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Basic Versification of Poetry (Part 1)

Rhythm in poetry refers to the patterns of repeated sounds.
Born to a throne, stronger than Rome
But Violent prone, poor people zone

Note: The italic words are the examples of rhythm

Feet: In accentual-syllabic versification the basic unit of measurement is known as the foot. The foot consists of one accented syllable accompanied by one or two unaccented syllables.

How to determine the feet in a line?
  1. Determine how many syllables are there in the line;
  2. Read naturally the sentence (in reading there must be stressed and unstressed syllables, these will be used to determine the kind of feet possesed by the line).
e.g. feet 

Kinds of Feet
  •    Iambic: 1 unaccented followed by 1 accented
e.g. iambic

  •  Trochaic: 1 accented followed by 1 unaccented
e.g. trochaic

  • Dactylic: 1 accented followed by 2 unaccented
e.g. dactylic

  • Anapestic: 2 unaccented followed by 1 accented

  • Spondaic: 2 unaccented

Metrical lines
l  Metric: the art or study of using meter/ syllabic pattern in poetry;
l  After discovering the pattern of the feet, the next step is to determine the meter;
l  To know the meter, just count how many patterns are in the line and put one of the name of line below after the name of the pattern.


  • The sentence is called iambic, since it has pattern one unstressed followed by one stressed;
  • It has four feet, so that the meter is tetrameter;
  • So the name of the above line is iambic tetrameter.
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