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Verses with four accents assigned to witches, fairies, &c.  

The verse with four accents is rarely used by Shakespeare, except when witches or other extraordinary beings are introduced as speaking. Then he often uses a verse of four accents with rhyme. “Dóuble, | dóuble, | tóil and | trouble,
Fíre | búrn and | cáuldron | búbble.” Macbeth, iv. 1. 20.

The iambic metre in such lines is often interchanged with the trochaic:

Iambic1 “He whó | the swórd | of héav'n | will béar
Should bé | as hó | ly ás | sevére:
Páttern | ín him | sélf to | knów,
Gráce to | stánd and | vírtue | gó.” M. for M. iii. 2. 274-8.
Trochaic

(The last line means "he ought to have grace for the purpose of standing upright, and virtue [for the purpose of] walking in the straight path." "Go" is often used for "walk." "To" is omitted before "go.")

Sometimes in the same couplet we find one line iambic and the other trochaic: “And hére | the mái | den sléep | ing sóund
O'n the | dánk and | dírty | gróund.” M. N. D. ii. 2. 74-5.

It would be, perhaps, more correct to say that both lines are trochaic, but in one there is an extra syllable at the beginning, as well as at the end. So apparently “Thís is | hé my | máster | sáid,
(De)spísed | thé A | thénian | máid.” M. N. D. 72-3: but the prefix "de-" might (460) be dropped.

So “(De)spísed | ín na | tív | i | tý
Shall úp | ón their | chíldren | bé.” Ib. v. i. 420.

There is difficulty in scanning “Prétty | sóul, she | dúrst not | líe
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.” Ib. 76-7.

It is of course possible that "kill-curt'sy" may have the accent on the first: but thus we shall have to accent the first "this" and "love" with undue emphasis. It is also more in Shakespeare's manner to give "courtesy" its three syllables at the end of a line. I therefore scan

(Near this) láck-love, | thís kill | cóurte | sý.

Perhaps, however, as in Macbeth, iii. 5. 34, 35, and? 21, a verse of five accents is purposely introduced.

1 The words "iambic" and "trochaic" here and elsewhere refer to accent, not quantity.

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