Page images
PDF
EPUB

Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny,

Rash and undutiful;
Past all dishonor,
Death has left on her

Only the beautiful.
And in Browning's Evelyn Hope ; e.gi:

Beautiful Evelyn Hope is dead.

Sit and watch by her side an hour.
That is her book-shelf,—this her bed ;

She plucked that piece of geranium-flower

Beginning to die too in the glass. The pathetic effect here may be owing to the blending of the spirit of assurance,-as if a man would say: “I know all about it; I am making no mistake,”—with the sad nature of the facts represented; or, possibly, the pathos may be owing to the uncertain effect of the metre, when read, as it would be in such a poem, without strongly marked accents. In this case, the immediate proximity of two syllables like not and scorn and her and mourn, both of them apparently accented, yet not both able to receive a strong accent, would of themselves suggest uncertainty, and make this kind of metre analogous to the trembling tone produced by the elocutionist's Tremulous stress. This is a form of stress, too, which, like the Greek pæonics, may be used both for great grief and for great joy-for any thing, in fact, showing that a man has not complete mastery over himself. Hence the appropriateness of the metre in the following

Though like a wanderer,

Daylight all gone,
Darkness be over me,

My rest a stone,
Yet in my dreams I'd be

Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee.

-Hymn: S. F. Adams.

and also in this verse of the same hymn, where the assured earnestness and persistence or, what is the same thing, the aspiration, is represented in effects that blend those of tremulous and thorough stress :

Or if on joyful wing

Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot,

Upward I fly,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee,
Nearer to thee.

-Idem.

Not a little of the success of a hymn like this, or of any poem, depends on the happy choice--usually made, of course, unconsciously-of a metre for it.

As was shown in the examples quoted under median measure, Terminal Triple Measure, is often used interchangeably with median, which is thus more closely allied to it than to initial measure; in fact, the terminal accent, in this measure, can be regarded as a strong form of median. In this regard, these terminal effects resemble those of what elocutionists term Thorough stress, which, though sometimes described as a combination of initial, median, and terminal stress, has in it much more of the latter two than of the former-i. e., it indicates both the subjective feeling of the median in view of that which is intrinsically eloquent, beautiful, and sublime, and also the objective persistence and push of the terminal, therefore rapture, triumph, vehemence, etc. Here are examples of terminal accent in triple measures:

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam;
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream ;
'T is the star-spangled banner. Oh, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

-Star-Spangled Banner : Key.
Now there 's peace on the shore, now there 's calm on the sea,
Fill a glass to the heroes whose swords kept us free, ;
Right descendants of Wallace, Montrose, and Dundee.

- The Broad-Swords of Scotland: Lockhart. Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire.

-Midsummer Night's Dream, ii., I : Shakespear, The Greek measure corresponding to this is the Anapæst, from ávanaíw, to strike back. This, as Schmidt says, is “the proper march measure,” used " in the march songs (in particular those of the Spartans), of which fragments have been preserved. The chorus in tragedy also generally entered the orchestra (in the parodus) and left it (in the exodus) while reciting anapæsts, the recitation in both cases being in a chanting tone.” This use of the anapæst would correspond exactly with that appropriate for our terminal triple measure, as just interpreted.

In order to prevent monotony, as well as too great rapidity of movement, all kinds of triple measure are usually combined with double measure, initial triple, for instance, with initial double, as in the following:

Under my window, under my window,
All in the midsummer weather.

-Under my Window : T. Westwood.
Work and pure slumbers shall wait on thy pillow;
Work thou shalt ride o'er Care's coming billow;
Lie not down 'neath Woe's weeping willow.

-To Labor is to Pray: F. S. Osgood.

This combination is that which is found in the classic hexameter; e.g.: Hearty and hale was he, an oak that is covered with snow-flakes ; White as the snow were his locks, and his cheeks as brown as the vakleaves.

-Evangeline : Longfellow.

Terminal triple measure is usually joined with terminal double; 1.g.:

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red.

--Song of the Shirt : Hood.
Let them sing who may of the battle fray,
And the deeds that have long since passed.

The Good Old Plough : Anon. And median triple measure is used sometimes with initial double ; e.g.:

Glen Orchy's proud mountains, Coalchurn and her towers,
Glenstrae and Glenlyon no longer are ours :
We're landless, landless, landless, Grigalach.
Landless, landless, landless.

-Macgregor's Gathering : Scott. But it is used more frequently with terminal double measure; l.g.:

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under ;
And then again I dissolve it in rain ;
And laugh as I pass in thunder,

- The Cloud : Shelley.

In some compositions all forms, both of double and triple measure, are combined, the only essential consideration in the mind of the poet being to arrange the accents so that, when read, they can be separated by like intervals; e. g.:

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, not land nor motion,
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.
Water, water everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink ;
Water, water everywhere,
Nor any a drop to drink.

I closed my lids and kept them close,
And the balls like pulses beat ;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

-The Ancient Mariner : Coleridge. Quadruple measure is made up of two feet of double measure, one of the accented syllables of which receives more stress than the other. Here, for instance, is the Ditrochaic measure of the Greeks, or what may be termed Diinitial Quadruple measure. In it there are two trochaic feet. Roses are in blossom, and the | Hills are filled with water-cresses.

-Anon. And here is the Greek Diiambic measure, in which there are two iambic feet. It may be called Diterminal Quadruple measure. The king has come to mårshal us I in all his ar | mor drėssed,

-Battle of Ivry: Macaulay. The first of these is evidently an example of initial accent, and the second of terminal accent, and each must indicate the same as in double measure, with the exception that in quadruple measure the movement is more rapid, and represents, therefore, more buoyancy and momentum in the thought.

« PreviousContinue »