Appendix 1: Hopkins' versification and theory of sprung rhythm

Introduction - and warning!

An introduction to Hopkins' versification was given in the section Poetry as music in the Literary context section.

You may want to know more about this, and if you have by now read a number of Hopkins' poems, and have a reasonable sense of rhythm or some musical training, then you might like to read the fuller account that follows.

However, do not read further than you can understand. There have been some very complicated and technical accounts of Hopkins' versification and theory of sprung rhythm. This appendix tries to avoid such accounts, which are really only useful if you are about to do your final degree exams as an undergraduate. You might do best if you came back to this Appendix several times, rather than trying to absorb it all at once. Much of what is said applies to all poetry, though the examples are all taken from Hopkins.

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