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130
ORTHOMETRY.
The same licences which are given to the heroic line are allowed to the other species of iambic measure; and, by observing upon what ground they stand, it will be seen how many of them may be taken in each species.
From the account of the numerous licences which are permitted by substituting some other foot for that which is fundamental to this measure, the iambic, it will appear what a variety the English heroic verse is capable of exhibiting: much greater than the Latin or Greek hexameter can produce, whatever has been advanced to the con­trary. This is a point that does not rest upon opinion, it is a matter of computation; neither is the variety such as is allowable only, and not in usage ; it is to be seen in all our poems of that measure; and it will not be foreign to our subject to establish these facts by evidence and proof.
The measures which enter into the composition of an hexameter are the dactyl and spondee, and no other; and the last foot of the verse being in­variably a spondee, there remains a line of five feet to receive all the varieties that can be made by two different measures. Now the first foot admits of two, and the second of the same number; which, combined with the first, is four; the third of twice four, viz. eight; the fourth of twice eight, viz. six­teen ; the fifth of twice sixteen, viz. thirty-two. And this was precisely the number of varieties which the ancient grammarians recognised in the hexa­meter. But the English heroic verse admits of four different feet; and according to the same rate of






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