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Volume 43, 1910
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The brackets now absolutely couple all the at is taken in a breath. If it be held that two breaths are required, where are the verses to be broken? if the couplets be broken, the rule observed in Scott does not hold here; if the couplets be taken together, the short line is absurdly isolated; but if each group be taken in a breath, a smooth, agreeable stanza results. The same holds with the triplets of No. (38). The reader should perhaps be reminded that the question at issue is not how poetry should be read aloud, but what constitutes, the verse-unit. And the verse-unit is practically synonymous with the breath-unit, the average length of verse read on one breath.

12. The half-Dowsabel stanza quoted from “Sir Cauline” may be still further extended by the addition of an extra unit to the first, third, and fourth lines :—

(39.) To-night this sunset spreads two golden wings
Cleaving the western sky;
Winged too with wind it is and winnowings
Of birds; as if the day's last hour in rings
Of strenuous flight must die.

(D. G. Rossetti, “Sunset Wings.”)

A complete change of metre has, however, taken place. Lines containing five stresses are blended with lines of three stresses (or four stress-units);

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two different types are brought together. The extreme rarity of this blending is sufficient indication that the two are practically different species, and the blending is therefore unnatural. The five-stressed lines are Heroic, and the Heroic is foreign to the Ballad (see Section IV of this chapter). A quite different result is brought about if a unit be dropped from the five-stressed lines of Rossetti's stanza :—

(39a.) This sunset spreads two golden wings
Cleaving the western sky;
Winged too with wind and winnowings
Of birds; as if the day in rings
Of strenuous flight must die.

The metre is sensibly altered; it has been metamorphosed to the singing Ballad, or Lyric, from the declamatory Heroic.