How Do You Identify The Metre Of A Poem?


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A poem's metre is its overall rhythmic pattern. The usual way to find the metre is to divide a line into approximately equal parts and see what stress pattern dominates it. Each part or division is called a foot, and feet have different names depending on where their stress falls. Some common types of metric foot are:
iamb – one weak, followed by one strong stress ("to BE or NOT to BE")
trochee – one strong, one weak ("DOUble, DOUble, TOIL and TROUble")
anapaest – two weak, one strong ("I SPRANG to the STIRRup, and JORis, and HE..")
spondee – two strong; this is quite unusual in English ("NO,NO, go not to Lethe…")
dactyl – one strong, two weak ("HICKory, DICKory,DOCK…")
To describe the number of feet in a line, terms based on Greek numbers are used: a dimeter has two feet, a trimeter three , a tetrameter four, a pentameter five and a hexameter six.

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