A History of English Prosody

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Not many prefatory words are, I think, necessary to this volume. I have indeed to acknowledge, with the most sincere thanks, the gratifying and almost unhoped-for approval given by some competent and impartial critics to the first. Unfavourable comment seems to have very mainly reduced itself either to a reiteration of the views which prefer German theory to English fact, or to an amplification of the argument, I know and care very little about this subject; therefore nobody has any business to write a book, and especially a big book, on it. This latter syllogism is perhaps a little inconclusive at any rate, I do not propose to rebut it. Nor would it be of much use to cope directly with those whose prejudices against classical nomenclature and quantitative valuation lead them to deny the possibility of scanning Shakespeare and Milton. It is better to disprove the impossibility by the simple expedient of going and doing it. As for the objection, which has actually been made, that this book will not make poets I can only say, God forbid that it should attempt to do so!

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