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Accentual verse Verse whose meter is determined by the number of stressed (accented) syllablesregardless of the total number of syllablesin

each line. Many Old English poems, including Beowulf, are accentual; see Ezra Pounds modern translation of The Seafarer. More recently, Richard Wilbur employed this same Anglo-Saxon meter in his poem Junk. Traditional nursery rhymes, such as Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, are often accentual. Accentual-syllabic verse Verse whose meter is determined by the number and alternation of its stressed and unstressed syllables, organized into feet. From line to line, the number of stresses (accents) may vary, but the total number of syllables within each line is fixed. The majority of English poems from the Renaissance to the 19th century are written according to this metrical system. Alcaic A four-line stanza invented by the Classical Greek poet Alcaeus that employs a specific syllabic count per line and a predominantly dactylic meter. Alfred, Lord Tennyson imitated its form in his poem Milton. Anapest A metrical foot consisting of two unaccented syllables followed by an accented syllable. The words underfoot and overcome are anapestic. Lord Byrons The Destruction of Sennacherib is written in anapestic meter. Blank verse Unrhyming iambic pentameter, also called heroic verse. This 10-syllable line is the predominant rhythm of traditional English dramatic and epic poetry, as it is considered the closest to English speech patterns. Poems such as John Miltons Paradise Lost, Robert Brownings dramatic monologues, and Wallace Stevenss Sunday Morning, are written predominantly in blank verse. Browse more blank verse poems. Cadence The patterning of rhythm in natural speech, or in poetry without a distinct meter (i.e., free verse). Caesura A stop or pause in a metrical line, often marked by punctuation or by a grammatical boundary, such as a phrase or clause. A medial caesura splits the line in equal parts, as is common in Old English poetry (see Beowulf). Medial caesurae (plural of caesura) can be found throughout contemporary poet Derek Walcotts The Bounty. When the pause occurs toward the beginning or end of the line, it is termed, respectively, initial or terminal. Elizabeth Barrett Brownings Mother and Poet contains both initial (Dead! One of them shot by sea in the east) and terminal caesurae (No voice says My mother again to me. What?)

Choriamb Greek and Latin metrical foot consisting of two stressed syllables enclosing two unstressed; a trochee followed by an iamb. It is rarely used as a metrical scheme in English poetry, though Algernon Charles Swinburne imitated this classical meter in Choriambics. Common measure A quatrain that rhymes ABAB and alternates four-stress and three-stress iambic lines. It is the meter of the hymn and the ballad. Many of Emily Dickinsons poems are written in common measure, including [It was not death, for I stood up]. See also Robert Haydens The Ballad of Nat Turner and Elinor Wylies A Crowded Trolley Car. See also Poulters measure and fourteener. Browse more common measure poems. Cretic Greek and Latin metrical foot consisting of a short syllable enclosed by two long syllables. Its use in English poetry is rare, though instances can be found in proverbs and idiomatic expressions such as After a while, crocodile. Dactyl A metrical foot consisting of an accented syllable followed by two unaccented syllables; the words poetry and basketball are both dactylic. Tennysons The Charge of the Light Brigade is written in dactylic meter. (See also double dactyl.) Dimeter A line of verse composed of two feet. Some go local / Some go express / Some cant wait / To answer Yes, writes Muriel Rukeyser in her poem Yes, in which the dimeter line predominates. Kay Ryans Blandeur contains this series of mostly dimeter lines: Even out Earths rondure, flatten Eiger, blanden the Grand Canyon. Make valleys slightly higher, widen fissures to arable land, remand your terrible glaciers Double dactyl A form of light verse invented and promoted by Paul Pascal, Anthony Hecht, and John Hollander. The double dactyl consists of two quatrains, each with three double-dactyl lines followed by a shorter dactyl-spondee pair. The two spondees rhyme. Additionally, the first line

