The Life of Matthew Prior

A. C. Guthkelch, Francis Bickley
1915 Modern Language Review  
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more » ... ll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions units; speech-verse is not. Both involve rhythm, accent, and quantity, but in the latter type another element of importance appears, called (in a term of Campion's own) 'weight.' All this is very interesting, but again not unfamiliar. One is not sure of understanding the theory, because the writer fails to develop it, reserving, he says, the matter of speech-verse to another work; but it would seem to be very much the same thing as Mr Robert Bridges's doctrine of the two types of 'stressed' and 'syllabic' verse, as presented in his Milton's Prosody. MacDonagh's speech-verse and Bridges's syllabic-verse are both represented chiefly by the iambic pentameter, and the former describes it as having 'a fixed number of syllables' to a line. He is not familiar with Mr Bridges's work-at least he does not include a reference to it in his bibliography; neither, apparently, does he know A. J. Ellis's system of metrical analysis, with Mayor's criticism of it in his Chapters on English Metre. In this system the term 'weight' was introduced as a separate prosodical element', but Mayor's question, 'What is meant by it ?' has never been clearly answered. Nor do we know how it is used in the present book, for its explanation goes over with the discussion of speechverse. In other words, the one matter of individual significance in our author's discussion, his view of the old question as to how we shall analyze and describe the peculiar qualities of our great pentameter measure, is tantalizingly brought forward only to be let go. On the analysis of the lyrical measures which Campion chiefly represents, Mr MacDonagh has no new theory. But his obiter dicta are often stimulating, and one may judge him to be a notable talker on his subject. He has noted the odd rhythms in the speech of Irish peasants, has persuaded Mr Yeats and Mr George Russell to recite verse to him, that he might study their metrical habits, has experimented in the chanting of Shakespeare's songs to the accompaniment of a real lyre. It would be well if he should be caught, imprisoned, and his stores accounted for by sonme prosodist more given to consecutive analytical method. RAYMOND M. ALDEN. PALO ALTO, CAL., U.S.A. The Life of Matthew Prior. By FRANCIS BICKLEY. London: Pitman. 8vo. 295 pp. During recent years a large amount of new material for a life of Prior has been published, and a biography is therefore more than justified. It is a great pity that Mr Waller has not continued his work, but it is now seven years since he gave hopes of a commentary on Prior,
doi:10.2307/3713565 fatcat:oa2ivenswvhmfdeb7b67qdkkke