The form of a Chaucer-type utterance is simple and austere: the first person concatenated with a verb in the present indicative active. That it is a form of action is immediate, transparent, and straightforward. Poets have found an immense number of uses for it, from dramatic bombast to intense self-awareness. The form is remarkably flexible and accommodating. It enables poets to combine the reflective and self-conscious with the energetic and immediate. This is illustrated in extracts from a range of poets including Chaucer, Sidney, Shakespeare, Milton, and Byron. Austin promoted an analysis of the form that has stimulated much debate, to which John Searle has been equally significant as a contributor.
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