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

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Analysis of a self-written stanza in terms of meter?

A long time ago I used to write poetry, and there was one particular stanza that has always stuck with me and seemed inherently rhythmic, but I’m not familiar with the relevant terminology and so I’m ...
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'meter' vs. 'rhythm': How do their meanings in poetry differ from those in music?

'meter' and 'rhythm' are termed in poetry and music. So what are their parallels? Their differences? Source: Listening to Music (2013 7 ed, but ∃ 8 ed) by Yale Prof. Craig Wright: [p. 463] meter: ...
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How does anacrusis simulate a ship's pushing back from dock?

[ Source : ] Interestingly, anakrouein or anacrusis is also found in Greek poetry, where the first syllable is not accented. Being the sea-faring people as they were, starting a poem with anacrusis ...
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Meter and number of syllables per line in “The Raven”

After reading some analysis of "The Raven", I've become confused about how syllables are counted. For example, in the second line: Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore A few ...
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A break in the 5-7-5-7-7 meter?

So I was reading about Waka poetry and then about the tanka meter, when I came across several poems by Ono no Komachi and Narihira. The ついにゆく poem from Narihira has 8 syllables rather than 7 in the ...
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Scanning the line “And every spirit upon earth” in Thomas Hardy's “The Darkling Thrush”

In the Thomas Hardy poem "The Darkling Thrush", one line seems to scan quite jarringly compared to the even iambic meter of the others: The land's sharp features seemed to me The Century's corpse ...
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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 ...
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Why isn't Coleridge's line about trochees missing an unstressed syllable?

Samuel Coleridge wrote this really fun poem, Metrical Feet: Lesson for a Boy, that names and gives examples of the various types of metric feet. I've included a copy and scanned the poem to make the ...
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Why do the witches in Macbeth rarely speak in iambic pentameter?

Shakespeare is pretty well known for writing in iambic pentameter. One important exception to this are the witches in Macbeth, who speak in everything from trochaic meter: Double, double toil and ...
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Is there a name for version of trochaic tetrameter with lines of 8|7|8|7 syllables

Is there a name for the meter used in Clementine: Drove she ducklings to the water Every morning just at nine Struck her foot against a splinter Fell into the foaming brine or in Schiller's Ode to ...
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How does scansion work in Arabic poetry?

I was reading about Arabic poetry on Wikipedia, and specifically the description of scansion: The rhymed poetry falls within fifteen different meters collected and explained by al-Farahidi in The ...
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Do rap lyrics require metrical feet in English with long and short syllables?

I finally got a round to checking out Straight Outta Compton and it got me thinking seriously about metric feet in English poetry, and English poetry in general. It's long been my suspicion that one ...
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Should there be a trochee in the second to last line of Thomas Hardy's “The Oxen”?

I'm working through the website For Better for Verse, and I'm currently working on a scansion of Thomas Hardy's "The Oxen". The last verse looks like this: "In the lonely barton by yonder comb ...
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3answers
264 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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2answers
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Are there any gender-neutral alternatives to the phrase “feminine ending”

A feminine ending is a line in verse where the last syllable is slack. For example, the first four lines of Hamlet's famous "to be or not to be" monologue all have feminine endings. To be, or not ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...