Rhythm and Meter in English Poetry
Rhythm and Meter in English Poetry English poetry employs five basic rhythms of varying stressed (/) and unstressed (x) syllables. The meters are iambs, trochees, spondees, anapests and dactyls. In this document the stressed syllables are marked in boldface type rather than the tradition al "/" and "x." Each unit of rhythm is called a "foot" of poetry. The meters with two-syllable feet are IAMBIC (x /) : That time of year thou mayst in me behold TROCHAIC (/ x): Tell me not in mournful numbersSPONDAIC (/ /): Break, break, break/ On thy cold gray stones, O Sea! Adam Had'em. Here are some more serious examples of the various meters. iambic pentameter (5 iambs, 10 syllables) That time | of year | thou mayst | in me | behold trochaic tetrameter (4 trochees, 8 syllables) Tell me | not in | mournful | numbers anapestic trimeter (3 anapests, 9 syllables) And the sound | of a voice | that is still dactylic hexameter (6 dactyls, 17 syllables; a trochee replaces the last dactyl) A note on the source.
Related: Language Use
• Cool stuff to read