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The Constitution’s ‘Poetic’ Preamble

The person most responsible for the Constitution’s final form was Gouverneur Morris. The Preamble, which begins with “We the People,” is one of the world’s most recognizable bits of prose — prose that, at least in some ways, approaches poetry.
Morris had been well educated in poetics. At King’s College (now Columbia University), his two favorite subjects were mathematics and Latin. His Latin studies introduced him to Virgil, Ovid, and other Roman poets, and his writings contain occasional references to Ovid. From studying Shakespeare, Morris learned English prosody as well. As a young man, he sometimes wrote verse himself.
Fortunately, Morris did not essay to render the Constitution in poetry — although at least one modern author has attempted it. Nor is the Preamble technically blank verse. But it certainly was written with meter in mind.
The Preamble can be divided readily into 12 lines grouped into six couplets. I have reproduced them

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