kind of verse. 25. The following lines by Coleridge give both examples and descriptions of the most important metres explained in the preceding paragraphs. It must be observed that Coleridge uses the term long for accented; and short for unaccented syllables:
Tro'chee | trips' from | long' to | short - |
Amphi'brach | ys hastes' with | a state'ly | stride. 26. A verse with a syllable over and above the number of feet of which it consists is called Hypermetrical. (i) Thus, Coleridge has, in his “Ancient Mariner"
Day af | ter day, | day after day, I
We stuck: 1 nor breath | nor mo | tion, (hyper)
Upon | a paint | ed os cean. (hyper) Here the syllables tion and cean are over from the iambic trimeter verse, and the line is therefore said to be hypermetrical.
27. A verse with a syllable wanting to the number of feet of which it consists is said to be defective.
(i) Thus, in Scott's “Monks of Bangor
Slaugh'tered | down' by heath'en | blade' - | 4ax
Ban'gor's | peace'ful | monks' are / laid'. - | 4a xwe find a syllable wanting to each line. But that syllable is an unaccented one ; and the verse consists of four trochees minus one syllable, or 4ax
(ii) Caution !—Some persons confuse the defective with the hypermetrical line. Thus, in the verses
Shall I | wast'ing | in' de | spair', - |
Die' be cause a | wom'an's / fair' ?-| the syllable spair is not hypermetrical. An unaccented syllable is wanting to it; and the lines are 4ax defective or minus.
1 A spondee consists of two long or accented syllables. It is a foot not employed in English ; but it exists in the two words amen and farewell.