[Milton-L] Milton, Shakespeare and blank verse

Mario Murgia precious.bane at gmail.com
Thu Jul 12 18:06:53 EDT 2007

Dear Greg,
Thank you very much for your prompt –and extremely useful– response. I'll
try to find the text.

2007/7/12, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu>:
> Dear Mario,
> One very good (though highly technical) treatment of the prosody of
> Shakespeare and Milton (and Wyatt and Pope) is Paul Kiparsky's "The Rhythmic
> Structure of English Verse" in Linguistic Inquiry 8:2 (Spring 1977),
> 189-247.
> Kiparsky prefers a tree diagram derived from Liberman for marking verse,
> which allows him to discuss in amazingly precise detail just what metrical
> liberties particular poets allow themselves.  The upshot of this analysis
> (in relation to your specific concern) is that while Pope is most strict and
> Wyatt most liberal, Shakespeare and Milton are "intermediate" in two
> entirely different ways.  He has a nice image comparing them to two bears on
> a mountain.
> It's a demanding read, but if you put in the effort, I think you will find
> it remarkably nuanced.
> Greg Machacek
> Associate Professor of English
> Marist College
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"It is my opinion that the power of eloquence is most manifest when it deals
with subjects which rouse no particular enthusiasm."
–John Milton, Prolusion 7
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