The terms of Hopkins's idealised recitation clearly relate to the faculty of 'perfect recitative' that he found in the delivery of plainsong. 'To take breath and read it with the ears' as he says when discussing The Wreck of the Eurydice Possibly no poet but Hopkins has spent so much mental energy trying to persuade readers of poetry to risk silence, to be prepared to allow a stressed word its surrounding space, or to take the necessary in breath to deliver word or Links Of London Charms phrase. Geoffrey Hill connects Hopkins's project of slowing down both reader and reading with the poet's spiritual engagement with his time: 'he sensed this divergence. He sensed this flowing away of time into a world of machinery and specious communication. And against this specious flowing away, against this terrible divergence, he poised a faith and a technique and both faith and technique turn on the realisation of abrupt selfhood and the realisation that in order to passionately meditate upon the truth of being, upon the reality of nature, you must slow down the medium of communication'.
The most developed statement on the reading of verse comes in his letter to his brother Everard written 5 November 1885, and in this exposition, carefully tailored for a less literary mind than his usual correspondence, the chant plays its part once again: Poetry was originally meant for either singing or reciting; a record was kept of it; the record could be, was, read, and that in time by one reader, alone, to himself, with the eyes only. This reacted on the art Sound-effects were intended. but they bear the marks of having been meant for the whispered, not even whispered, merely mental performance of the closet, the study, and so on.... This is not the true nature of poetry, the darling child of speech, of lips and spoken utterance: it must be spoken; till it is spoken it is not performed; it does not perform, it is not itself. Sprung rhythm gives back to poetry its true soul and self. As poetry is emphatically speech, speech purged of dross like gold in the furnace, so it must have emphatically the essential elements of speech.
Now emphasis itself, stress, is one of these; sprung rhythm makes verse stressy; it purges it to an emphasis as much brighter, livelier, more lustrous than the regular but commonplace emphasis of common rhythm as poetry in general is brighter than common speech. But Links Of London Bracelets this it does by a return from that regular emphasis towards, not up to the more picturesque irregular emphasis of talk - without however becoming itself lawlessly irregular; then it would not be art; but making up by regularity, equality, of a larger unit (the foot merely) for inequality in the less, the syllable... Perform the Eurydice then see. I must however add that to perform it quite satisfactorily is not at all easy, I do not say I could do it. A composer need not be able to play his violin music or sing his songs. Indeed the higher wrought the art, clearly the wider severance between the parts of the author and performer.