Deacon's Masterpiece, The;

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Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809—1894) American physician, poet, and essayist

John Clellon Holmes (1926—1988)


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Poem by Holmes in The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, was first published in the Atlantic Monthly (1858). In its rhymed four-stress couplets, anapests are frequently substituted for iambs, and a humorous effect is derived from the monotonous rhyme and absurd rhythm. A parable of the breakdown of Calvinism, the poem tells of a deacon who wanted a carriage that would never break down, so that he built all of its parts with equal strength. Exactly a century after the construction of this masterpiece, the whole work fell apart at once.

Subjects: Literature.

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