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PERIOD.

The period marks a full stop.

The period is used after initials and abbreviations; as, N. S. for New Style. Col. for Colonel.

The dash marks an abrupt turn in the sentence; as, "If thou art he-but O how fallen!"

It also marks a detached assertion, or explanation; as, "This the king well knew,-as, indeed, the whole house of Lords."

Other marks used in composition, are sufficiently explained in spelling books, which pupils should never be allowed to pass without knowing these points and their use.

NOTE. "The Parenthesis has become nearly obsolete, except in mere references, and the like; its use, by modern writers, being usually supplied by the comma and the dash."-Nutting.

CAPITAL LETTERS.

Every name of the Deity-the principal words in the title of a book or essay-every line in poetry-all proper names-adjectives derived from proper names-all names of things when addressed-every sentence after a full stop-quotations, when after the pause of a colon-interjections, Oh, &c. should begin with a capital letter. The pronoun I should always be a capital letter.

PROSODY.

PROSODY treats of Orthöepy, and the laws of versification. Orthöepy or Pronunciation is the art of uttering words with propriety. It is regulated chiefly by accent and quantity.

Accent is an increased stress of voice in uttering a particular letter or syllable of a word to distinguish it from the others; as the syllable bur in burden.

NOTE. A correct accentuation is very important, and can be acquired only by attending to the pronunciation of correct speakers, and frequently consulting a good pronouncing Dictionary.

The Quantity of a syllable is the time required in pronounIcing it.

The pronunciation of an accented syllable requires double the time of that of an unaccented one.

Emphasis is an increased stress of voice, or other distinctions of sound, placed on certain words to mark their superior importance.

NOTE. The reader or speaker should carefully avoid making too many words emphatic.

Useful Directions for Reading and Speaking.

1. Let the voice be pitched on the natural or conversational tone. Correct pitch of voice is as essential in reading or speaking, as it is in singing.

2. Be distinct in articulation.

3. Avoid affectation-act out nature.

4. Close your periods on the pitch with which you commence them. This last is the great lever for controlling the voice. A speaker way raise his voice as high as he pleases in the middle (180)

of a sentence, if he is careful to bring it down to the proper pitch before closing it; for on whatever pitch he closes one sentence he must begin the next.

POETRY.

A piéce of poetry, is a cómposítion, divíded into équal pórtions, cálled measures, by a régular recurrence of the áccented syllables; and formed into harmónious línes, by a régular arrangement of the measures.

In this sentence, the accented syllables are the 2d, 4th, 9th, 11th, 14th, 18th, 20th, 22d, 23d, 27th, 31st, 35th, &c. Between two accented syllables, there are sometimes four, sometimes three, sometimes one, and sometimes no unaccented syllable; hence the sentence is prose.

Then fare thee wéll, mine ówn dear lóve,

The world hath nów for ús

No greáter griéf, no paín abóve

The paín of párting thús.

Moore.

In this sentence, the accented syllables are the 2d, 4th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, &c. Hence, between two accented syllables, there is one unaccented syllable, throughout the stanza; i. e. the accent occurs on every other syllable.

At the close of the day, when the hámlet is stíll,
And the mórtals the sweets of forgetfulness prove,
And when nought but the tórrent is heard on the hill,
And there's nought but the níghtingale's sóng in the grove.

Beattie.

In this sentence, the accented syllables are the 3d, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 21st, 24th, &c. Hence, between each two accented syllables there are two unaccented: in other words the accent occurs on every third syllable.

The above examples and remarks exhibit the fundamental distinction between prose and poetry.

MEASURE. Each accented syllable with its accompanying unaccented syllable or syllables, constitutes a measure.

Measure is of two kinds, dissyllabic, and trissyllabic. Dissyllabic measure consists of two syllables; as the above quotation from Moore.

Dissyllabic measure consists of three syllables; as the above quotation from Beattie.

The measures placed in one line constitute a verse. Two rhyming lines constitute a couplet, three lines, a triplet; and four or more lines in one division of a piece of poetry, make a stanza.

RHYME. Rhyme is not essential to poetry, but it is the greatest ornament of English verse. In rhyming syllables three things

are necessary.

1. The vowel sounds must be the same.

2. The sounds following the vowel sounds must be the same. 3. The sounds preceding the vowel sounds must be different. Thus :

They talk of principles, but notions pr-i-ze.
And all to one loved folly sacrif-i-ce.

If the sounds come under the above regulation, any variation in the letters, is unimportant.

Rhyming words are regulated by the same law. Thus:
Success in a higher be-at-i-tude--

A philosopher takes it with gr-at-i-tude.

Rhyming syllables must always be accented; and rhyming words must always contain an accented syllable.

When the accented syllable, in rhyming words, is followed by one unaccented syllable, it is a double rhyme; and when it is followed by two unaccented syllables, it is a treble rhyme. Blank verse is poetry without rhyme.

MEASURES AND VERSES. English Poetry is based upon the two kinds of measure, above described, and there are five varieties of it.

For the sake of convenience, we will represent an accented, or long syllable, by the letter a, and an unaccented, or short one, by the letter x: thus:

The way was lóng, the wind was cold. Scott.

[blocks in formation]

The length of this line may be estimated in two ways. We may say it consists of four accents or measures, taking the accented syllable with its corresponding unaccented one; or we may say it consists of eight syllables.

1

2

The Varieties of Measures.
a x-tyrant, silly

x a-presúme, detér

3 a x x-mérrily, fórtify

4 x a x-Disable, preferring
5 x x a―refugée, cavalier

Dissyllabic.

Trissyllabic.

This shows that the accented syllable may come in any part of a measure: indeed the change of the place of the accent, in dissyllabic measure, for instance, produces the varieties of that measure; and so of the other.

The same variety usually prevails throughout a verse; and commonly throughout a piece of poetry.

There are some liberties taken by poets in varying a measure, occasionally, from these laws.

The length of the last measure, in a line, is a matter of indifference.

The meeting points the sacred hair dissever,

From her fair head for ever and for ever. Pope.

Prove and explain a thing till all men doubt it,
And write about it, Goddess, and about it. Pope.

In the above couplets from Pope, the original measure is x a, through the line to the last measure, which is x a, and a syllable added. At first view, this might indicate that the measure x a is changed into the measure xa x; but this is not the case. It is merely a supernumerary syllable, which can be added only at the end of a line, and we will represent the syllable in such cases by the sign plus, +.

Sometimes the last measure lacks a syllable, where the final syllable is unaccented, but it cannot lack an accented one, for that would destroy the measure. Such may be represented by the sign minus,

In the following illustrations, we will use the sign of multiplication, to represent the number of measures in a line.

Examples.

1. Variety.

a x X 2

Rích the treasure
Sweet the pleasure. Dryden.

a x X 2-Túmult ceáse

a x X 3

Sínk to peace

Seize the lightning's pinion-
From the starred domínion.

a x X 3-Ságes cán, they say

And bring down its ráy—

The two varieties of lines, rhyming alternately, form the fol

lowing stanza.

Sages can, they say,

Seize the lightning's pinion,

And bring down its ray,

From the starred dominion. Moore.

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