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LENGTHENING OF WORDS. Trimeter couplet apparent

Apparent trimeter couplets. Some apparent trimeter couplets are really ordinary dramatic lines.

For example, in the last line but two of 501 (M. for M. v. i. 51), "impóssible" may easily be one foot with two superfluous syllables. It is often a matter of taste which way to scan a line, but it must be borne in mind, that the trimeter couplet is rarely used to express intense emotion. Hence in an impassioned address like that of Henry V. at Harfleur, we should probably read “Defý us | to our wórst: | for ás | I ám | a sóldier,” Hen. V. iii. 3. 5. or, better (479), "for as 'I'm | a sól | diér."

So “And wél | come, Sómerset; | I hóld | it ców | ardíce.” 2 Hen. VI. iv. 2. 7. Or, less probably, "Sómersét" may have two accents and "cówardice" (470) one. “As chíl | dren fróm | a béar, | the Vóls | ces shúnning him.” Coriol. i. 3. 34. “So tédiously | awáy. | The póor | condém | ned E'nglish.” Hen. V. iv. Prol. 221; but ib. 28 is a trimeter couplet. “And húgg'd me | in his árm | and kínd | ly kíss'd | my
chéek.” Rich. III. ii. 2. 24. “Than thát | míx'd in | his chéek. | 'Twas júst | the díff(e)rence.” A. Y. L. iii. 5. 122. “He is ('s) my bróth | er tóo. | But fítt | er tíme | for thát.” M. for M. v. 1. 498. “And nót | the pún(i)sh | ment; thérefore, | indéed | my
fáther.” M. for M. i. 3. 39.

The following are doubtful, but probably ordinary lines: “I knów him | as mysélf, | fór from | our ín | fancý.T. G. of V. ii. 3. 62. Or "ínfancy" may have only one accent (467). “Máy a | free fáce, | put ón, | deríve | a líberty.W. T. i. 2. 112. "Either" may be a monosyllable (see 466) in “Your sénse | pursúes | not míne: | either yóu | are ígnorant.M. for M. ii. 4. 74. “For ín | equál(i)ty: | but lét | your réa | son sérve.” Ib. v. 1. 65.

In “Alexas did revolt; and went to Jewry on
Affairs of Antony,” A. and C. iv. 6. 12. "on" may be transposed to the second line; or, considering the licence attending the use of names and the constant dropping of prefixes, we might perhaps read "Aléxas | did (re)vólt | ."

In “Cálls her | a nón | paréil; | I né | ver sáw | a wóman,” Temp. iii. 2. 108. though it is against Shakespearian usage to pronounce "non-pareil" a dissyllable, as in Dorsetshire, "a núnprel apple," yet Caliban here may be allowed to use this form. I believe "nonp'rel type" is still a common expression.

Sometimes an exclamation, as "O," gives the appearance of a trimeter couplet: “Fór the | best hópe | I háve. | (O,) do not wísh | one
móre.” Hen. V. iv. 3. 33.

See also 498 ad fin.

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