Critics take for granted the importance of rhythm in poetry and prose, above all its capacity for suggesting states of mind, especially emotional states. But they are seldom clear what range of effects rhythm can reasonably be credited with, nor even, at times, what exactly the term refers to. Professor Harding here views these and allied problems from a psychological standpoint. Rhythm as a means of suggesting states of mind is discussed in the light of its being not merely something the reader listens to, but something he does, a system of movement. Throughout the book, the realities of spoken language take precedence of prosodic fictions, and emphasis is placed on the poet's organization of speech rhythms within a line of verse, metrical or free. Poetry and prose from the fifteenth to the twentieth century provide passages for illustration and analysis.