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Beppo: Stanza XLIV (1817)

Lord Byron

I love the language that soft bastard Latin,
MeterI love the language that soft bastard Latin,
Which melts like kisses from a female mouth,
MeterWhich melts like kisses from a female mouth,
And sounds as if it should be writ on satin,
MeterAnd sounds as if it should be writ on satin,
With syllables which breathe of the sweet South,
MeterWith syllables which breathe of the sweet South,
And gentle liquids gliding all so pat in,
MeterAnd gentle liquids gliding all so pat in,
That not a single accent seems uncouth.
MeterThat not a single accent seems uncouth.

Note on line 6:That the third a-rhyme hits a sour note anticipates Byron’s complaint in the following couplet about the gracelessness of English when compared to Italian. But the rhythm of line 6 is satin- smooth, in order to set up by contrast the coarse and bumptious line 7, with its draggledy double- feminine ending to boot. Meanwhile, the feminine-ended lines 1, 3, and 5 have done a quiet imitation of the classic meter of Italian poetry since Dante, the hendecasyllabic.

Like our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural,
MeterLike our harsh northern whistling, grunting guttural,
Which we’re obliged to hiss, and spit, and sputter all.
MeterWhich we’re obliged to hiss, and spit, and sputter all.

Rhyme
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