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poets as to their prosodic systemas if it were a "hedge,' a kind of afterthought on discovering inconveniences. I can assure him that it was nothing of the kind : but, like other similar separated notes, intended to draw special attention to an important point. In fact, this thing happens to be the hinge and staple of my own critical and prosodic apparatus. Those who cannot see the existence and the value of this silent testimony are in much the same plight with the assailants of formal logic, a hundred years ago and later, who asked if the great arguers from Demosthenes and Plato to Burke and Bentham reasoned in syllogism ? The retort, of course, was, that though every good argument is not syllogistically expressed, or by consciousness syllogistically thought out, every good argument is reducible to syllogism ; and the same, mutatis mutandis, is the reply here.

There is nothing over which I have taken more pains than the method of this volume; and I may respectfully beg readers not to judge it hastily as unmethodical. In some experience of writing, and a very great experience of reading, literary histories, I have found that while there are the usual three courses of apparent and self-justifying system in planning these, they are all, if too rigidly adhered to, productive of great inconveniences. The system of proceeding wholly by Kinds, which has become fashionable recently, looks very "good and godly”—very philosophical and scientific ; but it leads, in some instances at any rate, to the entire destruction of all historical perspective and mapping out, so that contemporary work is separated by hundreds of pages. The opposite plan of adopting strict chronological slices, of leaving an author in the middle of his career without ruth, and picking him up again without ceremony, obviates this difficulty, but substitutes another. You get no complete view of any writer ; you have to patch and piece him together from two or three or more different chapters or even volumes ; and you must be provided with a very clear head, a very good memory, and a copious supply of temper, if you do not get either irretrievably muddled, or driven out of all patience, or both. If, on the other or third hand, you proceed by authors merely, the thing becomes rather a dictionary than a history; and there is the dangerperhaps the most insidious of all because it is somewhat latent—of obscuring the coincidence of persons, times, kinds, and works. I have endeavoured to meet all these difficulties by adopting no one of the three ways exclusively, and proceeding by each as seems to me most likely to give the general sequence of things. No doubt this too is difficult-I daresay I have failed to do it perfectly ; but I am sure it was worth attempting.

Perhaps I should give instances. I have dealt together with the whole prosody of Donne and of Waller, though in each case part of it falls out of the main subject of the chapter in which the treatment appears, because there is an important connection, and one which concerns that main subject, between the parts. I have separated the treatment of Cowley, because his Pindarics require, as it seems to me, distinct handling. I have given combined and exclusive treatment to the whole work, multifarious as it is, of Shakespeare, Milton, and Dryden, because each of these has prosodic importance and prosodic idiosyncrasy which seem to me to demand this treatment.

But enough of this shadow-fighting : let us speak once more of the real Eugénie Grandet-of Prosody herself.


BATH, Maundy Thursday, 1908.

1 The great bulk of matter which has be dealt with in this volume has made it necessary to suspend the Appendix system as far as it is concerned. I regret this, because it prevents my giving certain excursus which I have

already prepared to meet direct requests, such as one on the question “What is a foot ?" and another on the point whether the iamb or the trochee is really the staple foot of English poetry.

But these and some others will come with greater appropriateness at the end of the whole inquiry on which they are based ; and there is no absolute necessity for an interim survey of rhyme, etc., at the point here reached. As before, I have to give the heartiest thanks to Professors Ker, Elton, and Gregory Smith, for reading my proofs, and for making many valuable suggestions.


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