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The Unknown Eros by Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore
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THE UNKNOWN EROS
by Coventry Patmore.


PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION.


To this edition of "The Unknown Eros" are added all the other poems I have
written, in what I venture--because it has no other name--to call
"catalectic verse." Nearly all English metres owe their existence as
metres to "catalexis," or pause, for the time of one or more feet, and, as
a rule, the position and amount of catalexis are fixed. But the verse in
which this volume is written is catalectic par excellence, employing the
pause (as it does the rhyme) with freedom only limited by the exigencies
of poetic passion. From the time of Drummond of Hawthornden to our own,
some of the noblest flights of English poetry have been taken on the wings
of this verse; but with ordinary readers it has been more or less
discredited by the far greater number of abortive efforts, on the part
sometimes of considerable poets, to adapt it to purposes with which it
has no expressional correspondence; or to vary it by rhythmical movements
which are destructive of its character.

Some persons, unlearned in the subject of metre, have objected to this kind
of verse that it is "lawless." But it has its laws as truly as any other.
In its highest order, the lyric or "ode," it is a tetrameter, the line
having the time of eight iambics. When it descends to narrative, or the
expression of a less-exalted strain of thought, it becomes a trimeter,
having the time of six iambics, or even a dimeter, with the time of four;
and it is allowable to vary the tetrameter "ode" by the occasional
introduction of passages in either or both of these inferior measures, but