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Browning, in his "Pheidippides," abolishes the second stress of "gloriously," writing:

Gloriously, as he began,

So to end gloriously.

Mr. Swinburne, in the early "Hymn to Proserpine before quoted, used this cadence in :

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The roses grew rosier, and bluer the sea-blue stream of the bays;

and it occurs often in his later verse. Compare

A land that is lonelier than ruin.

"By the North Sea," I. 1.2

Ibid., I. 7.

But reefs the blood-guiltiest of murder.

A land that is thirstier than ruin,
A sea that is hungrier than death.

Ibid., IV. 5.

The slayer and the stayer and the harper, the light of us all and our lord.

"Off-shore." 2

These examples cannot be disposed of by saying that the italicized words or parts of words are to be reckoned trisyllables; they are genuine instances of four syllables pronounced in the normal time of three. Metrically, they form one monopressure, though in ordinary speech some of them would involve two. They seem decisive against the crudely expressed theory which forbids "three unaccented syllables

1 "Dramatic Idylls," first series, 1879.

2 "Studies in Song," 1880.

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to come together, and even against Prof. Skeat's more carefully worded opinion. While it might be difficult to say that in each of these examples the italicized syllables occupy one period, it is clear that there is nothing to prevent such an occurrence, and certain that our poets do in cases like this set four syllables to the usual time-measure of three. When two such collocations come consecutively, as in the last instance, four syllables obviously must be contained in a single period.

The analogy of duple metre further suggests that, on rare occasions, even more than four syllables may be crowded into a triple period. It would be dangerous to pronounce this impossible. But the limits of monopressure would certainly make it a rare and difficult feat. Questions present themselves connected with this, which will need discussion in a fresh chapter. They concern the extensibility of rhythm, and the possibility of metres based on other than duple and triple time. Of verse set to the latter a general account has now been given, and its further examination must be left to the higher critic. The problems it presents are well worth his study, and should be handled to greater advantage when related to a true basis. Their proper solution is incompatible with the idea that our "three-syllable metres" move to common time.



Do duple and triple rhythm cover between them the whole compass of English verse? Music has rhythms of greater complexity; is it so with metre? The question, here as elsewhere, is one not of theory but of fact. Evidently verse has conditions peculiar to itself. Limits of articulation and accentuation make themselves felt. Since stress-pressure usually culminates but once in a period, and more than three syllables are rarely included in such monopressure, the difficulties of adapting words to quadruple measure must be very great, to yet more extended periods almost insuperable. If secondary pressure come in, time will be imperfectly signalized, and rhythm become doubtful. So much is clear, but the question remains have our poets tried to overcome these difficulties? This can be answered only by examination of instances.

The difficulties are illustrated by those phrases which were quoted in the penultimate paragraph of last chapter. Such words as "many are the" cannot easily be compressed into a single period; they tend to split into two pairs, " many are the." "Gloriously" is apt to have secondary stress on its third


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syllable. "Revels in the" and "flickers up the show the disintegrating process further advanced; it needs an effort to keep them within one rhythmical unit. Given a line wholly composed of such units, the effort would become considerable. A quadruple period will only too easily separate into two duple periods, both being forms of common time. We may be prepared, therefore, to find some vagueness and uncertainty of effect, supposing the experiment to have been tried.

Lanier quotes three examples,' seemingly with no doubt of their measure. One is :

Wistfully she wandered o'er the | desert of the | waters; another :

The rose was new in | blossom, and the | sun was on the | hill.

(I give these in his notation.) A third is humorous: An entertaining | history, en- | titled, "Saul, a | Mystery," Has recently been | published by the | Reverend Arthur | Coxe.

These are held to carry the main accent on the first syllable of each period. A more usual form may seem to carry it on the third, as in Browning's

At the midnight, | in the silence | of the sleep-time, | When you set your fancies free .2

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With this compare an earlier piece by the same writer: 3

1 "Science of English Verse," pp. 126-129, 229, 232.

"Asolando," last poem.

"A Toccata of Galuppi's."

Oh, Galuppi, | Baldassaro, | this is very sad to find;

or Tennyson's line in the "Revenge":"

We will make the | Spaniard promise, | if we yield, to | let us go.

Each of the last three examples, of course, has a dropped syllable at the end; and Mrs. Browning seems to use a similar cadence, with twice-repeated omission, in

To the belfry, one by one, | went the ringers | in the sun ;2

which precisely recalls the structure of her husband's

On the sea and | at the Hague, | sixteen hundred | ninetytwo.3

Mrs. Browning also gives us lines without omitted syllables, as in "Lady Geraldine's Courtship":

There are none of | England's daughters | who can show a prouder presence;

or this from "The Cry of the Children":

Do you hear the | children weeping, | O my brothers ?

Further instances will present themselves to my readers' memory. I add one from an unpublished piece, which seems as apposite as any of the above :

"The Revenge: a Ballad of the Fleet."

2 66

Rhyme of the Duchess May." 3" Hervé Riel."

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