He also accounts for the collapse of the alliterative tradition by arguing that during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries audiences of alliterative poetry gradually reinterpreted it as featuring an anapaestic
rhythmical structure (130-154).
The poem's nine quatrains contain a changing rhyme pattern but all the way they keep a three-beat rhythm, while the last stanza is markedly anapaestic
. The best stanza is the last, in which he shows rather than tells what solitude is like:
But in Ultra-Crepidarius, his verse satire on Gifford, he translated his ire into bouncing anapaestic
couplets full of relaxed Cockney fun.
In place of the thirty-one lines of anapaestic
dimeter of the Latin, Studley has thirty-seven lines rhyming in the pattern ababcdcd.
He thus produces a graphical visualization of sound patterns associated with four metrical feet (trochaic, iambic, anapaestic
, and dactyl), which readers/users can freely recombine [Fig.
This is particularly apparent in his discussion of the vexed question of the translation of Homer: anapaestic
metres are described as dactylic on a number of occasions, and Matthew Arnold's specimen translations are summarily dismissed as evidence of his 'inert academicism' without any attempt at the kind of detailed close reading needed to support this judgement.
Metrum 4.6 is a long anapaestic
poem that follows on the longest prose passage in the Consolatio, in which Philosophia spells out the relation between Providence and Fate and the role of humanity's Free Will in a mix of Stoic and Platonic concepts.
This responsiveness is again rhythmically shown by the contrast between an anapaestic
or dactylic beat as the speaker describes the heart beating harder, speeding up, and the slower beat of 'tread out my measure', where 'tread out' could potentially consist of two stressed beats.
Schoolboys and undergraduates with no sense of rhythm, compose, or used to compose, verses on this principle, trying to keep their wits, and doing so, if at all, only with considerable difficulty, on sense, idiom, grammar, prosody, and meter, all at once: the place of the caesura, of the spondee, of dividing the tribrach, the law of the final cretic, anapaestic
license with proper names, and suchlike elementary manners.
The opening of the line lacks such clear patterning, and is in fact deliberately made unpredictable; after a possible design is hinted at by using similar openings in lines 49-50 (dactylic) and 51-52 (amphibrachic), any resulting expectancy is then denied; the three consecutive anapaestic
openings in lines 60-62 are made all the more unpredictable by the irregularity that has preceded them.
I might take Marjorie Perloff's review of Cary Nelson's Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry in "Janus-Faced Blockbuster" more seriously if she did not, at its beginning, complain that a poem by Georgia Douglas Johnson is written in "chug-chug iambic pentameter," when it's actually in anapaestic