Shoehorn Poetry

From King John, six feet in five lines:

shoehorn poetry

One critic called this the best line in Shakespeare — Lear’s reaction to Cordelia’s death:

LEAR: Never, never, never, never, never!

Perhaps inspired, Sydney Dobell included this passage in his 1854 poem Balder:

You crowded heavens that mine eyes left but now
Shining and void and azure! — Ah! ah! ah!
Ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah! ah!
By Satan! this is well. What! am I judged?

Harvard scholar Jerome Hamilton Buckley called this “a unique expression of gasping despair” and “surely the most remarkable line of English blank verse.” Perhaps it is.