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From what point-of his com'pass to beware'

Impet'uous winds."


A fine rhythm, though inferior to Milton's, marks the verse also of Thomson and Cowper. It is less perceptible in Young, who was occupied more with a pointed and epigrammatic expression than with harmony; and often in Wordsworth, much of whose verse is mere prose compressed into lines of ten syllables, scarce a trace of it exists. It is eminently characteristic of Pope's versification, and constitutes one of its most exquisite charms. Thus in his Messiah:

"Ye nymphs' of Solyma,-begin' the song!-
To heav'enly themes-subli'mer strains' belong.—
The mos'sy fountains, and the sylv'an shades,-
The dreams' of Pindus,-and th' Aon'ian maids,-
Delight' no more.-O thou' my voice' inspire-
Who touch'd' Isaiah's-hal'lowed lips' with fire!—
Rapt' into future times, the bard' begun :-
A vir'gin shall conceive,—a virʼgin bear a son—
From Jes'se's root-behold a branch' arise,—

Whose sa'cred flower-with fra'grance fills the skies;—
Th' ethe'rial spirit-o'er its leaves' shall move,—
And on its top'-descends' the mystic Dove.-
Ye heav'ens from high-the dewy nec'tar pour,-

And in soft silence-shed the kind'ly shower ;-
The sick' and weak—the healing plant' shall aid,—
From storm' a shelter,—and from heat' a shade :-
All crimes' shall cease,—and ancient frauds' shall fail ;—
Returning Jus'tice-lift aloft' her scale;—

Peace' o'er the world-her olive wand' extend,—

And white-robed In'nocence-from heaven' descend."—

Much of the subtle grace of Bryant's blank verse lies in the skill of the rhythm, the frequency of the transition from one foot to another, and at such points in the line as to produce a marked cæsura, and give at once great boldness and delicacy to the modulation:

"Yet not to thine eternal rest'ing-place

Shalt' thou return alone,-nor' couldst thou wish
Couch' more magnificent. Thou' shalt lie down'
With pa'triarchs of the in'fant world,—with kings',
The pow'erful of the earth,-the wise', the good,
Fair forms', and hoary seers' of ages past,
All' in one mighty se'pulchre.-The hills',
Rock'-ribbed' and an'cient as the sun;-the vales',
Stretching' in pensive qui'etness between ;
The ven'erable woods;-ri'vers that move
In ma'jesty, and' the complaining brooks'

That make' the mea'dows green ;-and poured' round' all'
Old o'cean's gray and me'lancholy waste-

Are' but the sol'emn dec'orations all'

Of' the great tomb' of man."


Another means of varying and heightening the melody, is the cadence in which the verse is made to terminate at a full pause. In blank verse, the pause or full stop may take place on the first or any of the following syllables of the line. Of these, the most pleasing begin with a trochee; and of those, the most graceful terminate on the third, the fifth, or the seventh syllable. As Milton's:

"Sing", heavenly muse,-that on the se'cret top-
Of O'reb or of Si'nai-didst inspire'-

That shepherd who-first taught' the chosen seed-
In' the begin'ning-how' the heaven and earth-
Rose" out of cha'os."

There is a similar cadence in the following passages:

"Whom he drew'

God's al'tar to disparage-and displace'-
For one' of Syrian make,—whereon to burn'—
His o'dious offerings-and adore the gods'-
Whom' he had van'quished."

"Advise if this be worth'

Attemp'ting, or to sit in dark'ness here

Hatch'ing vain em'pires."

Many of Milton's cadences commencing with a trochee, and terminating on the fourth syllable, are fine:

"The tow'ers of heaven are filled'—

With arm'ed watch,—that render all access'-
Impreg'nable. Oft' on the bordering deep'—
Encamp' their legions;—or, with ob'scure wing,-
Scout' far and wide-in'to the realm' of night,—
Scorn'ing surprise."

"Thrones' and imperial powers,-off'spring of heaven,— Ethe'rial virtues ;-or those ti'tles now

Must' we renounce, and, chang'ing style, be calledPrin'ces of hell."

Those commencing with a trochee, and terminating on the sixth syllable, have a similar charm:

"Intermit' no watch

Against' a wakeful foe;-while' I abroad,

Through' all the coasts-of dark' destruc'tion seek-
Deliverance for us all. This en'terprize-

None' shall partake with me.

"As' when heav'en's fire

Hath sca'thed the forest oaks-or moun'tain pines

With sing'ed top,-their stately growth, though bare',Stands' on the blast'ed heath."

Those opening with a trochee, and closing on the seventh syllable, have still greater beauty:

"For this infer'nal pit-shall never hold— Celes'tial spir'its in bondage,―nor' the abyss— Long' under dark'ness cover."

"He' above' the rest,

In shape' and gesture-proudly emʼinent,—
Stood' like a tower ;-his form' had not yet lost'-
All' her orig'inal brightness."

"Mil'lions of spiri'tual creatures-walk' the earth—
Unseen,' both when we wake' and when we sleep';-
All these' with cease 'less praise-his works' behold—
Both day and night.-How often' from the steep'-
And echo'ing hill—or thick'et have we heard'-
Celes'tial voices-to the mid'night air,'-

Sole', or respon'sive,—each' to other's note’—

Sing'ing their great' Creator!"

There is a beautiful example of this cadence in

the passage from Homer:

"So' was the coun'cil sha'ken."

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