Blank verse

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He that thinks himself capable of astonishing may write blank verse: but those that hope only to please must condescend to rhyme.
~ Samuel Johnson

Blank verse is poetry written in regular metrical but unrhymed lines.

Quotes[edit]

  • Blank verse really deserving the name I believe [...] to be impossible except to one or two eminent writers in a generation.
  • I will venture to assert, that a just translation of any ancient poet in rhyme is impossible. No human ingenuity can be equal to the task of closing every couplet with sounds homotonous, expressing at the same time the full sense, and only the full sense of his original.
    • William Cowper, The Iliad of Homer: translated into English blank verse (1791), "Preface".
  • He that thinks himself capable of astonishing may write blank verse: but those that hope only to please must condescend to rhyme.
    • Samuel Johnson, Lives of the English Poets (1781), "The Life of Milton".
  • Blank verse seems to be verse only to the eye.
    • William Lock, "an ingenious critick", as quoted by Samuel Johnson in Lives of the English Poets (1781), "The Life of Milton".
  • Rhyme is no necessary adjunct of true poetry.
  • As it is generally seen, blank verse seems to be only a laborious and doubtful struggle to escape from the fangs of prose. [...] if it ever ventures to relax into simple and natural phraseology, it instantly becomes tame and the prey of its pursuer.

External links[edit]

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