Sunday, April 25, 2010


When iambs in pentameters combine,
They shape our most enduring, supple line,
Which Chaucer deftly used and Marlowe, too,
As mightily as Shakespeare came to do
With more variety in pace and rhyme,
Till Milton made them new for his own time
Exchanging tinkling rhymes for organ tones
In cadences that resonate our bones.
With Pope and Swift terse couplets bound the verses,
Well wrought for arguments or prayers or curses.
Then Wordsworth took them out for country walks
For rambling meditations upon hawks
And handsaws or gay daffodils wind tossed—
Which led at last to darker things in Frost.