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Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong; And the most ancient heavens through thee are fresh and strong.
The unit of measurement in verse is a foot and not a syllable. A foot is a group of two or three syllables, hence the division into Dissyllabic and Trisyllabic verse. The names given to the different kinds of feet in English poetry are usually those of the classic metres, and the method of marking the accented and unaccented syllables is from the same source. Many writers have objected to this system of nomenclature as liable to mislead, and have invented other fanciful names in their stead, but none of these have met with general ac­ceptation. Throughout this treatise, therefore, we shall adhere to the old lines in this respect, with every confidence that no confusion can arise, since the distinction between accent and quantity has been clearly pointed out; thus the usual marks for long and short must be taken to indicate
accented and unaccented syllables.
(a). Dissyllabic
There are two kinds of Dissyllabic feet of which verse is constructed, viz.: as despair,
and In addition to these
there are two other kinds in frequent use intermixed with the above, but of which it is impossible to con­structverses entirely: viz. , and