صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

By a little attention to exercises like the foregoing, the learner may become acquainted with the several kinds of feet, and also with their uses in composition, which may bring him to an acquaintance with the component parts of verse, and with the rules of composing and scanning.

Questions and Exercises on the foregoing. What is versification? How is verse composed? What are feet, and how composed ?

In what manner is verse composed of feet? Why are they called feet?

What two things stand connected with feet, being in a manner constituted by them?

Give a definition of measure as it stands connected with feet; of movement also.

How many kinds of feet are used in verse? What are their names?

How many are composed of two syllables, each, and how many of three?

Are their names in sheer English? What are their English sigoifications ?

Give examples of each, by their appropriate sounds and quantities.

What are marks, which pertain to these, by which their long and short quantities are designated ?

Recite those names (in the noun singular) with their plurals and adjectives.

Here some exercises may follow, similar to those in the closing part of chapter II. as the teacher may think proper.



SECTION I. – Definitions. The component parts of verse are feet. Verses are composed of feet, but in various ways, or by various or ders of construction: some are composed of one kind of feet only; and some of more than one.

I use the term orders to designate the different modes, or orders of construction, which pertain to the different kinds of verse. That kind of verse which is composed of iambics may be denominated the iambic order; and that composed of anapæstic feet, the anapæs

tic order, &c. Those kinds of verse, also, which are composed of one kind of feet only, may be denominated the simple orders; and those which are composed of more than one kind of feet, may be denominated the composite orders, in distinction from the former.

Of the twelve kinds of feet above specified, five only are commonly used, in poetical compositions, each by themselves, unmixed with other kinds; viz. iambic, trochaic, anapæstic, amphibrachic and dactyle; and these constitute the five simple orders of construction, or five kinds of verse, which are known by their names respectively; viz. iambic, trochaic, anapæstic, amphibrachic, and dactyle verse.

Aside from these five, no other kinds of feet are used in English compositions, by themselves alone; and no others can be. But the other seven 'kinds have their uses: they are used in verse, being mixed and interspersed with the other four kinds of which the four simple orders are composed.

The composite orders, which are of several kinds, are variously composed; but, in all cases, partly by one of the four kinds above mentioned, iambic, trochaic, anapæstic, or amphibrachic; for without one of these, no verse, except dactyle, is ever composed in English. But one of the four, being necessarily used as the ground work, other kinds of feet are intermixed with them; but not without some regularity in the order, line by line.

Verses are composed of feet, by arranging and connecting them together in lines; but these are of various lengths, or metres.

Of Metres. Métre is the measure or length of a line, as it is measured by its number of feet; and hence, as lines are composed of different lengths or different number of feet, as of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 feet, they are said to be of different metres, as, dimeter, trimeter, quameter, pentameter, hexameter, and septameter. These are the technical terms which have come down from antiquity; and which, in our phraseology, would be, two feet metre, three feet metre, four feet metre, five feet metre, &c.

I will cite examples of the different kinds of verse, in their different orders and metres, beginning with the simple orders.

Section II. - The Simple Orders.

Iambic Verse. Iambic verse is composed in six different metres ; viz. of two, three, four, five, six, and seven feet. A specimen of each here follows.

Of 2 feet. His name be sung.
Of 3 6, Behold the morning sun.
Of 4 The God of our salvation hears.
Of 5 All human things are subject to decay.
Of. 6 Thy realm forever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns.
Of 7.6 And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew

the slain.

Remarks. These are examples of every metre I have seen in iambic compositions. It is true, however, that lines may be extended to greater lengths than seven feet, if necessary; bui, on the other hand, they should never be contracted any shorter than the above cited example; for less than two whole feet will not constitute poetry,

Poems are never composed of lines of two feet metre, in succession : they are only used occasionally in poems, hymns, odes, &c. to diversify the metre; and are, in no case, lines of poetry, or verses; but hemistics, or half lines. . The shortest metre of which iambic verse is composed, in lines successively, is that of three feet; and this is the shortest metre which can be denominated lines, or verses; and this is not frequently used.

