INTRODUCTION xciii ���is in the heroic couplet. Her dramas are in blank verse, she makes large use of octosyllabics, her hymns and songs show many stanzaic forms, and she has numerous pindaric and other irregular metrical combinations. In general the movement in all her lines is iambic, but An Enquiry after Peace is a pretty good example of the catalectic trochaic tetrameter, a line effectively combined with iambic tetrame- ters in the Petition for an Absolute Retreat. Anapaestic movement is found in Le Passion Vaincue, and in The Circuit of Apollo, where the anapaest is lightly handled for humorous effects. One song in this measure, Let the Fool still be true, only now and then catches the right anapaestic dance, but the Lines on a Punch Bowl, a slightly modified form of the same stanza, is a capital bit of versi- fication. Most of the stanzas are in tetrameter lines, but with trimeters and pentameters in frequent combinations. At least six stanzaic forms close with an Alexandrine, the sinuous length of which was apparently pleasing to Ardelia's ear. The stanza of The Sigh is the one most often used, but that of Life's Progress is more novel and used with more smoothness and grace. In several long stanzas there are sustained rhyme schemes that show a good deal of skill. �Of Lady Winchilsea's style not much need be said. " Poetry requires adornment," said Dryden, "and that is not to be had from our old Teuton monosyllables," and hence his avowed attempt to naturalize "elegant words" from classic authors. But Lady Winchilsea remained strangely content with the Teuton monosyllables. Her diction has absolutely no pedantry. She errs rather on the side ofl colloquialisms, and in her humorous poems she is not afraid! of slang. She seems always to seek for the simplest, plainest words she can find. Her sentences, too, are straightforward and intelligible. Not even her pindarics have involutions that really obscure the sense. She has no conceits, no ��� �
Page:Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea 1903.djvu/97
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.