Despite the great number of published works that deal with English prosody or the more restricted subject of versification, there is a noticeable scarcity of studies that describe the practices of individual poets. One of the more apparent reasons for the meager number of versification studies is the instability of the basic criteria by which a poem is examined. Prosodists quite simply find it difficult to establish concrete principles of scansion that are acceptable to all other prosodists. Without going into discussion of the various schools of thought on metrical structure, suffice it to say that there are conflicting opinions about such basic points as what constitutes a line of verse, for example, or what makes up a rhythmical unit or even an increment of sound. With such fundamental concepts in doubt, it becomes understandably difficult to speak on the subject of prosody with any degree of confidence. However, since this study is concerned with the versification of the poetry of Matthew Arnold, and since much of the criticism of the tenets of prosody is quite modern, it doesn't seem too amiss to ignore much of the most recent material on scansion and discuss Arnold according to the traditional syllable-stress system of metrical analysis. It goes without saying that Arnold was a part of the great tradition of English poets and that any metrical theories he might have had would have had their basis in the traditional system of metrics. This thesis will support such a proposition, as well as the belief that any systematic study of the verse of a poet will enhance the appreciation of that poet to a degree far overshadowing whatever faults may exist in the system of scansion used. In addition to showing Arnold's practices with meter, this paper will attempt to describe his chronological development as a metrist.



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Humanities; English



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poetry, prosody, versification, Matthew Arnold