« 上一页继续 »
unaccented syllables; and the third and sixth feet have one accented and one unaccented syllable.
“Tó and fró in a room of his símple and prímitive dwelling."
Here the first and sixth have one unaccented syllable following the accented one.
“Clád in doúblet and hóse, and boots of Córdovan léather.”
In this line only the second and fifth feet have the three syllables, while all the others have two. If we write the first three lines with a and x, as above, we shall scan them thus:
Let us read a number of lines, noting the accent.
that it falls on the syllables that would be accented in prose, but that the words are so arranged as to have this regular recurrence, which gives the language a special character.
In scanning and reading the hexameter the following points should be noticed:
1. There is almost always about the middle of a line a short pause, which gives a pleasant effect; it is called a cæsura. The line is long; this divides it. But the variation in placing the pause does away with monotony.
2. One must not mark the ends of the lines strongly unless there is a punctuation mark.
"Brown as a nut was his face, but his russet beard was already Flaked with patches of snow, as hedges sometimes in November."
I., 13, 14. Here, as often, the reader should run right on from one line to another without pause.
3. The line usually ends axx ax, and any variation occurs in the first four feet. But II. 4, and III. 61, end ax, ax—
After a while he exclaimed, as he smote with his hand, palm downwards."
"Let not him that putteth his hand to the plough look backwards."
Both of these lines move smoothly up to the cæsural pause, then descend abruptly, almost harshly. This is caused by the fifth foot having only one unaccented syllable.
4. Other lines show special but appropriate effects, e.g.:
"Sudden and loud as the sound of a soldier grounding his musket,” II. 38 (alliteration).
And at the end of the street, the village church," etc., III., 90 (light, unaccented beginning).
Me, Miles Standish, your friend! have supplanted, defrauded, betrayed me," IV. 76 (harsh but emphatic).
'Up leaped the Captain of Plymouth, and stamped on the floor," IV. 71 (abrupt).
'Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean rivers," VI. 33 (gliding).
"Strange is the heart of man," etc., V. 89, 90 (repetition and emphasis).
When one has become accustomed to the movement of the hexameter, it is not at all difficult to scan except in a few cases. The meter, however, has some inconveniences, the most important of which arise from the fact that the line must begin with an accent. Now an English sentence sometimes begins with an accent, but rather more often it does not. One will easily notice, by reading a good number of sentences, that less than half begin with an accented syllable. Hence the poet will often find a difficulty in beginning the line with a sentence, and yet he may often wish to do so. Longfellow gets around the difficulty in three ways, none good in their effect.
1. He puts an unnatural accent on the first word.
"While underneath, in a corner, were fowling-piece, musket, and matchlock," I. 10.
2. He inverts the usual word-order.
"Brown as a nut was his face,” I. 13.
Inversion is often met with in poetry, and is not displeasing. It should occur but seldom, and then to give emphasis. But when often used it ceases to be emphatic; for we become accustomed to it, and it becomes a conventionality.
3. He begins a sentence or a clause in the middle of the line, and lets it run over into the next. In itself there is no harm in this practice, but it tends to diffuseness. That is to say, the habit of running the sentence over the line to the next, tends to accustom one to ending a sentence in the middle of a line. It is then necessary to begin a new sentence, and this usually runs over into the next line, and so the temptation is to run on and on, and spin the story out.
These, however, are but slight drawbacks and will not greatly bar one's enjoyment of the poem.
§ 8. Chronological Outline of the Life of Longfellow.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was the second son of Judge Stephen Longfellow, a Federalist and Congressman (1822-24), and Miss Zilpah Wadsworth, a daughter of General Peleg Wadsworth, adjutant-general of Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War, and a descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullens, two Pilgrims who came over in the "Mayflower" in 1620.
1807. February 27. Born at Portland, Maine.
Entered Portland Academy. Fond of Irving. Published first verses in "Portland Gazette." 1821. Entered Bowdoin College. A fine student and beloved by classmates. Showed strong literary bent.
Contributed "Hymn of the Moravian Nuns" and other pieces to the "United States Literary Gazette of Boston.
1825. Graduated fourth in a class of thirty-eight, including Hawthorne. Aspired after literary fame. law in his father's office.
Elected Professor of Modern Languages in Bowdoin. Went to Europe to fit himself for the chair. Visited France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and England, and studied languages, customs, etc.
1828-33. Taught in Bowdoin with graceful dignity, inspiring his students with affection.
Published, in the "North American Review," "Outre Mer," a prose record of his European travels. Wrote linguistic and grammatical works, 1830-32. Translated Manrique's "Coplas."
1831. Married Miss Mary Storer Potter, of Portland, a lovely and highly educated woman.
1832. Read poem on education, "The Past and the Present," before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Bowdoin Commencement.
1833. Repeated the same by request at Harvard.
Elected Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures in Harvard College to succeed George Ticknor. Went to Europe to study the languages of Holland, Germany, and Sweden. November: Mrs. Longfellow died in Rotterdam: the poet's first great sorrow, commemorated in "Footsteps of Angels." 1836. December. Returned to Cambridge, with quarters in the old Craigie House, built 1756. Taught with great success in Harvard.
Published Hyperion, a Romance," a prose diary of his German travels, introducing German legends, lyrics, and life to Americans. Published "Voices of the Night," containing "The Psalm of Life," "The Reaper and the Flowers," etc.
1841. Published "Ballads and Other Poems," which contained such favorites as "The Skeleton in Armor," "The Wreck of the Hesperus,' Excelsior," "The Village Blacksmith," etc.
Went to Europe, and studied mediæval literature.
1843. Married Miss Frances Elizabeth Appleton, a beautiful and accomplished lady of Boston, whom he had met in Europe in 1835. She was the original of Mary
Ashburton in "Hyperion." They had five children. Published "The Spanish Student," a drama
to be read.
1845. Edited an anthology of "The Poets and Poetry of Europe," containing 400 verse translations from ten languages. He was assisted by Prof. C. C. Felton. Birth of his son Ernest, who became a distinguished artist. Published The Waif." December: Published "The Belfry of Bruges, and Other Poems," containing "Nuremberg," "The Day is Done," "The Arsenal at Springfield," "The Old Clock on the Stairs," etc., some of his best work.
1847. Published "Evangeline," a long poem of Acadia in hexameters, which Holmes considered his masterpiece. Published "The Estray." Attacked by Poe for plagiarism, and satirized by the "Dial" as "a dandy Pindar." A period of literary dearth,
Published "Kavanagh," an unsuccessful prose tale, praised by Hawthorne.
1850. Published Seaside and Fireside," which includes "The Building of the Ship"; Resignation," in memory of his daughter Fanny. His poems yield
a comfortable income.
1851. Published "The Golden Legend," a story from the Minnesinger Hartmann von der Aue, giving a vivid
picture of Christianity in the thirteenth century. It was the first part of the trilogy "Christus." 1854. Resigned his chair in Harvard College to devote himself exclusively to literature. Author was at his intellectual prime.
1855. Published "The Song of Hiawatha," an epic poem treating the old Indian legends: a great literary sensation.
1858. Published "The Courtship of Miles Standish," "The Ladder of St. Augustine, "The Two Angels," "Children," etc.
1861. Death of his wife, whose clothes caught fire from a candle. Begins to translate the great Italian poet Dante.
Published "Tales of a Wayside Inn," Part I.; in 1872