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as a sample; and the fourth would be a Rhetoric in its most comprehensive form.
In preparing this book, the author has been guided by the experience of many years in the class-room. No attempt has been made to produce an exhaustive treatise on the fascinating subject of prosody. The controversy of scholars as to the degree in which quantity prevails as a basis for English rhythm has been studiously avoided. It seems sufficient to follow the prevalent habit of our best poets, as evidenced in their utterance and their works, of assigning to accent the determining characteristic of English verse. Given this as a basis, it is possible to go on and add all the charms of phonetic richness and depth of which the language is capable.
One of the chief features of the book will be found in the copiousness of examples. From the beginning of the study, it is absolutely essential that the ear of the student should be trained to detect all the varieties of melody and harmony, and those subtler effects which can be better exemplified than described. For this training, much depends upon the guidance of the teacher.
It was at first intended to append to each chapter an exercise for the study and practice of the principles contained in it; but upon consideration, it was thought better to leave such a course to the individuality of the teacher, with only such general suggestions as are embodied in the advice to teachers following this preface.
The need, to an educated person, of familiarity with the laws of verse, has received but inadequate attention in our
courses of study. It is true, that the feeling for rhythmic expression is born, not made. But whoever is capable of understanding and reading correctly the best prose in our literature, is capable also of giving a proper rendering of our higher poetry, with the same amount of attention to the laws of rhythm and metre.
Especially is such study important to those who seek expression of their own thoughts in prose or verse. The vocabulary in English is essentially the same in poetry as in prose. "Our prosody," says Henry Reed, in his lectures on English Literature, "seldom if ever disqualifies words on account of their sound, whereas in the Latin, as has been ascertained, one word out of every eight is excluded from its chief metres by the rules of its prosody. The study of English poetry, being thus in closer affinity with the prose, admits of an important use in the formation of a good prose style. A mind as earnestly practical as Dr. Franklin's observed this, and he recommended the study of poetry and the writing of verse for this purpose; it was one of the sources of his own excellent English."
Even for the sake of the few, in each generation, who are favored with the gift of song, we may well afford to offer the advantages of such a study in our regular courses upon language. If one of the uses of teaching music and drawing in our public schools is the opportunity afforded to the fortunate ones to discover their gift and to cultivate it, may we not claim the same office for the study of verse? Who can say what young soul may even now be born among us, who, "mute and inglorious" else, may be thus stimulated and
informed to use his dawning powers, and who may in future years pay the tribute to our schools which Bryant rendered to his father:
"Who taught my youth The art of verse, and in the bud of life Offered me to the Muses."
Two purposes were had in view in the preparation of this manual: first, study of the forms of verse; then, practice upon those forms. We will consider them separately, although they may be carried on simultaneously.
First, the study. From the first, the pupil should be expected to search for additional examples of every form of language mentioned in the book. Learning and reciting the definitions and the rules, he should also furnish an example of each, not only from the book, but also of his own discovery. To begin with, some practice should be had in reading simple prose, to catch the significance of accent and emphasis; then rhythmical prose; then rhythm reduced to regular metre. The reading should embrace longer extracts than those given in the book, for the sake of getting the full swing of the style. It would be well to have one example, at least, of each form, committed to memory and recited. Under Variety of Rhythm, instances should be found of substitution, elision, and the rest. In Variety of Metre, additional examples should be given of each kind. For Rhyme, besides the method already proposed, we quote the following suggestion of Dr. W. J. Rolfe, in his Hints to Teachers: "The teacher may give
interest to this subject by asking the pupils if there are English words (not including proper names of persons, places, etc.), for which no rhyme can be found; and if so, to look up examples of them (like silver, squirrel, shadow, planet, filbert, beetle, statue, trellis, April, August, temple, virtue, forest, poet, open, proper, almond, bayonet, something, nothing, etc.). Words which have only one rhyme are also curious; like people (steeple), anguish, winter, hornet, hatchet, mountain, darkness, blackness, votive, etc. It must be understood that single words are required in all cases; not combinations of words, like catch it to hatchet, or hurt you to virtue." In the list of words to which no rhymes can be found, Dr. Rolfe intends, of course, perfect rhymes; for some of our best poets have used imperfect rhymes for some of those words; for instance, find what poet has quarrel to rhyme with squirrel, meadow with shadow, sorest with forest. Also find the words which rhyme with the last list given, and, if possible, any use of them in the poets. In the chapters on Alliteration and ToneColor, let genuine examples of each be studied and read with such appreciation of the feeling as to bring out the full significance of the sounds. Let the subject of Reading Verse receive the attention it deserves. Passages of considerable length, of the more usual forms, should be read in class, first for naturalness of expression, and then for analysis. Examples of lyric verse, of unusual metres, should then be taken up. Specimens of the classical, foreign, and humorous forms should be sought and analyzed.
Secondly, practice. Side by side with this study, should go practice in the composition of verse, which should follow