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ELEMENTS OF VERSE.
*5
holy\ or unaccented, as, consent; others are short, either accented, as, refer, or unaccented, as, habit.
There are some who will think these observations on quantity might have been spared, because they maintain that quantity has no concern whatever with English versification, but that it depends en­tirely upon accent. Rather et it be said that quantity cannot be altogether neglected without manifest and great injury to the verse. But if the question be put, whether verse cannot be composed without any regard to the quantity of syllables so that the accents be set in their due places, it is to be acknowledged that it may. Still the verse would have juster measure, would sound better to the ear, and be much nearer to perfect, if the accented syllables were long and others short; so that the quantity and accent should coincide. Let us make this still clearer by an example—
The busy world and what you see, It is a silly vanity.
Of this couplet the first line has its accents regu­lar in place and number, together with three long syllables. The second line is accented regularly as to place, but it contains only two accented syllables, and not one long. It cannot be denied that these verses are in true and exact measure ; and, if accent alone be requisite, they are in nothing defective. But now let them be altered, so as to observe quantity as well as accent, in this manner—






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