Palamon and Arcite

Palamon and Arcite

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Palamon and Arcite  by John Dryden

Published:

1897

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Palamon and Arcite

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Book Excerpt

ity. Surfeited with the eccentricities and far-fetched conceits of the Marinists, the exiled Englishmen welcomed the change; they espoused the French principles; and when at the Restoration they returned to England with their king, whose taste had been trained in the same school, they began at once to formalize and conventionalize English poetry. The writers of the past, even the greatest writers of the past, were regarded as men of genius, but without art; and English poetry was thenceforth, in Dryden's own words, to start with Waller.

Under the newly adopted canons of French taste, narrative and didactic verse, or satire, took first place. Blank verse was tabooed as too prose-like; so, too, were the enjambed rhymes. A succession of rhymed pentameter couplets, with the sense complete in each couplet, was set forth as the proper vehicle for poetry; and this unenjambed distich fettered English verse for three-quarters of a century. In the drama the characters must be noble, the language dignified; the met

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