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Heptameter

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Metrical feet
Disyllables
˘ ˘ pyrrhus, dibrach
˘ ¯ iamb
¯ ˘ trochee, choree
¯ ¯ spondee
Trisyllables
˘ ˘ ˘ tribrach
¯ ˘ ˘ dactyl
˘ ¯ ˘ amphibrach
˘ ˘ ¯ anapest, antidactylus
˘ ¯ ¯ bacchius
¯ ¯ ˘ antibacchius
¯ ˘ ¯ cretic, amphimacer
¯ ¯ ¯ molossus
Number of feet per line
one Monometer
two Dimeter
three Trimeter
four Tetrameter
five Pentameter
six Hexameter
seven Heptameter
eight Octameter
See main article for tetrasyllables.
v · d · e

Heptameter, in poetry, means a line or lines of verse consisting of seven metrical feet.

Iambic heptameterEdit

An example of iambic heptameter (called the "fourteener"):

O could I feel as I have felt, or be what I have been,
Or weep as I could once have wept o'er many a vanish'd scene,-
As springs in deserts found seem sweet, All brackish though they be,
So midst the wither'd waste of life, These tears would flow to me!
(– Lord Byron, "Youth and Age").

(Scanned):

O COULD / I FEEL / as I / have FELT // or BE / what I / have BEEN
Or WEEP / as I / could ONCE / have WEPT / o'er MAN/y a VAN/ish'd scene
As SPRINGS / in DES/erts FOUND / seem SWEET // all BRACK/ish THOUGH / they BE
So MIDST / the WITH/er'd WASTE / of LIFE // those TEARS / would FLOW / to ME

Notice the break inside the line (called a caesura), signalled by the comma and indicated by the // symbol, after the fourth foot in three of the four lines. Heptameter verse tended to have a natural break at this point. After a while, it became the fashion to break the heptameter line at this point, the result being the forms known as ballad meter (or ballad measure), and common meter (or common measure).

Rewritten in common meter, Byron's lines would read:

O could I feel as I have felt,
Or be what I have been,
Or weep as I could once have wept
O'er many a vanish'd scene,-
As springs in deserts found seem sweet,
All brackish though they be,
So midst the wither'd waste of life,
These tears would flow to me!

ExamplesEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Original Penny's Poetry Pages article, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0.

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