Abstract and Keywords
The marginal position of stanza in relation to couplet between 1660 and 1800 is to some extent an illusion. The larger form does not vanish so much as go to ground like the Arethusa, its regulatory function absorbed into, and miniaturized by, the smaller, which becomes, in effect, a “stanzetta.” It was brought to such a state of polish, to such a condition of ease and fluency, that it achieved a “numerositas” (musicality) no less tangible than the more ostentatious virtuosity of the ode for music that flourished alongside it, and which engendered a line of poly- and monostrophic odes. These last represent the apogee of the form in its public modality before the Romantics turned it into a private meditation, Wordsworth’s “Ode to Duty” being a Janus creation in respect of the different traditions.
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