Meter in Poetry is an reoccurrence of beat in regular units to produce a sequential speech sound in a systematic way, is called “meter”. Meter is a kind of poetic rhythm which is determined by the type and number of feet in a line or in a passage of verse. Analysis of meter is call scansion.
Generally, we study four types of meters in European language –
1 Quantitative, meter was used to measure as quantitative in the classic Greek and Latin. It was recognized by the relative utterance of a syllable, and originated by continual patterns of long and short syllables.
2 Syllabic, the meter used to be syllabic in France and various other Romance languages, where it was found out by the number of syllables within a line of verse without considering the count of the stresses.
3 Accentual, type of meter which was mostly followed in the older Germanic and Old English languages where only the number of stressed syllables within a line was considered, without looking to the occurrence of unstressed syllables.
4 Accentual-syllabic, it is a type of meter which contains the feature of two previous style of meter in which the metric unit composed of reoccurrence pattern of stresses in the reoccurrence number of syllables. So here, we can say both stress and syllabic the qualities are used to calculate meter. This particular one is most frequently used in poetry of Chaucer during 14th century period.
The study of theory and practice of meter is called metrics. Now, there is some terms and forms to analyze find out these meters. In much modern verse, the regularity of meter is abandoned. Instead, cadence (rhythm) approximately to the flow of speech are employed.
If one notices, there is the rise of rhythm, stresses and accents on beats which can be seen in an undergo spoken English. Meter is simply found out by the pattern of ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ stresses on the syllables compositing the words in the verse line; the strong is called the ‘stressed syllable’ and weak one is called ‘unstressed’.
In English verse the following meters are the most commonly used:
‘Iambic’, ‘Trochaic’, ‘Anapestic’, ‘Catalectic’, ‘Dactylic’, ‘Spondaic’, ‘Phyrric’.
An unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.
Example: Not one of all the purple host; a line from poem “Success is Counted Sweetest” by Emily Dickinson, where iambic meter is followed as –
Not one | of all | the pur | ple host. |
A stressed followed by an unstressed syllable.
Example: There they are, my fifty men and women; line taken from Robert Browning’s “One Word More”.
There they | are, my | fifty | men and | women. |
Some trochaic lines lack the final unstressed syllable at the end. In technical term, these lines are called Catalectic.
Example: Tyger! tyger! burning bright, In the forest of the night; lines has taken from a very fascinating work of William Blake, “The Tyger”.
Tyger! | tyger! burning | bright, | In the | forest | of the | night. |
Two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable.
Example: The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold; a line taken from the work of “The Destruction of Sennacherib” of Lord Byron.
The As syr | ian came down | like a wolf | on the fold. |
A stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables.
Example: Eve with her basket, was; Deep in the bells and grass; lines from Ralph Hodgson’s “Eve”.
Eve, with her | basket, was; Deep in the | bells and grass.
Consists of two long or stressed syllables.
Example: That the night come; last line of poem “That the night come” by William Butler Yeats.
That the | night come. |
Consists of two unstressed syllables or two short syllables.
Example: My way is to begin with the beginning; line picked out from an epic poem “Don Juan” written by Lord Byron.
My way | is to | begin | with the | beginning. |
A matric line is named according to the number of feet present in each word of a line and they are-
Monometer – one foot
Dimeter – two feet
Trimeter – three feet
Tetrameter – four feet
Pentameter – five feet
Hexameter – six feet
Heptameter – seven feet
Octameter – eight feet