Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/89

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THE POWER OF SELF-CRITICISM

Yet George Meredith made use of a sixteen-line form of verse in his Modern Love, which is often loosely spoken of as a sonnet sequence—and he was justified in doing so because he knew exactly why he did it. The poem is not merely a series of separate and complete thoughts, connected by a single thread, like pearls strung on the same string, after the fashion of Shakespeare's sonnets, or the Sonnets from the Portuguese. They form a continuous piece of narrative, and for that reason the extra two lines help the forward movement, where the formal sestet of the sonnet would have continually broken in with a misplaced sense of finality. Many a rule of rhetoric and prosody and technique may be broken—provided always that you have a reason that justifies you. The early stories of Kipling fairly bristled with strange phrases, words forced into new partnerships, and what Mr. Gosse has

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