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Weeping he told them this, and they, at the villager's bidding, Knitting with knee to knee a wreath at the altar's railing, Knelt as he softly led in the prayer of the consecration. In it the children joined, until in a tremulous accent Closing the prayer he had asked for the Lord's benediction upon them. This passage from Longfellow is a typical specimen of what is called English hexameter. Here is another (not so good), from Frothingham's translation in many respects an admirable one-of Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea :
Thitherward up the new street as I hasted, a stout-timbered wagon
Not until such lines have been reduced to a form more like the following, can we be prepared to debate whether or not the effects of the classic hexameter can be reproduced in English. Those, too, who choose to compare these lines with the original, will find this translation more literal than the last.
Now my eyes, as I made my way along the new street there,
Urging or holding them in, right skilfully did she drive them. In these last lines, there are more spondaic verses,verses, that is, in which the fifth foot contains two syllables—than were often used in the classic hexameters. But this fact does not change the general effect of the movement. Matthew Arnold says of the following, that, “it is the one version of any part of the Iliad which in some degree reproduces for me the original effect of
Homer." It is a translation from the third book made by Dr. Hawtrey of Eton College:
Clearly the rest I beheld of the dark-eyed sons of Achaia,
Instead of two we sometimes find three consecutive unaccented syllables, combined with which there is occasionally a slight but secondary accent on the second of these. As the general effect of this kind of rhythm is to cause four syllables to be uttered in the time usually given to two, it increases the rapidity of the movement; e.g.:
The king has come to marshal us in all his armor dressed,
“And if my standard-bearer fall, -as fall full well he may,
- The Battle of Ivry: Macaulay.
ELOCUTIONARY AND POETIC FORCE.
Force, representing Instinctive Tendency of Utterance, or Physical
Energy–Different kinds of Force—the Degree of Force-Loud and Soft Force as used in Elocution-Their Poetic Analogues-Loudness and Softness, Strength and Weakness, Great and Slight Weight as represented by Long or Short Accented or Unaccented Syllables.
THE next rhythmical element of expression to be
considered, is force. This is to sounds what different degrees of light and shade are to objects of sight; and is essential to the effects of rhythm in the same way that shading is to those of proportion. In elocution, no one in feeble physical health can manifest an excess of force, while, at times, without it, his delivery may be characterized by the greatest amount of intelligence and soul, of thought and the emotion that is con nected with thought. For these reasons, it seems right to infer that force represents physique rather than intellect or spiritual feeling; in other words, energy that is instinctive and connected with the physical nature rather than any thing that is reflective and connected with the psychical. As used for emphasis, force differs mainly in three regards, which, according to the principle of classification pursued hitherto, may be stated thus: first, on its purely instinctive or physical side, it differs in degree—it may be loud or soft ; second, on its reflective or intellectual side, it differs in gradation—it may be strongest at the beginning,
middle, or end of the utterance of a syllable or word; and third, in emotive relations, affected more or less by both instinctive and reflective influences, it differs in regularity -it may be abrupt or smooth.
Let us consider, first, the degrees of force. It is probably not necessary to illustrate the statement that, in elocution loud force indicates a great degree of energy, and soft force a slight degree of it. As loud and soft are relative terms, it is evident that in poetry their analogues are found in forms in which the relative force is decidedly greater on certain syllables than on others; therefore, in metres in which the accents are strongly marked. This condition is realized, as a rule, where the accented syllables are long, in quantity, and the unaccented short. Here are metres of this character:
Louder, louder chant the lay;
-Hunting Song : Scott.
- Two Voices : Tennyson, Strike, and when the fight is over,
If ye look in vain for me,
-Burial March of Dundee : Aytoun.
-Hymn : Kirkham.
If both the accented and unaccented syllables are short in quantity, the movement is rapid, indicating, as has been said before, thought that is unimportant; and we have a rattling effect, analogous to loudness that does not convey an impression of strength4.g.:
Then we let off paper crackers, each of which contained a motto,
-Ferdinando and Elvira : Gilbert.
With wrinkled hose
And spectacled nose,
If ever you do,
The step you will rue,
-The Precocious Baby: Idem.
--Ellen Mc Fones Aberdeen : Idem. If both the accented and unaccented syllables are long in quantity, the movement is slow, indicating thought that is important, and the accent is less decidedly marked. This gives us the poetical equivalent for force characterized by weight and strength, though not necessarily by loudness
O good gray head which all men knew ;
-Ode on the Duke of Wellington : Tennyson.
The south winds softly sigh,