The' metres most commonly used, in poems of any length, are those of four and five feet. The epic verse is five feet metre, iambic: this is called the pentameter verse; and is used in elegiać compositions, and in poems generally, more frequently than any other metre.

The six feet verse, or Alexandrine, as it is commonly called, is seldom used, by itself, in succession; but it is sometimes used in pentameter compositions, and sometimes in odes, to diversify the metre. The seven feet metre is sometimes used; but not frequently in modern times. • Iambic verse, being most natural to the idioms of our language, is more commonly used than any other: being better adapted, also, where force and energy of expression are wanted.

Of Trochaic Verse. Trochaic verse is the reverse of iambic, in its order of construction; and has five metres, viz, of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 feet. Specimens follow.

Of 2 feet, Pilgrim stranger.
Of 3 Times and seasons changing.


3 4

Of 4 feet, Hush, my dear, lie still and slumber.
Of 5

Virtue's brightning ray shall beam forever. Of 6 On a mountain stretch'd, beneath a hoary willow. Of these, the four feet metre is most commonly used; the others, but seldom: the metre of two feet, never, except to diversify the metre in odes, &c.

Of trochaic verse there is another species, which is frequently used, which differs from that above described, by having the final syllable retrenched; or, in other words, by having the last foot an amphimac. It is composed in three metres. Specimens follow. 2 feet metre. Stories plainly told.

Holy angels guard thy bed.

Mountains, lakes, and rivers, there abound.
Of this species, the metre of three feet is most commonly used.

Of Anapæstic Verse. Anapæstic verse is composed in three metres, viz. of 2, 3, and 4 feet. Specimens follow.

2 feet. In a grove of tall trees. 3 From

the east to the west, you may go. 4 At the close of the day, when the hamlet is still.

Anapæstic verse has another species, which differs, from the former, by having its initial syllable retrenched of, by having its first foot an iambic. This species has also three metres, of which the following are specimens.

2 feet. He felt as a man.
3 My right there is none to dispute.

And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb. This kind of verse, very properly called, anapæstic, beginning with an iambic, may also be called, amphibrachic, ending with an iambic.

Of Amphibrachic Verse. Amphibrachic verse is composed in three metres; viz. of 2, 3, and 4 feet. Specimens follow.

2 feet. The shadows are closing.
3 And darkness and doubt áre now flying.

4 Such scenes were unknown in the days of our fathers. Anapæstic and amphibrachio verse, being similar in measure and movement, are pleasing, to the ear, and well adapted to cheerful and humourous compositions; and sometimes to elegiac compositions, and subjects important and solemn.

Of Dactyle Verse. Dactyle verse is seldom used, as remarked heretofore; but is used occasionally, and has three metres; viz. of 2, 3, and 4 feet. Specimens follow. 2 feet. Free from anxiety.

Singing most sweetly and merrily.r'; 4 Dactylic measures are wanting in energy. ! The preceding are the five kinds of verse, which are composed, each of one kind of feet; and are called by the names of those feet, of which they are composed, respectively. These also, from the mode of their construction, may be denominated the five simple orders, in distinction from those which are composite.



SECTION III. - The Composite Orders. We have other kinds of verse, which are composed in some regularity of order; but differently from those above described: they are composed, line by line, of more than one kind of feet; and hence are called of the composite order, in distinction from the former. Of these we have several kinds; some of which I will describe.

1. One of those kinds consists of six feet: in the third foot an amphibrach, or some other trisyllable foot; and the other feet, iambics. A specimen of which follows.

It was a win | těr's ēv’ning, ! and fast came down the snow; And keenly o'er | thě wide heath | the bitter blast did blow."

Anon. 2. Another kind of verse is composed of anapæsts and iambics, alternately; as, in the following.

“They are burst | ing fresh | from their spar | ry caves ;
And the earth | resounds with the joy of waves."



There is another kind of verse, called Sapphic, in imitation of Sappho, the Greek lyric poetess. This kind of verse is of five feet metre, mostly trochaic: it is composed in stanzas; three lines and a hemistic composing a stanza.

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »