Basic English Prosody (Poetry)
Lines are made up of one or more feet, as follows:
- monometer: one foot
- dimeter: two feet
- trimeter: three feet
- tetrameter: four feet
- pentameter: five feet
- hexameter: six feet
- septameter: seven feet
So "iambic pentameter" means a line consisting of five iambic feet and "trochaic trimeter" means a line consisting of three trochees.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a little poem as an aid to remembering the feet:
Trochee trips from long to short,
From long to short in solemn sort.
Slow spondee stalks; strong foot yet ill able
Ever to come up with Dactyl tri-syllable.
Iambics march from short to long--
With a leap and a bound the swift Anapests throng.
- Lyric: Short poem expressing personal emotion
- Epic: Long narrative poem involving mythology
- Ballad: Short poem about a legend or historic event
- Ode: Meditative poem of middle length, often about a public event or issue
- Satire: According to Samuel Johnson, "a poem in which wickedness or folly is censured"
- Italian (Petrarchan, Miltonic) Sonnet: lyric of 14 lines of iambic pentameter divided into an octet (rhymed abbaabba) and a sestet (rhymed cdecde or cdcdcd)
- Spenserian Sonnet: rhymed abab bcbc cdcd ee
- English (Elizabethan, Shakesperean) Sonnet: rhymed abab cdcd efef gg
5 anapest lines with this scheme:
- Lines 1,2,5: [˘] ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ [˘] [˘]
- Lines 3,4: [˘] ˘ ¯ ˘ ˘ ¯ [˘] [˘]
There was a young lady of Niger.
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.