must be a nonsense phrase, the second line a proper or place name, and one other line, usually the sixth, a single double-dactylic word that has never been used before in any other double dactyl. For example: Higgledy piggledy, Bacon, lord Chancellor. Negligent, fell for the Paltrier vice. Bribery toppled him, Bronchopneumonia Finished him, testing some Poultry on ice. (by Ian Lancashire) Browse more double dactyl poems. End-stopped A metrical line ending at a grammatical boundary or breaksuch as a dash or closing parenthesisor with punctuation such as a colon, a semicolon, or a period. A line is considered end-stopped, too, if it contains a complete phrase. Many of Alexander Popes couplets are endstopped, as in this passage from An Essay on Man: Epistle I: Then say not mans imperfect, Heavn in fault; Say rather, mans as perfect as he ought: His knowledge measurd to his state and place, His time a moment, and a point his space. If to be perfect in a certain sphere, What matter, soon or late, or here or there? The blest today is as completely so, As who began a thousand years ago. The opposite of an end-stopped line is an enjambed line. Foot The basic unit of measurement of accentual-syllabic meter. A foot usually contains one stressed syllable and at least one unstressed syllable. The standard types of feet in English poetry are the iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapest, spondee, and pyrrhic (two unstressed syllables).

Hendecasyllabic A Classical Greek and Latin metrical line consisting of 11 syllables: typically a spondee or trochee, a choriamb, and two iambs, the second of which has an additional syllable at the end. The classical Latin poet Catullus favored the line. It is seldom used in English, although Algernon Charles Swinburne worked with the meter in Hendecasyllabics: In the month of the long decline of roses I, beholding the summer dead before me, Set my face to the sea and journeyed silent, Gazing eagerly where above the sea-mark Flame as fierce as the fervid eyes of lions Half divided the eyelids of the sunset . . . Heptameter A meter made up of seven feet and usually 14 syllables total (see Fourteener). George Chapmans translation of Homers the Iliad is written in heptameter, as is Edgar Allan Poes Annabel Lee. See also Poulters measure. Hexameter A metrical line of six feet, most often dactylic, and found in Classical Latin or Greek poetry, including Homers Iliad. In English, an iambic hexameter line is also known as an alexandrine. Only a few poets have written in dactylic hexameter, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in the long poem vangeline: Now had the season returned, when the nights grow colder and longer, And the retreating sun the sign of the Scorpion enters. Birds of passage sailed through the leaden air, from the ice-bound, Desolate northern bays to the shores of tropical islands. Iamb A metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable. The words unite and provide are both iambic. It is the most common meter of poetry in English (including all the plays and poems of William Shakespeare), as it is closest to the rhythms of English speech. In Robert Frosts After Apple Picking the iamb is the vehicle for the natural, colloquial speech pattern: My long two-pointed ladders sticking through a tree Toward heaven still, And theres a barrel that I didnt fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didnt pick upon some bough.

But I am done with apple-picking now. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples: I am drowsing off. Meter The rhythmical pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in verse. The predominant meter in English poetry is accentual-syllabic. See also accentual meter, syllabic meter, and quantitative meter. Falling meter refers to trochees and dactyls (i.e., a stressed syllable followed by one or two unstressed syllables). Iambs and anapests (i.e., one or two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed one) are called rising meter. See also foot. Pentameter A line made up of five feet. It is the most common metrical line in English. Theodore Roethkes The Waking is written in iambic pentameter. Hart Crane maintains pentameter lines made up of variable feet in The Bridge: To Brooklyn Bridge. See also blank verse and iamb. Poulter's measure Couplets in which a 12-syllable iambic line (see Alexandrine) rhymes with a 14-syllable iambic line (see Fourteener). It was used frequently during the English Renaissance; see Complaint of the Absence of Her Love Being upon the Sea, in which Henry Howard breaks the couplets into quatrains. This is a common feature of hymn and ballad meter as well. Limericks can be scanned as Poulters measure. See also common measure. Quantitative meter The dominant metrical system in Classical Greek and Italian poetry, in which the rhythm depends not on the number of stresses, but on the length of time it takes to utter a line. That duration depends on whether a syllable is long or shorta distinction that is harder to hear in English pronunciation. Edmund Spenser attempted to adapt quantitative meter to English in his poem Iambicum Trimetrum. Rhyme The repetition of syllables, typically at the end of a verse line. Rhymed words conventionally share all sounds following the words last stressed syllable. Thus tenacity and mendacity rhyme, but not jaundice and John does, or tomboy and calm bay. A rhyme scheme is usually the pattern of end rhymes in a stanza, with each rhyme encoded by a letter of the alphabet, from a onward (ABBA BCCB, for example). Rhymes are classified by the degree of similarity between sounds within words, and by their placement within the lines or stanzas. -Eye rhyme rhymes only when spelled, not when pronounced. For example, through and rough. -End rhyme, the most common type, is the rhyming of the final syllables of a line. See

