Beautiful sentences

Since yesterday’s post was particularly rhythmic, I thought I would take a moment to appreciate the great rhythmic sentences. Sort of the “greatest hits” of beautiful sentences.

We talk about great movies, great plays, great novels. But sometimes a single sentence can stand on its own as a classic for the ages, not merely for its meaning, but also for its cadence.

The very rhythm of some sentences has the power to transport me into another world. That such a thing is possible is a wonderful non-linear quality of our human brain and how it processes language.

Not surprisingly, I find the sentences embedded in poetry to be especially beautiful, but prose sometimes makes the list as well. Some personal favorites of mine: “I dwell in possibility;” “April is the cruelest month;” “Consider the lobster;”, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.”

Since I am a native English speaker, I am not properly equipped to evaluate sentences in other languages. But even I can appreciate the beauty of a sentence like “Où sont les neiges d’antan?”

I’m not sure it’s proper to play favorites, but at the moment my favorite English language sentence, for sheer rhythmic elegance, is one that was penned more than 420 years ago: “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”

One thought on “Beautiful sentences”

  1. It might be an interesting experiment to try to distill the rhythm from these sentences and then generate identically rhythmic sentences with using different words (or nonsense words). I wonder how much of the effect is purely rhythm and how much is the combination of rhythm with meaning.

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