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ELEMENTS OF VERSE.
21
of several. Like its elements, it is rough, smooth, harsh, easy, or difficult in utterance. But there are other qualities of syllables which claim our special attention and demand clear elucidation, inasmuch as they constitute the very essence of verse ; these are accent and quantity.
(a). Accent.
is a certain stress of the voice upon a syllable in pronouncing it. Every word of more than one syllable has an accent invariably attached to one of its syllables which is called the tonic accent, and no word, however long, has more than one accent, e.g. deplore, terrible, elementary. Monosyllables are accented or not according to their grammatical importance ; thus all nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are accented, while the articles, preposi­tions, pronouns (when not emphatic), and particles are unaccented. We shall see as we proceed that the exigencies of metre require that metrical accents be attached to syllables in verse in addition to the tonic accent, and that the stress occasionally varies in degree, e.g. :
The precise nature of accent has given rise to diversity of opinion; some maintaining that it is an alteration in the pitch of the voice, others an increase in loudness of tone; we will content ourselves, how­ever, with regarding it as stress merely, as is now generally accepted






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III