Accentual verse

Accentual verse

Accentual verse has a fixed number of stresses per line or stanza regardless of the number of syllables that are present. It is common in languages that are stress-timed such as English as opposed to syllabic verse, which is common in syllable-timed languages such as classical Latin.

Nursery Rhymes are the most common form of Accentual verse in the English Language. The following poem, Baa Baa Black Sheep, has two stresses in each line, but a varying number of syllables. (Bold represents stressed syllables, and the number of syllables in each line is noted)Baa, baa, black sheep, (4)Have you any wool? (5)Yes sir, yes sir, (4)Three bags full; (3)One for the mas-ter, (5)And one for the dame, (5)And one for the lit-tle boy (7)Who lives down the lane. (5)

Accentual verse derives its musical qualities from its flexibility with unstressed syllables and tends to follow the natural speech patterns of English.

Accentual-syllabic verse is an extension of accentual verse.

ee also

* Bridges' Prosody of Accentual Verse


* [ article on accentual verse, with examples] by Dana Gioia

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