Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1 eBook

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the usual verse pause.  Thirdly, the rhyme is not merely a regularly recurring element:  it is essentially a recurring element of which one may say what has been said falsely of the rhythm elements, that each rhyme is either a repetition of something gone before to which it refers, or the anticipation of something to which it looks forward.  In most cases, rhymes function in pairs.  Such peculiarities distinguish the rhyme from the accent of the foot.  Lastly, the freedom of the whole stanza structure into which rhyme is introduced is much greater than that of the single verse; pauses much larger than the admissible lags of a single verse are possible between the verses, and there is no tension which persists throughout.  There is no feeling of strain if the series halts at the verse ends.

A second hypothesis is that there is some definite process at the end of the verse which marks the close of the verse and which takes more time in the case of blank verse than in the case of rhymed verse.  If we conceive the end of the verse as a point where a dying out of the tension occurs, we may imagine that the rhyme brings an emphasis, and becomes a qualitative signal for this release.  The slight increase of intensity on the rhyme contributes to the breaking up of the cooerdination, and at the same time exhausts and satisfies the feeling of tension which the verse embodies.  It is at the point for finishing and releasing the set of strains which constitute the motor image of the verse.  A qualitative change may be supposed to produce the effect more rapidly than the simple dying out of the tensions, which occurs in blank verse without a differentiated end accent.

3. The Relation of the Rhyme to the Cyclic Movement of the Unit Group and of the Verse.

A series was arranged in which the accent of an ordinary foot and a rhyme occurred side by side; the distance between them was gradually lessened, and the effect on the rhyme and on the ordinary accented element was noted.

A preliminary set of experiments on the effect of two accents which approach each other gave some very interesting results.  Thus Table II. shows the effect of gradually eliminating the verse pause from the couplet.


  Dactylic, catelectic couplet of the general form: 

   III III III I / III III III I Without rhyme.

  Each dactyl (III) is, in terms of spaces between the pegs, 3 2 4;
  or in seconds, .25, .17, .33.

  The pause between the two verses was gradually lessened

  At 5 (.42 sec.) The verses are normal.
    4.5 The verses are normal, but first accent of II. is fading.
    4 The accent is less and less on first element of II.
    3.3 The accent is almost gone on first element of II.
    3 (.25 sec.) First foot of II. has quite lost accent.  There is now but

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