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Questions tagged [meter]

Questions about determining and representing the meter of a poem, a practice called scansion.

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14 votes
3 answers
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Were all of Shakespeare's plays fully in iambic pentameter?

Were the plays within The Complete Works of Shakespeare entirely in iambic pentameter? I seem to recall singing bits (when there were lyrics) from Twelfth Night and definitely from Much Ado About ...
Mikey's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Catalectic trochaic tetrameter or acephaleous iambic tetrameter? Scanning "Kubla Khan"

I'm currently teaching myself to scan, and I'm practicing with Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" at the moment. You can read the entire poem online. I've arrived at line 32: "Floated midway on the waves;" and ...
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why did iambic pentameter become so 'standard' in classical English poetry?

Iambic pentameter is probably the most prevailing and widely used meter in classical English poetry, and it's the 'standard' form of verse in many forms of poetry such as sonnets. From Wikipedia (...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
10k views

Why did Shakespeare write in iambic pentameter?

Shakespeare is incredibly famous for writing a lot in iambic pentameter. But why did he choose to write in this specific style of having ten beats and 5 stressed syllables per line? Considering it ...
SleepingGod's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
727 views

Do English language poems actually have feet?

The question Catalectic trochaic tetrameter or acephaleous iambic tetrameter? Scanning "Kubla Khan" describes an interesting case when the placement of feet has no effect on the ...
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21 votes
2 answers
3k views

Were English poets of the sixteenth century aware of the Great Vowel Shift?

The Great Vowel Shift was a series of changes in the pronunciation of English vowel sounds, marking the dividing line between Middle English and Modern English. A wholesale shift of sounds took place ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
1k views

How to scan Robert Frost's "For Once, Then, Something"

I just read a fascinating blog post titled "Frost, Hendecasyllabics & For Once, Then, Something". The blog post describes the challenges of scanning Robert Frost's poem "For Once, Then, Something" ...
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18 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why did the alexandrine become the "natural" metre for French verse drama, whereas English renaissance drama adopted the iambic pentameter?

We previously had a question asking Were all of Shakespeare's plays fully in iambic pentameter?, but of course, it wasn't just Shakespeare who used iambic pentameter; it became the prevalent metre in ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
7k views

How to figure out if something is iambic pentameter?

I have an assignment where I have to write a Shakespearean sonnet for my professor (who is very strict about the formatting of the assignment). Are there any ways/tricks in which I can figure out if ...
Joe Kerr's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
656 views

Resources for determining the meter of a line in Shakespeare

Most of Shakespeare's plays are written in iambic pentameter,‎ which is part of what makes the verse so powerful.‎ However,‎ due to differences between different manuscripts of the text, and words ...
ak0000's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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What is the rhythm of the line 'I want a hero, an uncommon want'?

What is the rhythm of the following line from the start of Byron's Don Juan? I want a hero: an uncommon want, Is it iambic or trochaic? It's a tetrameter and not a pentameter that I am aware of. ...
Sanjana's user avatar
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