Studying Arthur Hugh Clough's 1848 poem The Bothie of Toper-Na-Fuosich and its approach to metrical and sexual forms, in this essay I examine the ways in which heterosexuality operates as an experiment in form intimately connected with the poem's experiment in English hexameter. Both Clough's hero, Philip Hewson, and his meter strike poses of passion and disruption, but both ultimately seek out and create architectural forms that "order" and orchestrate their "liberties." In the Þrst section I present a reading of The Bothie's heterosexual and political narrative, describing the trajectory of the poem's hero through an interconnected series of lovers and philosophical arguments. In the second section I address the synergy between the poem's sexual and metrical allegories, drawing connections between the poem's methods of thematizing both metrical turbulence and heterosexual passion. Finally, I explore how The Bothie brings these two allegories together, demonstrating that Clough's meter enacts an "ordered liberty" and a structure of "relation unto others" that is integral to the poem's ultimate image of passionate but socially responsible union: the new bridge dreamed of by Philip's Þnal lover.
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