Sunday 11 July 2010

Prose in Quotation

This is another of my index posts. The following is from the back of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations:

all for prose and verse                      CAREW
All that is not prose is verse              MOL
as well written as prose                    POUND
differs in nothing from prose            GRAY
for discourse and nearest prose        DRYD
Good prose is like a window-pane    ORW
I love thee in prose                              PRIOR
moderate weight of prose                 LAND
Not verse now, only prose                 BROW
Of a prose which knows no reason   STEP
other harmony of prose                    DRYD
pin up my hair with prose                 CONG
Poetic souls delight in prose             BYRON
prose and the passion                       FORS
prose is verse, and verse                  BYRON
Prose is when all the lines                BENT
prose run mad                                     POPE
Prose was born yesterday                FLAU
Prose = words in their best              COL
speaking prose without knowing it  MOL
They shut me up in a prose                 DICK
unattempted yet in prose or rhyme  MILT

That is all. Incidentally, anybody who has read the wonderful Me Cheeta, should study the index closely.


  1. Me, Cheeta was v v v funny for the opening three chapters.

    Then I got bored. It was like hearing the same joke again, and again, and again, and again ...

  2. The argument of this, as I interpolate it, is that prose is not a dirty word. There are those (Lew Turco) who call free verse "limeated prose" because it is not metrical. The distinction for him is between verse and prose, which are modes NOT poetry and prose, as poetry is a genre, like drama, fiction, rhetoric, etc.; any of the genres can be written in either of the modes. Anyway, free versers HATE this, because they hate being told they're writing prose, rather missing Turco's point. Etymologically, though, they're right, aren't they--the word 'verse' has to do with the turning of the plow, the rows of lines in the plowed field of the page, NOT the meter.

    Inky, can you bring your erudition to bear on this topic? Surely it's up your proverbial alley.

  3. Did I write "limeated?" I meant, 'lineated.'

  4. Well, you've lost me here, as I don't quite understand what the list is and have never heard of Me Cheetah - so I'm making my own entertainment by treating this as a 'found' poem - especially as some of the lines work very nicely: 'Moderate weight of Proseland', 'Not verse now, only prose brow', and my favourite - 'Prose is when all the lines bent'.
    Don't mind me.

  5. Moptop: Persist.
    Chris: I fear that searching for a definition of poetry is like my diet: fruitless. You can't find a definition until you've agreed on what counts as a poem, and you can't agree on what counts as a poem until you've found your definition. I will, though, knock up a post on the two kinds of free verse.
    Miss Biro, It is from the index to the Dictionary of Quotations. You look up prose and are given all the quotations containing that word along with their authors: Milton, Dickens, Moliere et cetera. I didn't bother copying out the page numbers.