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Lave with living water
10. END-RHYMES are now simply called rhymes. They were introduced from the Romance tongues-French and Italian. Milton despised them in later life, and calls them the "jingling sound of like endings”; but Butler, the author of Hudibras, says they often guide the thought of the poet.
“Rhyme the rudder is of verses,
With which, like ships, they steer their courses.' Dryden, too, admits that a rhyme often suggested to him a new idea. Rhymes are of three kinds : those of one syllable—which are the most common, as ring, sing; of two syllables—which are also called feminine rhymes-as riven, driven ; and of three syllables, as readily, steadily. The English language is very poor in rhymes. On an average it has only three to each word, while Spanish has twentyfive. It is consequently at least eight times easier to write rhymed verse in Spanish or Italian, than in English. German is also very fertile in rhymes.
11. The different kinds of verse employed will be described in the chapter on each poet; but it may be stated here that by far the most common kind of verse is IAMBIC PENTAMETER. That is, this verse consists of five feet, called lambuses, each of which contains one accented and one unaccented syllable, the accented syllable coming last. Thus
True wit | is ná | ture tó | advánt | age drést,
There are a thousand lines of Iambic Pentameter for one of any other metre. This kind of verse is either rhymed or unrhymed. When rhymed it is called heroic verse; when unrhymed, blank verse. Heroic Verse is the favourite verse of Chaucer, Dryden, and Pope; Blank Verse of Shakspeare, Milton, and Tennyson.
EXERCISES TO INTRODUCTION.
Ex. 1. Mention the words in the following sentences which change, or can change, their form (i.e., are inflected) :
(a) We were all in the boat together.
The best of what we do and are,
Just God! forgive. (d)
In his chamber, weak and dying,
Ex. 2. State which of the following sentences are prose, and which verse, and why :
(a) He took it deeply to heart; it preyed upon his mind, and he soon lost his senses,
and died. (6) Hark! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge, that with its wearisome but needful length bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright.
(c) Years change thee not. Upon yon hill the tall old maples, verdant still, yet tell, in grandeur of decay, how swift the years have passed away.
(d) Train up thy children, England ! in the way of righteousness, and feed them with the bread of wholesome doctrine. (Southey writes this as verse—where should the first line end ?)
Ex. 3. Break up the following long sentence from Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia into shorter and more modern sentences :
The ending of all earthly learning being virtuous action, those skills that serve most to bring forth that, have a most just title to be princes over the rest : wherein (if we can show it rightly) the poet is worthy to have it before any other competitors: among whom principally to challenge it step forth the moral philosophers, whom methinks I see coming towards me with a sullen gravity, as though they could not abide vice by daylight; rudely clothed, for to witness outwardly their contempt of outward things ; with books in their hands against glory, whereto they set their names; sophistically speaking against subtilty, and angry with a man in whom they see the foul fault of anger.
Ex. 4. State to what class-history, biography, etc.—the following works belong :
(a) The Spectator. (b) Johnson's Lives of the Poets. (c) Sidney's Arcadia.' (d) Burke on the French Revolution. (e) Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. (f) Johnson's Rasselas. (g) Richardson’s Clarissa Harlowe. (h) Plato's Dialogues.
Ex. 5. State to what class—epic, dramatic, etc. — the following poems belong :
(a) Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard. (6) Homer's Odyssey. (c) Thomson's Seasons. (d) Spenser's Faërie Queene. (e) Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. (f) Cowper's Sofa. (g) Dryden's Alexander's Feast. (h) Pope's Essays. (i) Shakspeare's Merchant of Venice.
Ex. 6. State of how many metres -one, two, etc.—the following lines consist:(a) Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note.-.Wolfe.
(b) Dreadful screams,
And on thine homeward way.—Keble.
Lift her with care.—Hood.
(f) The snake renews his youth,
And flames again in spring;
Floats back on annual wing.–Palgrave.
He gained no title, and he lost no friend.-Pope.
Ex. 7. Distinguish the three kinds of rhymes in the following:
(a) The waters are flashing,
The white hail is dashing,
The hoar-spray is dancing.–Shelley.
To the kirke wente
And the mass after.-Langlande.
Snows on landscape frozen.
Mr. Marsh, from the Icelandic. Ex. 8. Distinguish between the two kinds of verse in the following lines, which are printed as prose :
(a) He only, with returning footsteps, broke the eternal calm wherewith the tomb was bound; among the sleeping dead alone He woke, and blessed with outstretched hands the hosts around.
(6) 'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat, to peep at such a world;
to see the stir of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd.--Cowper. (c) But, while the wings of fancy still are free, and I can view this photograph * of thee, Time has but half succeeded in his theft,—thyself removed, thy power to soothe me left.—Cowper.
* “Mimic show.”—Cowper.
A BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY
HE history of English Literature is a part of the
history of the English nation. The literature of a people is the impress or stamp of themselves, their character, and their experience, which they have left
in writing-in stories, songs, histories, and treatises. The history of the English people begins upon the continent of Europe, up in that northern corner which is now
called Schleswig, near the mouth of the Elbe; and the history of English literature begins in the same place. Both have their origin between the fifth and seventh centuries.
2. When the English people came over in small bands of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes to the eastern districts of the island called Britain, they brought with them in their memories (for it was not written down till long after) a poem called
Beowulf. This poem belongs to the heathen period. Its author is unknown. The story relates the adventures of Prince Beowulf, a descendant of the old Norse god Odin or Woden.* He delivers the king of the
* Hence Wedn-es-day; Wedn-es-bury, in Staffordshire.