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Thread: Blank verse?

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Jan 2013

    Blank verse?

    Hello everyone,

    I have read that blank verse follows Iambic Pentameter with unrhyming lines. So I looked for examples and found one from Hamlet:

    But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
    So far from cheer and from your former state,
    That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
    Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must…..

    How is this blank verse when late and state are rhyming as well distrust and must?

  2. #2
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Somewhere in the South East of England
    It isn't blank verse because it rhymes. The majority of poetry in Shakespeare's plays is in blank verse though.

    Here's the classic blank verse poem, Milton's Paradise Lost

    OF MAN’S first disobedience, and the fruit
    Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
    Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
    With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
    Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat, 5
    Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
    Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
    That Shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
    In the beginning how the heavens and earth
    Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill 10
    Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed
    Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
    Invoke thy aid to my adventrous song,
    That with no middle flight intends to soar
    Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues 15
    Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
    And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
    Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
    Instruct me, for Thou know’st; Thou from the first
    Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, 20
    Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast Abyss,
    And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark
    Illumine, what is low raise and support;
    That, to the highth of this great argument,
    I may assert Eternal Providence, 25
    And justify the ways of God to men.

    Milton makes the case for blank verse here:

    The Measure is English Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and Virgil in Latin; Rhime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter; grac't indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carried away by Custom, but much to thir own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse then else they would have exprest them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian, and Spanish Poets of prime note have rejected Rhime both in longer and shorter Works, as have also long since our best English Tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, triveal, and of no true musical delight; which consists onely in apt Numbers, fit quantity of Syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one Verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoyded by the learned Ancients both in Poetry and all good Oratory. This neglect then of Rhime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, that it rather is to be esteem'd an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover'd to heroic Poem from the troublesom and modern bondage of Rimeing.
    Last edited by Jackson Richardson; 10-14-2016 at 06:50 AM.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

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