This book, "A treatise on versification", by Robert Wilson Evans, is a replication of a book originally published before 1852. It has been restored by human beings, page by page, so that you may enjoy it in a form as close to the original as possible.
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CHAPTER II. ON QUANTITY. 9. The clear pronunciation of every language of ordinary cultivation, requires each syllable to be uttered in a fixed time. That time may be the same for all syllables, as it is almost entirely, in the Hebrew, pronounced according to the Masoretic rule, and as is too much the case, for poetical capability, at least, in the French. But commonly it is longer for some, shorter for others. And so constant is this regulation, that any deviation from it is felt as a vicious barbarism. An Englishman, for example, is offended at hearing his language from the mouth of a Frenchman or Welshman, who seem to pronounce all syllables in the same long time, as in waterr. The proportion of long to short, though reckoned in Greek and Latin in the definite ratio of two to one, cannot, however, be constant, on account of the difference made by the presence of consonants in the syllables. Thus the word Christ is sensibly longerthan the word cry; and we find a progression of length in the words gray, grace, grac'd, and in graze, graz'd. The same thing was observed in the Greek, by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who exemplified it in the words oSoe, /ooSov, rpoiros, Irrp6Ifog. Still, however, the two classes are so distinct, that the number of words which may be ascribed indifferently to either, and are therefore termed common, is exceedingly small in any language. And, indeed, its existence at all is more often owing to poets taking advantage of an older pronunciation, than to any uncertainty about the quantity in their day. And therefore, in modern languages, since their versification depends not upon quantity, so that the revival of such old forms is uncalled for, and all left tothe practice of the day, there is no such number, except in some few words, which having chang...