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strong stress by placing a syllable with a very slight natural accent in a normally stressed place.

Put' the wild' wa'ters in this roar', allay' them (i. 2. 2).1
And him' he play'd' it for`, he needs' will be' (i. 2. 108).

This variation is very common, but it is exercised under the following limits:

(1) The weak stress is commonest in the fifth foot, e.g.

Thy mo'ther was' a piece' of vir'tue, and` (i. 2. 56).

(2) There are never more than two weak stresses in a line. (3) The two weak stresses rarely come together.

(4) The loss of weight (except in the fifth foot) is generally made up: either the other syllable has also a slight stress, or one of the neighboring feet has two stresses, e.g. in the line quoted above.

Put' the wild' wa'ters in' this roar', allay' them.

(b) Stress inversion. The alternate order of stress and nonstress may be within limits inverted, thus changing the rhythm, for that foot, from rising to falling. As this causes two stresses to come together, and as these can only be pronounced in succession when a slight pause intervenes, this inversion commonly coincides with a pause in the sense. Hence

(1) It is commonest in the first, and, after that, in the third and fourth feet, e.g.

Like' a good' par' | ent, did' | beget' | of him' (i. 2. 94).

Lie there', | my art'. | Wipe' thou | thine eyes' ; | have com'fort (i. 2. 25). Bore' us some leagues' | to sea'; | where' they | prepared' (i. 2. 145).

(2) It is unusual in the second foot, e.g.

Farewell', bro'ther! - | We split', | we split', | we split'! (i. 1. 66).

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(3) It is very rare in the fifth foot.

Of Syc | or′ ax, | toads', bee' | tles, bats' | light' on | you ! (i. 2. 340).

1 A strongly stressed syllable is marked (') e.g. wa'ters; a lightly stressed syllable is marked (') e.g. in`.

(4) There are never more than two inversions in a line, and we rarely find two inversions together, and never three.

Instead of a change from rising to falling rhythm, we often get a spondaic rhythm, through the two syllables of the foot having an approximately equal stress.

The fresh' springs', brine' | -pits', bar' | ren place' | and fer' | tile (i. 2. 338).

(c) Omission of syllables. An unstressed syllable is sometimes omitted. This happens especially after a marked pause, thus either in the first foot, or after an emphatic monosyllable, often an imperative:

Good' my lord', | give' me | thy fav' | our still' (iv. 1. 203). Mir. O', good sir', | I do'. |


I pray' thee, mark' | me (i. 2. 88).

(d) Extra syllables. An additional unstressed syllable may be inserted anywhere in a line. It is commonest immediately before a pause, and so is most frequently found at the end of a line. These feminine endings, as they are sometimes called, were increasingly used by Shakespeare throughout his career, and they are most frequent in The Tempest, where they amount to 35 per cent. In the hands of Fletcher this species of verse "tended to exclude the simpler type altogether." The first complete blank verse line in The Tempest is in this form,

The king' and prince' | at pray' | ers! let's' | assist' | them (i. 1. 56).

and numerous instances may be found on every page.

Within the line the extra syllable usually comes after the cœsura, e.g.

Obey' and be' | atten' | tive. Canst thou' | remem' | ber (i. 2. 38).

Occasionally there are two extra syllables, but, as a rule, in lines which have this appearance, the last syllable but one is almost entirely slurred, e.g.

Was duke dom large | enough: | of temporal roy | alties (i. 2. 110).

Many of the lines ending with proper names, e.g. Ferdinand, Prospero, Antonio, seem to have two extra syllables, but in these cases the penultimate syllable is slurred.

(e) Rhyme. Apart from the Masque, the songs, and the Epilogue, rhyme is not found in The Tempest, except in the couplet with which Ariel closes Act ii, sc. 1.


(a) Omission of stresses. Occasionally one of the five stresses, sometimes a whole foot, is omitted in consequence of a pause, e.g. This my mean task (iii. 1. 4).

Point to rich ends. | ~ Here the time that would be taken by the pronunciation of the omitted foot is filled up by some action of Ferdinand, such as lifting a log.

So also in the following passage (ii. 1. 232-235):

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The setting of thine eye and cheek proclaim
A matter from thee, and a birth indeed
Which throes thee much to yield. |



~ | Thus, sir |

Here the foot omitted in 1. 235 is supplied by a pause caused by Antonio's momentary hesitation before unfolding his plan.

