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You are watching: What is the predominant meter of the line "hickory dickory dock"?


A brief exploration of the assorted aspects of sound that deserve to be utilized as soon as making a poem. The crafting of the aural facets of a poem is what we might call "ear training." Thus, the crafting of the visual facets is what we"d speak to "eye training."

Poetic Feet

There are two parts to the term iambic pentameter. The first part refers to the type of poetic foot being offered predominantly in the line. A poetic foot is a straightforward repeated sequence of meter composed of 2 or more accented or unaccented syllables. In the instance of an iambic foot, the sequence is "unaccented, accented". Tright here are other kinds of poetic feet generally found in English language poetry.

The main feet are described utilizing these terms (an example word from Fussell"s examples is offered alongside them):

Iambic: ruin (unaccented/accented)Anapestic: intervene (unaccented/unaccented/accented)Trochaic: topsy (accented/unaccented)Dactylic: merrily (accented/unaccented/unaccented)

The substitutive feet (feet not provided as major, instead offered to supplement and also vary a primary foot) are described using these terms:

Spondaic: hum drum (accented/accented)Pyrrhic: the sea/ boy of/ mists (the "son of" in the middle being unaccented/unaccented)

The second part of specifying iambic pentameter has to carry out via line length.

Line Length

The poetic foot then shows the placement of accented and also unaccented syllables. But the second component of the term, pentameter, mirrors the number of feet per line. In the instance of pentameter, there are basically 5 feet per line.

The kinds of line lengths are as follows:

One foot: MonometerTwo feet: DimeterThree feet: TrimeterFour feet: TetrameterFive feet: PentameterSix feet: HexameterSalso feet: HeptameterEight feet: Octameter

Racount is a line of a poem longer than eight feet seen in English language poetry (the poet C.K. Williams is an exception).

Line length and also poetic feet are the majority of quickly seen in even more formal verse. The example over from D.G. Rossetti is pretty obviously iambic pentameter. And Rossetti uses an accentual-syllabic meter to flesh out his poem through quite a little bit of success. What most free verse poets discover more valuable than this strict create is accentual meter, where the accents just are counted in the line (although once scanned, the syllables are still noted is simply that their number is not of as much import.)

Take this free-verse instance from James Merrill:


Things to note about this poem:

There is no any type of "set" meter in this poem, yet the meter clearly plays a vital function in its performance. In particular it is worth noting the line that stands alone (line 7). Notice that Merrill moves toward iambic pentameter in line 6 and also then sustains it with line 7. Here tbelow is an invariation from the typical set-meter/variation sequence that is found in the majority of more formal poeattempt. Here the variation comes in the relocate right into collection meter, rather than varying from a collection meter.

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Just like creating a visual pattern in a poem, creating a meter creates expectations in your reader. Consequently, as through pattern, to differ that meter is to develop focus. Some will certainly say that your ear must be the initially judge on these matters quite than your eye (looking at the scanned poem). There is most likely some reality to this. Many kind of poets will certainly tell you that you must constantly check out a poem out loud numerous times eextremely time you obtain a draft done. If it does not sound excellent eexceptionally time, tbelow could be something that isn"t working. This is wbelow scanning the poem might come in handy; dissecting the lines and sculpting them till they sound better.