The ordinary verseThe ordinary line in blank verse consists of five feet of two syllables each, the second syllable in each foot being accented. “We bóth | have féd | as wéll, | and wé | can bóth
Endúre | the wínt | er's cóld | as wéll | as hé.” J. C. i. 2. 98-9. This line is too monotonous and formal for frequent use. The metre is therefore varied, sometimes (1) by changing the position of the accent, sometimes (2) by introducing trisyllabic and monosyllabic feet. These licences are, however, subject to certain laws. It would be a mistake to suppose that Shakespeare in his tragic metre introduces the trisyllabic or monosyllabic foot at random. Some sounds and collections of sounds are peculiarly adapted for monosyllabic and trisyllabic feet. It is part of the purpose of the following paragraphs to indicate the laws which regulate these licences. In many cases it is impossible to tell whether in a trisyllabic foot an unemphatic syllable is merely slurred or wholly suppressed, as for instance the first e in "different." Such a foot may be called either dissyllabic or quasi-trisyllabic.