These lines, which are irregular specimens of the ordinary iambic, are to be carefully distinguished from the short lines of from one to four feet, which are interspersed among the five-foot verses.

(1) Occasionally in the later plays they are "imbedded” in the midst of an otherwise normal passage, e.g.


Thou dost, and think'st it much to tread the ooze

Of the salt deep,

To run upon the sharp wind of the north (i. 2. 252–254);

And are upon the Mediterranean flote,

Bound sadly home for Naples,

Supposing that they saw the king's ship wreck'd (i. 2. 234–236).

(2) Frequently they are used, especially at the end of a speech, to give emphasis to declarations:


And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book (v. 1. 56–57);

quickly, spirit;

Thou shalt ere long be free (v. 1. 86–87).

(3) They are used for exclamatory purposes.

Thus we have exclamations: "All lost! to prayers, to prayers! all lost!" (i. 1. 53–54); “Marvellous sweet music!" (iii. 3. 19). Addresses. "Ay, sir" (i. 2. 268).


Orders. 'Approach, my Ariel, come” (i. 2. 188); “Come, thou tortoise! when?” (i. 2. 316); “No tongue! all eyes! be silent" (iv. 1. 59).

(4) They occur frequently through some interruption of the dialogue. Thus a line may be left incomplete because the following speaker has not heard it, e.g.


Preserve the king.

Now, good angels

[They wake.

Alon. Why, how now? ho, awake! Why are you drawn?

(ii. 1. 306-308); or converses with a different person than the first speaker, e.g.

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Gon. All torment, trouble, wonder and amazement

or interrupts the first speaker:

(v. 1. 102-104);

Seb. But, for your conscience?

Ant. Ay, sir; where lies that? if 't were a kibe (ii. 1. 275–276).

(b) Extra stresses. Conversely there are lines with six stresses. These in The Tempest have generally a pause after the third foot, and are divided between two speakers, e.g.

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In addition to the real variations from the normal type of blank verse there are a number of apparent variations, due to differences of pronunciation between modern and Elizabethan English. These may be divided into Accentual and Syllabic.

(a) Accentual Variations. There has been little change of ac

centuation in simple words, but in many compounds and derivatives the accent in E. E. could be shifted from one syllable to another.

(1) Germanic Words. Here "the fluctuations arose from the compound or derivative being felt, now as a single word (with accent usually on the first syllable), now as a group of words, with accent on the most important, which was usually not the first."


Thus we have such varying stresses as mid'night (i. 2. 228), and midnight' (i. 2. 128). So in pronominal, adverbial, and prepositional compounds without' (v. 1. 271), with'out (v. 1. 179); in'to (iii. 1. 41), into' (i. 2. 191); where'fore (iii. 1. 76), wherefore' (ii. 1. 309). In the case of derivatives, e.g. verbs, the stress is generally on the root-word, not the prefix: outdare', forgive', believe'; but be'lieve (iii. 3. 24), be'come (v. 1. 19).

(2) Romance Words. In the M. E. period there was a struggle between the Romance and the English system of accentuation, ending in the triumph of the latter, which threw the accent on the first syllable. But in Mod. E. the influence of Latin has often restored the original accent. Shakespeare's tendency is to accent the first syllable, but his practice is far from uniform. Thus we find: u'tensils (iii. 2. 104); conʼtract (iv. 1. 84), but contract' (ii. 1. 151); supportable (v. 1. 145), but imporʼtune (ii. 1. 128) and oppor'tune (iv. 1. 26).

(b) Syllabic Variations. There are three principal cases of syllabic variations: (1) vowel + consonant, (2) vowel + vowellike (i.e. l, m, n, r), (3) vowel + vowel.

(1) Vowel and Consonant. A vowel may be lost before a con


a. At the beginning of a word.

This especially affected prefixes: 'bout for about (i. 2. 220); 'gins for begins (iii. 3. 106). In v. 1. 7: "How fares the king | and 's followers? (Con)fined | together," the prefix in confined, though written, seems scarcely intended to be pronounced.

The initial vowel is also very commonly lost in unemphatic monosyllables, especially it, e.g. 't is (i. 2. 185), be 't (i. 2. 190). b. At the end of a word.

This belongs chiefly to Shakespeare's later plays, and is especially found in the:

Go make thyself like a nymph o' th' sea (i. 2. 301).
But that the sea, mounting to th' welkin's cheek (i. 2. 4).

c. Within a word.

The unaccented e of the verb and noun inflexions was in the

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