« PreviousContinue »
The gates that now
- Paradise Lost, 10: Milton. Notice, too, the abrupt effects occasioned by the three unaccented syllables Are the in-, and the two With im-, in the following:
I 'll cavil on the ninth part of a hair.
-1 Henry IV., iii., 1: Shakespear.
On a sudden open fly,
- Paradise Lost, 2: Milton.
Abruptness is sometimes characteristic of the entire metre of a poem. In these cases, it is usually produced in connection with the pauses between the lines. At times it results from ending one line with an accented syllable, and beginning the next with another, as in these :
Every day brings a ship,
-Letters : Emerson.
Here let us sport,
- The Mahogany Tree : Thackeray.
Forward the light brigade !
Some one had blundered ;
-Charge of the Light Brigade : Tennyson.
-Ode on the Duke of Wellington : Tennyson,
-Barbara Frietchie : Whittier. At times, this abrupt effect is produced by ending a line with an unaccented syllable and beginning the next with another one, e.g.:
As she lay on her death-bed,
The bones of her thin face, boys,
I don't know how it be, boys,
But I see her looking at me, boys,
— Tommy's Dead : Dobell. The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean ;
The winds of heaven mix forever
-Love's Philosophy : Shelley.
Those Shandon bells ;
- The Bells of Shandon : F. Mahony. They lock them up and veil and guard them daily ;
They scarcely can behold their male relations ;
- Beppo : Byron. As characteristic abruptness in verse is produced in connection with the pauses at the ends of the lines, the shorter the lines are, the more frequent are the instances of abrupt force, and the more do the verses seem to manifest the sort of nervous energy which this represents. Compare the quotations above in which the lines are long with those in which they are short; or compare the two following stanzas :
--Halcro's Verses in The Pirate : Scott,
-Locksley Hall : Tennyson. This latter couplet has almost the effect of perfect regularity of rhythm, which, as has been said, characterizes
metre corresponding to smooth force, representing therefore continuity, satisfaction, gentleness, delight, such, for instance, as one would naturally have in the tender, lovely, beautiful, grand, or sublime. In all the following quotations it will be noticed that the final syllable of each line joins without a break the rhythm of the following line. They all furnish illustrations of the poetic equivalent for smooth force.
From gold to gray
-Eve of Election : Whittier.
--Hymn : Grant.
-Carillon : Longfellow.
-Kitty : Anon.
And she looked like a queen in a book that night,
-Aux Italiens : Lytton.
Our bugles sang truce, for the night cloud had lowered,
And the sentinal stars set their watch in the sky,
- The Soldier's Dream : Campbell. Here is the same in our regular English blank verse:
So all day long the noise of battle rolled
-The Idyls of the King : Tennyson. Abrupt and smooth poetic effects, corresponding to those of imitative elocution, have been noticed often, and scarcely need mention here. The following are abrupt :
The pilgrim oft
- The Ruins of Rome : Dyer.
-Epilogue : Swinburne.
- Paradise Lost, 2: Milton.
And these are smooth:
Heaven open'd wide