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Poetry," the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge."




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"intellect colored by the feelings."- Prof. Wilson.
"the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion."



Thoughts that voluntary move

Harmonious numbers."-Milton.

"The suggestion, by means of the imagination, of noble grounds for noble emotions."— Ruskin.

Poetry," the utterance of a passion for truth, beauty, and power, embodying and illustrating its convictions by imagination and fancy, and modulating its language on the principle of variety in uniformity."- Leigh Hunt.

Poetry," the eldest voice of time, the undying melody of the heart; poetry — the language of the spirit, the inward sense of history, of eloquence, of fiction, and of philosophy, united to the harmony of sound."-H. Giles.

A poetical line or verse consists of a certain number of accented and unaccented syllables, arranged according to fixed rules. It was originally called verse, (from the Latin verto, to turn,) because when we have finished one line, we turn back to commence the other; as,

"To suffer well is well to serve.". Whittier.

Versification is the harmonious arrangement of a certain number and variety of accented and unaccented syllables, according to particular laws.

Poetical feet are divisions of a line of poetry, each consisting of two or three syllables, regularly accented. They are called feet, because it is by their aid that the voice steps through the verse in a measured pace.

The feet of two syllables are the

Iambus (-), accented on the second syllable; as, con-tent
Trochee (-), accented on the first syllable; as, pārt-ing.
Spondee (--), with both syllables long; as, A-mēn.

Pyrrhic (~~), with both syllables short; as pĭ-lý —in hap-pily.

The feet of three syllables are the

Anapest (-), accented on the third syllable; as, non-con-cur. Dactyl (-), accented on the first syllable; as, lõve-li-ness.

Amphibrach (~~), accented on the second syllable; as, re-lūct

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Tribrach (~~~), with all short; as, | it-ă-blě | in illimitable.

Amphimacer (--), with the first and third long; as, | winding et. |

lacchus (--), with the second and third long; as, | the dūll :|

ntibacchus (--~), with the first and second long: as, | dēerstealing. |

Molossus (---), all long; as, | Stitch! stitch! stitch! |

"Trōchee | trips from | lōng to | short;

From long to long in solemn sort.

Slow Spōn dee stālks; | strōng foot! | yet ill able

Ever to come up with | Dactyl tri | syllable. |

Ĭām | bics mārch | from shōrt | to lōng |

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With a leap and ă bōund | the swift An | ăpăsts thrōng, |

Ŏne syllǎ | ble lōng, with | one shōrt ǎt | each side

Amphibrachys hastes with | ǎ stātely | stride.

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First and last | being lōng | middle shōrt | amphĭmā | cer,
Strikes his thun | dering hōofs | like a proud | high-bred Racer.'
METRICAL FEET.- Coleridge.

Rhyme is the correspondence in sound of the last accented syllable of one line of poetry, with that of the last accented syllable of another; as,

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast, Full of sad experience moving toward the stillness of his rest."


A Stanza is a combination of several verses varying in number according to the poet's fancy, and constituting a regular division of a poem or song; as,

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Are one with God, and one with them

Who see by faith the cloudy hem

Of Judgment fringed with Mercy's light." Whittier.

Blank Verse is the expression of poetical thoughts in regular numbers, but without rhyme, each verse being composed of five iambic feet; thus,


"If thōu | be ōne | whose heart | the hō | lỹ fōrms |
Ŏf young | imag | înā | tion hāve | kĕpt pūre, |
-Henceforth be warned; and know that Pride,
Howe'er disguised in its own majesty,

Is littleness; that he who feels contempt
For any living thing, hath faculties

Which he has never used; that thought with him,

Is in its infancy. The man whose eye

Is ever on himself doth look on one,

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The least of Nature's works,- one who might move
The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds
Unlawful ever. Oh! be wiser thou;

Instructed that true knowledge leads to love,

True dignity abides with him alone

Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
Can still suspect, and still revere himself,
In lowliness of heart."-Wordsworth.

Scanning is the dividing of verse into feet, in order to ascertain whether the number and arrangement of the syllables are according to the laws of versification. A line in which a syllable is wanting is said to be catalectic; one which is complete, acatalectic; one in which there is a redundant syllable, hypercatalectic, or hypermeter.

The Iambus, Trochee, Anapest, and Dactyl are the principal feet. Only of these may a poem be wholly or in great part formed. According as each may prevail in a poem, the verse is called Iambic, Trochaic, Anapæstic, or Dactylic.


A line that consists wholly of but one kind of foot is called pure;


“They al | so sērve | who ōn | ly stand | and wait | .

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Verses not consisting exclusively of one kind of foot are called mixed; as,

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"Doubt that Thy pōw | ĕr can fill the heart | that Thy pow | ĕr expands? | "- Robert Browning.

A line consisting of one foot is called Monometer; as

"Work! work! work! | - Hood.

Of two feet, Dimeter; as,

"Släcken not säil yet |

At inlet or island; |

Straight for the | beacon steer, |

Straight for the | high land. | ”—Mrs. Southey.

Of three feet, Trimeter; as,

"Bear through | sōrrow | wrōng ănd | ruth

In thy heart the | dew of | youth,

On thy lips the | smile of | truth."- Longfellow.

Of four feet, Tetrameter; as,

"Sublime signif | icance | of mõuth, |
Dilated nos tril full | of youth, |

And forehead roy | al with | the truth. | "

Of five feet, Pentameter; as,

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Mrs. Browning.

"Night reads în sĩ | lěnce hēr | ĕtēr | năl psālm, |

The gos | pel of | the dark | ness, penned | in light, |

The starred evan | gel of | infinity! |". Stoddard.

Of six feet, Hexameter; as,

"A needless Alexandrine ends the song

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That like ǎ wound | ĕd snail | drāgs īts | slow length | alōng. I'


This measure is sometimes written in two lines, the first containing four the second, two feet; thus,

"Then of what | is to bē | ănd of what | is dōne |

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Why quer fest thōu? |

The past and the time to be | are one |

And both are NOW! |

"" - Whittier.

Of seven feet, Heptameter; as,

"Ōnward | in thě | path of | dūtỹ, | mindful | only | of the right. |'

This form is usually written in two lines, the first containing four feet, the second, three; thus,

"I've heard of hearts | unkind; | kind deeds |

With coldness still | returning: |

Alas! | the grat | itude | of man |

Has oftener left | me mourning. | ' -Wordsworth.

"He pray | ĕth bēst, | who lōv | ĕth best |
All things | both great | and small; |

For the dear God | who lov | eth us, |
He made and lov | eth all. | "— Coleridge.

"So Nature keeps the rev | erent frame |
With which her years | began, |

And all her signs | and voices shame |

The prayer | less heart | of man. | "— Whittier.

Of eight feet, Octameter; as,

"Peace at last! Ŏf | peace ĕ | tērnăl | is her | cālm, sweet |

smile ǎ | tōken." — Miss Procter.

This measure is generally divided into two lines; thus,


"No path we shūn, | no dārk | ness dread, |

Our hearts still whispering, Thou | art near! |

"Our mid | night is | Thy smile | withdrāwn; |
Our noon | tide is | Thy gra | cious dawn; |
Our rainbow arch | Thy mer | cy's sign; |

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All, save the clouds | of sin, | are Thine! | "— Ibid.


Besides the Sentential and Rhetorical Pauses, before noticed, we have also the Poetical or Harmonic, which are those used to show the harmony of versification.

They are divided into three classes; viz.:

The Final Pause, a short pause often used at the end of a line of poetry to mark the rhyme; as,

"Diverse fall,

as their varied labours || the rewards to each that


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