Midstairs by Virginia Hamilton Adair: And here on this turning of the stair Between passion and doubt, I pause and say a double prayer, One for you, and one for you; And so they cancel out. -Feminine rhyme applies to the rhyming of one or more unstressed syllables, such as dicing and enticing. Ambrose Bierces The Day of Wrath employs feminine rhyme almost exclusively. Half rhyme is the rhyming of the ending consonant sounds in a word (such as tell with toll, or sopped with leapt). This is also termed off-rhyme, slant rhyme, or apophany. See consonance. -Identical rhyme employs the same word, identically in sound and in sense, twice in rhyming positions. -Internal rhyme is rhyme within a single line of verse When a word from the middle of a line is rhymed with a word at the end of the line. -Masculine rhyme describes those rhymes ending in a stressed syllable, such as hells and bells. It is the most common type of rhyme in English poetry. -Monorhyme is the use of only one rhyme in a stanza. See William Blakes Silent, Silent Night. -Pararhyme is poet Edmund Blundens term for double consonance, where different vowels appear within identical consonant pairs. For example, see Wilfred Owens Strange Meeting: Through granites which Titanic wars had groined. / Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned. See also alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia. Browse poems with rhymed stanzas. Rhythm An audible pattern in verse established by the intervals between stressed syllables. Rhythm creates a pattern of yearning and expectation, of recurrence and difference, observes Edward Hirsch in his essay on rhythm, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. See also meter. Scansion The analysis of the metrical patterns of a poem by organizing its lines into feet of stressed and

unstressed syllables and showing the major pauses, if any. Scansion also involves the classification of a poems stanza, structure, and rhyme scheme. Spondee A metrical foot consisting of two accented syllables. An example of a spondaic word is hogwild. Gerard Manley Hopkinss Pied Beauty is heavily spondaic: With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Sprung rhythm A metrical system devised by Gerard Manley Hopkins composed of one- to four-syllable feet that start with a stressed syllable. The spondee replaces the iamb as a dominant measure, and the number of unstressed syllables varies considerably from line to line (see also accentual verse). According to Hopkins, its intended effect was to reflect the dynamic quality and variations of common speech, in contrast to the monotony of iambic pentameter. His own poetry illustrates its use; though there have been few imitators, the spirit and principles of sprung rhythm influenced the rise of free verse in the early 20th century. Stress A syllable uttered in a higher pitchor with greater emphasisthan others. The English language itself determines how English words are stressed, but sentence structure, semantics, and meter influence the placement and perception of stress. See alsoaccentual verse, accentual-syllabic verse, foot, meter, rhythm, and scansion. Syllable A single unit of speech sound as written or spoken; specifically, a vowel preceded by zero to three consonants (awl, bring, strand), and followed by zero to four consonants (too, brag, gloss, stings, sixths). Tetrameter A line made up of four feet. See William Shakespeares Fear No More the Heat o the Sun or Channel Firing by Thomas Hardy. Trimeter A line of three metrical feet. Percy Bysshe Shelleys To a Skylark employs trochaic trimeter in the first two lines of each stanza. See also Lonie Adamss The Mount. Trochee A metrical foot consisting of an accented syllable followed by an unaccented syllable. Examples of trochaic words include garden and highway. William Blake opens The Tyger with a

predominantly trochaic line: Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright. Edgar Allan Poes The Raven is mainly trochaic. Vers libre A French phrase meaning free verse.