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Sound and Sense

Sound and Sense

by Alexander Pope

Rules and Order Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

When Ajax strives, some Rock's vast Weight to throw,
The Line too labours, and the Words move slow; (9-10)

These lines begin the transition from images of nature, to Greek and Roman poets. The prosody in these lines is made to imitate the actions of classical figures. This slight change from nature images to classical allusions serves to make the two appear to go together: the ancients were enacting the rules of nature so their rules of prosody, too, come from nature.

Quote #5

Hear how Timotheus' vary'd Lays surprize,
And bid Alternate Passions fall and rise! (13-14)

We notice the strong verbs in these last two lines: hear, surprise, bid, fall, and rise. The speaker commands us to hear and be surprised. The poem bids, or orders, the passions to move. The speaker attributes great power to prosody – even moving the passions. The emphasis on hearing can sometimes be overlooked because we often read poems. But here we must "hear" in order to be surprised and have our emotions moved.

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