Sunday, August 17, 2014

The most corrected

Pope remarked, in relation to his heavily corrected and interlined original workbook for his Iliad, "I believe you would find upon examination that those parts which have been the most corrected read the easiest."

Spence comments "What a useful study might it be for a poet to compare in those parts what was written first with the successive alterations; to learn his turns and arts in versification; and to consider the reasons why such and such an alteration was made."And gives the example of the lines

That strew'd with warriors dead the Phrygian plain,
And peopled the dark shades with heroes slain.

which were reworked into this

That wrath which hurled to Pluto's gloomy reign
The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain.