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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

M 'e rrily sh 'a ll I live n 'o w


_Abbot._--And wh['y] not l['i]ve and ['a]ct with ['o]ther m['e]n?

_Manfred._--Beca['u]se my n['a]ture w['a]s av['e]rse from l['i]fe; And y['e]t not cr['u]el, f['o]r I wo['u]ld not m['a]ke, But f['i]nd a d['e]sol['a]tion:--l['i]ke the w['i]nd, The r['e]d-hot bre['a]th of th['e] most l['o]ne simo['o]m, Which dw['e]lls but ['i]n the d['e]sert, ['a]nd sweeps o'['e]r The b['a]rren s['a]nds which be['a]r no shr['u]bs to bl['a]st, And r['e]vels ['o]'er their w['i]ld and ['a]rid w['a]ves, And se['e]keth n['o]t so th['a]t it ['i]s not so['u]ght, But b['e]ing m['e]t is de['a]dly: s['u]ch hath be['e]n The p['a]th of m['y] ex['i]stence.--BYRON.

s. 523. _Measures._--For every accented syllable in the following line, write the letter a, and for every unaccented one, the letter x, so that a may stand for an accent, x for the absence of one--

The w['a]y was l['o]ng, the w['i]nd was c['o]ld.--SCOTT.

or expressed symbolically

x a x a x a x a,

where x coincides with _the_, a with _way_, &c.

s. 524. Determine the length of the line in question.--It is plain that this may be done in two ways. We may either measure by the syllables, and say that the line consists of eight syllables; or by the accents, and say that it consists of four

accents. In this latter case we take the accented syllable with its corresponding unaccented one, and, grouping the two together, deal with the pair at once. Now, a group of syllables thus taken together is called a _measure_. In the line in question _the way_ (x a) is one measure, _was long_ (x a) another, and so on throughout; the line itself consisting of four measures.

s. 525. _Trisyllabic measures._--The number of measures consisting of two syllables, or dissyllabic measures, is necessarily limited to two, expressed a x and x a respectively. But beyond these there are in the English language measures of three syllables, or trisyllabic measures. The number of these is necessarily limited to three.

The first of these is exhibited in the word _m['e]rrily_ (a x x).

M['e]rrily, m['e]rrily sh['a]ll I live n['o]w, ['U]nder the bl['o]ssom that h['a]ngs on the bo['u]gh.--SHAKSPEARE.

The second is exhibited by the word _dis['a]ble_ (x a x).

But va['i]nly thou w['a]rrest, For th['i]s is al['o]ne in Thy p['o]wer to decl['a]re, That ['i]n the dim f['o]rest Thou he['a]rd'st a low mo['a]ning, And s['a]w'st a bright l['a]dy surp['a]ssingly fa['i]r.--COLERIDGE.

s. 526. The third is exhibited by the word _cavali['e]r_ (x x a).

There's a bea['u]ty for ['e]ver unf['a]dingly br['i]ght, Like the l['o]ng ruddy l['a]pse of a s['u]mmer-day's n['i]ght.--MOORE.

When grouped together according to certain rules, measures form lines and verses; and lines and verses, regularly arranged, constitute couplets, triplets, and stanzas, &c.

s. 527. The expression of measures, lines, &c., by such symbols as a x, x a, &c., is _metrical notation_.

s. 528. _Rhyme._--We can have English verse without _rhyme_. We cannot have English verse without _accent_. Hence accent is an _essential_; rhyme an _accessory_ to metre.

s. 529. _Analysis of a pair of rhyming syllables._--Let the syllables _told_ and _bold_ be taken to pieces, and let the separate parts of each be compared. Viewed in reference to metre, they consist of three parts or elements: 1. the vowel (o); 2. the part _preceding_ the vowel (t and b respectively); 3. the parts _following_ the vowel (ld). Now the vowel (o) and the parts following the vowel (ld) are alike in both words (_old_); but the part preceding the vowel is different in the different words (_told_, _bold_). This difference between the parts preceding the vowels is essential; since, if it were not for this, the two words would be identical, or rather there would be but one word altogether. This is the case with _I_ and _eye_. Sound for sound (although different in spelling) the two words are identical, and, consequently, the rhyme is faulty.


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