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Rhymes and Meters A Practical Manual for Versifiers   By: (1882-1972)

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First Page:

RHYMES AND METERS

A PRACTICAL MANUAL FOR VERSIFIERS

BY HORATIO WINSLOW

THE EDITOR PUBLISHING COMPANY Deposit, N. Y. 1909

COPYRIGHT, 1906, BY THE EDITOR PUBLISHING COMPANY

THE OUTING PRESS DEPOSIT, N. Y.

PREFACE

Throughout the following pages "verse" stands for any kind of metrical composition as distinguished from prose. It is not used as a synonym for "poetry." Though most poetry is in verse form, most verse is not poetry. The ability to write verse can be acquired; only a poet can write poetry. At the same time, even a poet must learn to handle his verse with some degree of skill or his work is apt to fall very flat, and the mere verse writer who cannot rhyme correctly and fit his lines together in meter had much better stick to prose.

This book has been compiled with one end in view: to arrange in a convenient and inexpensive form the fundamentals of verse enough for the student who takes up verse as a literary exercise or for the older verse writer who has fallen into a rut or who is a bit shaky on theory. It is even hoped that there may be a word of help for some embryo poet.

In construction the plan has been to suggest rather than to explain in detail and as far as possible to help the reader to help himself. No verse has been quoted except where the illustration of a point made it necessary. With the increasing number of libraries it ought to be an easy matter for any one to refer to most of the lesser verse writers as well as all the standard poets.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I VERSE MAKING IN GENERAL 9

CHAPTER II METER 17

CHAPTER III RHYME 25

CHAPTER IV STANZA FORMS 31

CHAPTER V SUBTLETIES OF VERSIFICATION 37

CHAPTER VI THE QUATRAIN AND SONNET 45

CHAPTER VII THE BALLADE AND OTHER FRENCH FORMS 53

CHAPTER VIII THE SONG 67

CHAPTER IX TYPES OF MODERN VERSE 75

CHAPTER X VERSE TRANSLATION 85

CHAPTER XI ABOUT READING 93

CHAPTER XII HINTS FOR BEGINNERS 101

APPENDIX (a) THE VERSE MARKET 111

(b) SUGGESTIONS FOR READING 114

I

VERSE MAKING IN GENERAL

CHAPTER I

VERSE MAKING IN GENERAL

It is scarcely necessary to write a defense of verse making. As a literary exercise it has been recommended and practiced by every well known English writer and as a literary asset it has been of practical value at one time or another to most of the authors of to day. Indirectly it helps one's prose and is an essential to the understanding of the greatest literature.

The fact that courses in "Poetics" have been established at all the large universities shows the interest which verse making has aroused in America. In England the ability to write metrical verse has long been considered one of the component parts of the education of a university man.

Looked at from the purely practical side, even though not a single line be sold, verse making has its value. It strengthens the vocabulary; teaches niceness in the choice of words; invigorates the imagination and disciplines the mind far more than a dozen times the amount of prose.

But, though careful verse is much more difficult to write than careful prose, slipshod verse is not worth the ink that shapes it. In taking up verse writing the student must solemnly resolve on one thing: to consider no composition complete until it proves up until the rhymes and meter are perfect. This "perfection" is not as unattainable as it sounds, for the laws of rhyme and meter are as fixed as the laws of the Medes and the Persians. Any one may not be able to write artistic verse, but any one can write true verse, and the only way to make a course in verse writing count is to live up to all the rules; to banish all ideas of "poetic license"; to write and rewrite till the composition is as near perfect as lies in one, and finally to lay aside and rewrite again... Continue reading book >>




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