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his works in the order of their production, as further enquiry will, in all probability, never alter. If we take a number of passages from the known works of his 'prentice hand, the early comedies, such, for instance, as Love's Labour's Lost, The Comedy of Errors, The Two Gentle­men of Verona, and compare them with selections from the great tragedies of his matured powers, like Hamlet, Lear, and Macbeth, and again with others from The Tempest and The Winter's Tale, creations of the calm sunset of his life, a clearly marked change will be observable in the nature and rhythmic movement of the verses. In the first set the numbers flow with a smoothness approaching the monotony of rhymed heroics; extra syllables rarely occur, the tenth usually has an emphatic accent, and the pause comes regularly at the end of the line : the verses are end-stopt, as they have been appropriately called. In the other selections we shall find this regularity gradually disappearing. Light and weak endings and extra syllables occur in increasing numbers; the pauses are, for the most part, removed from the end, and find place in any part of the line, even varying; the sense as well as the sound is continuous from one line to the next; the verse is run-on, as it is called, to distinguish it from the former kind. These marked characteristics are clearly discernible in the following selections :
The more thou damm'st it up, the more it burns ; The current, that with gentle murmur glides

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