Abstract

In the 1630s, Edmund Waller introduced a new couplet prosody (the “easy” style) that sought to accommodate the natural rhythms of speech to the iambic pentameter line. He achieved this by exploiting the phrasal character of the closed couplet. Waller’s new versification closely paralleled the phrasal movement of the French alexandrine, which may have served as a model. In addition, the “sweetness” and smoothness for which he was praised also betray an attempt to achieve Continental standards of poetic elegance. Later poets such as John Dryden would turn Waller’s “easy” versification into the heroic couplet.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 95-123
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-04
Open Access
No
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