The Rhetoric of Yeats

  • T. R. Henn


I am particularly indebted to you for your essay on Byron. My own verse has more and more adopted — seemingly without any will of mine — the syntax and vocabulary of common passionate speech. The passage you quote that begins “our life is a false nature”,1 down to almost the end of the quotation where it becomes too elaborate to “couch the mind”2 and a great part of the long passage about Haidée — I got a queer kind of half-dream prevision of the passage the day before your book came out with a repetition of the words “broad moon” — are perfect passionate speech. The over childish or over pretty or feminine element in some good Wordsworth and in much poetry up to our date comes from the lack of natural momentum in the syntax. This momentum underlies almost every Elizabethan or Jacobean lyric and is far more important than simplicity of vocabulary.’3


Natural Momentum Passionate Speech Perfect Passion Blank Verse Burning Roof 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1965

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  • T. R. Henn

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