Reference > Cambridge History > The Period of the French Revolution > The Prosody of the Eighteenth Century > Young
  Joshua Steele Shenstone; Gray; Johnson  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XI. The Period of the French Revolution.

XI. The Prosody of the Eighteenth Century.

§ 9. Young.


By what logic it can be contended that a system which leads to such “monstrosities” (the word is that of an admirer of Steele) as this is “masterly,” some readers, at any rate, will find it difficult to imagine. Either Steele’s scansions are justified by his principles or they are not. If they are, these principles are self-condemned; if they are not, the perpetrator of the scansions must have been a man of so loose a way of thinking that he cannot be taken into serious consideration. In either case, he cannot have had an ear; and a prosodist without an ear may surely be asked to “stand down.” There is much of a similar kind to be said of Young. On the other hand, Tyrwhitt, in his justly famous edition of Chaucer, showed himself a real prosodist and, early as it was, came to very sound conclusions by the simple process of taking the verse first and getting it satisfactorily scanned. Of the rest, most are chiefly remarkable for curiosities of a theory which always neglects large parts of English poetry, and sometimes sets at naught even the practice that it recognises. Perhaps the best is Johnson’s despised “Sherry,” whose prosody is, certainly, in many points heretical, if Johnson’s own is orthodox.   16

CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  Joshua Steele Shenstone; Gray; Johnson  
 
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