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Eng 11 Poetry Unit

Name:_________________________ Block:___

Meter, Rhythm, and Rhyme.


The meter of a poem is its rhythmical pattern. This pattern is determined by the number and
types of stresses, or beats, in each line. How do we determine meter? Follow the steps below.

1. Count the number of syllables in each line. You can do this by clapping on each syllable like
you did in elementary school. Number each syllable in the line below.

"Were there but world enough, and time,/ this coyness lady, were no crime…"

2. Read out the line above a few times, and figure out which syllables you naturally stress. Mark
those syllables with the over them. All the others are by process of elimination unstressed,
and they are marked with a symbol. Look for patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables
throughout the lines below.
3. Divide the stressed and unstressed syllables into groups using a parenthesis between each set
of syllables. Each of these groups is called a foot.

“remember” by Christina Rosetti

Remember me when I am gone away,


Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
The Sonnet
A sonnet is a form of poetry that has been around with us since about 1200 CE. There are many
different forms, but almost all of them have 14 lines, and are written in Iambic pentameter.

Iamb: a pair of stressed and unstressed syllables (also called a “foot”)


Penta—: a prefix meaning “five”

so Iambic pentameter means the lines of the poem contain 5 feet (or about 10 syllables)

Another aspect of sonnets is that the older ones keep to a strict rhyme scheme.

What’s a Rhyme Scheme???

You know, the pattern of words that rhyme at the end of each line of a poem

Mary had a little lamb A (every line ending with a word that rhymes with “lamb” gets an “A”)
Her fleece was white as snow B (does not rhyme with “lamb”)
And everywhere that Mary went C (does not rhyme with “lamb” or “snow”)
The lamb was sure to go B (because “go” rhymes with “snow,” this gets a B)

It followed her to school one day, D (everything that rhymes with “day” gets a D)
Which was against the rules. E (everything that rhymes with “rules” gets a E)
It made the children laugh and play, D
To see a lamb at school E
And so the teacher turned it out F (everything that rhymes with “out” gets an F)
But still it lingered near G (everything that rhymes with “near” gets a G)
And waited patiently about, F
Till Mary did appear G
"Why does the lamb love Mary so?" B (rhymes with “snow” from line 2)
The eager children cry H
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know." B
The teacher did reply H

When you have finished assigning letters to the rhyme of each line, you can state the rhyme
scheme. The rhyme scheme for “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is:
ABCB DEDE FGFG BHBH

The rhyme scheme for a sonnet can look like…

Petrarchan sonnets (the original Italian sonnets): ABBA ABBA CDC DCD
Shakespearean sonnets (the English take): ABAB CDCD EFEF GG