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parts of a line; and now and then spondees also, though less frequently; and the use of those feet, particularly the trochee, is the means of producing the most delightful changes in the rhythm, and giving sprightliness and elegance to the movement. Thus in the passage immediately following that quoted from Milton, trochees are used in the third, fourth, and fifth lines, that vary the movement, and give it a life and rapidity far greater than a mere series of iambics would possess.
"Or if Sion hill
Dělight thĕe mōre, and Siloa's brook that flowed
Invoke thy aid to my ădventurðus sống,
Here the prolonged or heavy accent of fast, that, and things, at the beginning of the third, fifth, and seventh lines, and of while at the commencement of the last half of the sixth, by reversing the movement the verse would otherwise have, breaks the monotony, and gives a vivacity and charm to the modulation like that produced in music by passing from a long to a short note, and from a short to a long
one, or the elevation or descent of the voice from one tone to another.
This effect of the trochee at the commencement of a line is exemplified in the following passage:
"Thus Sātăn tālking to his nearěst māte,
By ancient Tarsus hēld, or thāt sea-beast
Mōors by his side under thě lẽe, while night
Heap on himself dămnation, while he sought
If the trochees with which nine of these lines commence were exchanged for iambics, the modulation from its uniformity would be comparatively tame, like a succession of bars in music in a monotone. By introducing them with trochees, an effect is produced analogous to a change in a tune to a quicker movement, or to a variation of positions and attitudes in a dance.
Another important element in the rhythm of verse is the cæsura or pause, at or near the centre of the line, dividing it into two parts, that, though not always equal in syllables, are to be pronounced as near as may be in equal times. This pause, which is followed by another of equal length at the end of the line, gives a perpetual swell and subsidence, as it were, to the pronunciation, like the vibrations of a pendulum; and varied as a portion of the lines are by trochees and spondees, invests it, to a tuneful ear, with the charm of a delicate musical movement. In the pronunciation, the
principal emphasis is thrown generally on a single syllable, sometimes on two in each branch of the line; in the first generally on the second syllable, in the second also occasionally on the second, usually on the last, and sometimes both on the last and next but one to the last. Thus in Milton's lines:
"About them frisking play'ed
All beasts' of the earth, since wild', and of all chase'
Sport'ing the lion romp'd', and in his paw'
Gam'boll'd before them; the unwieldy el'ephant,
To make them mirth, used' all his might, and wreath'd'
PARADISE LOST, b. iv.
Though the other long syllables are prolonged or accented beyond the short ones, a so much stronger emphasis is thrown upon these, that the others are made in a measure subordinate to them, and a pulsation given to the movement that answers to the regular step in a stately march, or the measured breathings in a musical air.
This bold and vigorous rhythm is characteristic of Milton's verse, and is one of the elements of the peculiar sweetness and majesty that distinguish it from others. Nearly all his lines consist of two groups of words, expressing different thoughts, or treating of different things, that admit naturally of a division by a pause. Thus:
"Meanwhile', in utmost lon'gitude,—where heav'en-
Th' un'armed youth' of heaven,-but nigh' at hand-