Rhyme and Meter
Rhyme Lines of poetry are often divided into sections called stanzas
2 lines = couplet 3 lines = tercet 4 lines = quatrain 5 lines = pentad (hardly ever used) 6 lines = sestet 7 lines = septet 8 lines = octet
Rhyme We mark rhyme by placing lower case letters at the ends of the lines. Try this… For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings, That then I scorn to change my state with kings. “Sonnet 29” - Shakespeare
Rhyme Easy, right! Now try this…
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings, a That then I scorn to change my state with kings a Easy, right! Now try this… They are all gone into the world of light! And I alone sit lingering here; Their very memory is fair and bright, And my sad thoughts doth clear. “They Are All Gone into the World of Light” - Henry Vaughan
Rhyme They are all gone into the world of light! a
And I alone sit lingering here; b Their very memory is fair and bright, a And my sad thoughts doth clear b Quatrains can also be made up of 2 couplets!
Rhyme Come live with me and be my love, a
And we will all the pleasures prove, a That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, b Woods, or steepy mountain yields b “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” - Christopher Marlowe Let’s try a harder one!
Rhyme She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies; And all that's best of dark and bright Meet in her aspect and her eyes: Thus mellow'd to that tender light Which heaven to gaudy day denies. “She Walks in Beauty” – Lord Byron
Rhyme It is a sestet made up of 2 tercets (terza rime)
She walks in beauty, like the night a Of cloudless climes and starry skies; b And all that's best of dark and bright a Meet in her aspect and her eyes: b Thus mellow'd to that tender light a Which heaven to gaudy day denies b
Rhyme Terza rime can also look like this… a “Villanelle”
Do not go gentle into that good night, a Old age should burn and rave at close of day; b Rage, rage against the dying of the light. a Though wise men at their end know dark is right, a Because their words had forked no lightning they b Do not go gentle into that good night. a “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” – Dylan Thomas
Meter Like music, most poems have a specific number of beats per line.
Modern poetry tends to follow the rhythm of natural speech Older poems tend to follow a formal rhythm system called “meter”
Meter Determining the meter of a poem is a process called “scansion”
A unit of measure is called a “foot” A foot is made up a stressed syllable (/) and the unstressed syllables (-) that go with it.
Meter unstressed, stressed (-/) = iamb
stressed, unstressed (/-) = trochee 2 unstressed, 1 stressed (--/) = anapest 1 stressed, 2 unstressed (/--) = dactyl
Iamb That time of year thou mayst in me behold - / - / - / - / - /
Examine the syllables That time of year thou mayst in me behold Decide which are stressed and which are not - / / / / /
Iamb Divide into feet - / / / / / That time I of year I thou mayst I in me I behold 5 feet of iambic meter = “iambic pentameter”
Trochee Double double toil and trouble / - / - / - / - / - / - / - / -
/ / / / - / / / / - Double I double I toil and I trouble
Anapest 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / / / / / / / / 'Twas the night I before Christ I mas, when all I through the house *Remember, we are looking at syllables not words!
Dactyl Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, / - - / - -
/ / Half a league,I half a league, *Just try to find the “beat” of the poem as you read.
You try! She walks in beauty, like the night
And he breathed in the face of the foe as he passed She walks in beauty, like the night Fire burn and cauldron bubble Caught in a trap in the depths of the caldera
She walks I in beau I ty, like I the night Iamb!
/ / / / And he breathed I in the face I of the foe I as he passed Anapest! / / / / She walks I in beau I ty, like I the night Iamb!
/ / / / - Fire I burn and I cauldron I bubble Trochee! / / / / Caught in a I trap in the I depths of the I caldera Dactyl!
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