Графични страници
PDF файл

dinavia had the name of Skalds, in the same manner as our versifiers have been termed Rhymesters: the latter, however, is, with us, become a degraded appellation, because a poet is supposed to have higher qualifications than the petty talent of tagging Rhymes. In modern usage Rhyme is the similitude of sounds, recurring at certain intervals, as distinguished from the Rhythm, or relation of the feet. The arrangement of the Rhythm is the metre, or measure of the verse.

The Rhymes (ring, or clink, of syllables) now mark the termination of the verse; but, in former times, they followed so rapidly that two or three Rhymes were often written in the same line. The following by Snorro Sturlson, an Icelandic poet of the 13th century, has an excess of jingle:

“ Ræsir glæsir

Rökkva dökva
Huitom ritom
Hreina reina
Skreytir breytir
Hrafnå stafna
Hringa stinga
Hiörtum svörtum

In English-" The king richly clothes his rustic warriors. Our bounteous prince adorns them, neat and expert, with bright armour, to


provide transfixed heaps of black hearts for the ravens.”

These Liliputian Lyrics seem sufficiently ridiculous; but, on examination, we shall find that this extra-rhyming propensity was among our forefathers. Harum-scarum; Helterskelter; Higgledy-piggledy; Hocus-pocus; Pellmell, and other clinking compounds have found their way into the Dictionaries.

In a legitimate English rhyme, the two corresponding syllables must begin their consonance with the accented vowel and preserve it through the remaining letters. Thus, text and vext, song and long, echo one another, respectively, in the sounds ext and ong. They are the sounds and not the letters which require to be similar; for reign and plain, though different to the eye, form an unobjectionable rhyme. The letter or letters, in the syllable, which precede the accented vowel must not be the same in each, otherwise the consonance would be disagreeable to an English

Hence tend and the last syllable of contend make a bad rhyme. The practice of the French poets is otherwise; and, provided the meaning of the syllables be different, the initial consonants may not only be the same, but their being so is accounted a beauty. Our older poets differ from the modern, on this subject, allowing them


selves the same latitude as the French. Thus Chaucer:

And specially fro euery shyres ende
Of Englonde to Canterbury they wende
The holy blisful martir for to seke
That hem hath holpen, when they were seke.


Here in this tale, as thei should stande
My wit is short, ye maie well understande.

This admission of complete consonances (les Rimes riches, as the French term them) formed a characteristic feature in English rhyme until the beginning of the seventeenth century. They are numerous in Spenser; and Daniel appears to have collected them with great care, as ornaments to his verse: for such rhymes as deed and indeed, charge and discharge, light and delight, are to be found in every page of his works. The practice, however, had not then heen universal, for Drayton, who was Daniel's contemporary, has wholly excluded it from his multitude of verses. Milton makes a rhyme of knot and not; but probably the k, in the former word, was pronounced in his time, as it still is in Scotland. This articulation of kn would be sufficiently distinct from that of the simple n, to authorize the rhyme under our present laws: for such consonances as slight and light, train and rain, are considered as legitimate. We must take care, however, that one at least of the two echoing syllables shall always be preceded by an articulated consonant; and, hence hour and our, as well as ore and oar, is inadmissible. Hopkins and Sternhold have left us some curious specimens of those now discarded Rhymes, as the following, from the “Lamentation of a Sinner":

Whose bloody wounds are yet to see,

Though not with mortal eye:
Yet do thy saints behold them all,

And so I trust shall I.

When an English verse terminates with a Trochee, that to which it chimes must also be a Trochee, and the consonance is termed a Double Rhyme, as, faīrest and rārést, mõrnăng and adorning. Such may be constructed by accent only, without the antepenult syllable's being necessarily long: as in, bět'těr and lět'těr, džp'pžng and trip'ping, which are merely accented Pyrrhics. It is necessary that the two pairs of syllables should rhyme throughout; the first, on which the accent falls, obeying the same laws as in the case of single Rhymes. The French have rested their versification almost wholly upon those single and double Rhymes to which they have given the names of masculine and feminine. The latter are all formed by means of the e mute; and, in their Heroic Verse, the feminine couplets alternate with the masculine, or Rhymes of a single syllable. With us, the introduction of a double Rhyme is voluntary, and, consequently, irregular; but in every case, both in French and English, it adds a syllable to the general tenor of the verse. The following, for example, is that of ten syllables:

Oh grief, beyond all other griefs, when fat
First leaves the young heart lone and desolate
In the wide world, without that only tie
For which it lov'd to live, or fear'd to die;-
Lom as the hung-up lute, that ne'er hath spoken
Since the sad day its master-chord was broken.

Triple Rhymes are formed by the consonance of Dactyls, - one long, or accented, syllable, followed by two short, or unaccented. Such are, wānděrěr and slānděrěr, lăt'tēržng and pit'těržng ; the initials of the first syllables being formed in the same manner as directed in single Rhymes. These triple Rhymes are chiefly used in ludicrous compositions, the apparent labour of finding them being scarcely compatible with a serious subject. Unexpected consonances, by producing

« ПредишнаНапред »