Note by A Milnes to Pope's Works a chapter of The Life Of Pope

Johnson does not deny that these beauties are sometimes real, an opinion in which Pope has the support of Addison. See Spectator, No. 253. It is a question which depends largely on the delicacy and training of the ear. If Pope's meaning was that lines could be written, in reading which the ear would urge the voice to more rapid articulation, he stated an ascertainable fact, which no amount of counting of syllables will explain away. Instances could be multiplied without end, but perhaps few would be better than Tennyson's lines in Elaine: —

'Then Sir Lavaine did well and worshipfully;
He bore a knight of old repute to the earth,
And brought his horse to Lancelot where he lay.'

To read the second of these lines slowly would be to make it horribly harsh. The ear compels the voice to assume something of the rush and hurry of that desperate charge ; for life, nay more, for Lancelot.

« LAST» Note «NEXT»