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Making such difference betwixt wake and sleep, As is the difference betwixt day and night, The hour before the heavenly-harne6s'd team Begins his golden progress in the east.
The most obvious character of these lines is their monotonous flow, which, if they had been upon a different subject, would have been a fault; but in this case it was designed. They were framed to run evenly and uniformly along; that being the most proper movement to accompany and express their meaning, which is an invitation to rest and sleep. The author, to attain his purpose, has separated all the lines, except the eighth, by a stop at the end of each. This alone was enough to produce monotony ; but beside this, the single pause which he has admitted into every line is generally in, or near, the middle of it: then, the feet are all such as contribute to smooth versification. There is not one foot of two accented syllables ; on the contrary, some are unaccented ; but by far the greatest number are regular; i.e. accented on the second syllable. By these means the verses have the expression which Shakspere undoubtedly designed to give them.
In Dryden's tragedy of Edipus there is a verse which we look upon as expressing very happily the sense by the measure: but whether so or not, the verse is eminently beautiful. The speaker announces the death of a person whose days had run on to a great length,
Till, like a clock, worn out with eating time, The wheels of weary life at last stood still.