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Reading Rochester$
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Edward Burns

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780853230380

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317644

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date: 18 January 2019

‘The Present Moment’ and ‘Times Whiter Series’: Rochester and Dryden

‘The Present Moment’ and ‘Times Whiter Series’: Rochester and Dryden

(p.207) ‘The Present Moment’ and ‘Times Whiter Series’: Rochester and Dryden
Reading Rochester

Bernard Beatty

Liverpool University Press

This chapter compares English poets Rochester and John Dryden. Rochester and Dryden are fascinated by their occupancy of time, but they represent and understand this in completely different ways. Dryden is concerned with a now, while Rochester insists upon the impossibly present moment. Rochester boasts of the dependability of his final failure, cowardice and modesty in non-figurative idiom and speculation. The most successful verses of Rochester rarely rely on striking or overt images, while his best lines are based on adroit syntax, cadence and diction. The lyrics of Rochester use several rhetorical figures and recognized love-conceits. It is clear that Rochester never jumped from his awkward present moment into the transcendentaly reinforced now of Dryden. Rochester's salvific recognition of a more excessive reduction than his own can be compared to Dryden's dissociation of the Panther of power from the gentle Hind.

Keywords:   Rochester, poets, John Dryden, time, idiom, speculation, lyrics

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