The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.102  Monday, 12 March 2012


From:        Thomas Pendleton <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         March 9, 2012 2:02:00 PM EST

Subject:     Shall I Die


The avoidance of the in the poem is especially unusual—and undoubtedly deliberate—since the continually repeated three-syllable unit could so easily be filled out with a prepositional phrase with the article supplying the unstressed second syllable. E.G., “At the head of the bed,” “On the floor near the door,” Through the night with the light,” “For the cat in the hat.”


It is surprising that Gerald Downs claims the poem “has no rhythm,” a judgment that might be challenged by comparison to a somewhat similar (if superior) lyric:


                        I’ve got tears in my ears

                        From lying on my back in my bed

                        While I cry over you.

                                                H. Barlow



Tom Pendleton 

Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.