1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Bysshe

Lord Byron to John Murray, 20 February 1816; Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 3:263.



With regard to the observations on carelessness, etc. I think, with all humility, that the gentle reader has considered a rather uncommon, and designedly irregular versification for haste and negligence. The measure is not that of any of the other poems, which (believe) were allowed to be tolerably correct, according to Bysshe and the fingers — or ears — by which bards write, and readers reckon. Great part of The Siege is in (I think) what the learned call Anapests, (though I am not sure, being heinously forgetful of my metres and my Gradus,) and many of the lines intentionally longer or shorter than its rhyming companion; and the rhyme also occurring at greater or less intervals of caprice or convenience.