Greek Rhythm

Ezra Pound, Letter to Iris Barry (August 1916)

I prize the Greek more for the movement of the words, rhythm, perhaps than for anything else. There is the POIKILOTHRON and then Catullus, ‘Collis O Heliconii,’ and some Propertius, that one could do worse than know by heart for the sake of knowing what rhythm really is. And there is the gulph between TIS O SAPPHO ADIKEI, and Pindar’s big rhetorical drum TINA THEON, TIN’ EROA, TINA D’ ANDREA KELADESOMEN, which one should get carefully fixed in the mind. I’ll explain viva voce if this metatype-phosed Greek is too unintelligible.

It is perhaps a sense of Latin that helps or seems to have helped people to a sort of superexcellent neatness in writing English — something different from French clarity. It may be merely from the care one takes in following the construction in an inflected language.

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