Caesura

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caesura

1. (in modern prosody) a pause, esp for sense, usually near the middle of a verse line.
2. (in classical prosody) a break between words within a metrical foot, usually in the third or fourth foot of the line

Caesura

 

in poetry, a regular break between words in a poem.

In classical poetry, a caesura usually occurred within a foot; in accentual-syllabic verse it usually coincides with the foot ending. The caesura occurs after the second foot in the iambic pentameter line, as in “Eshche odno ∥ poslednee skazan’e” (“Yet one last tale,” Pushkin); after the third foot in iambic and trochaic hexameter lines, for example, “Dni pozdnei oseni ∥ braniat obyknovenno” (“The days of late autumn are usually cursed,” Pushkin); and occasionally after the second foot in the amphibrachic tetrameter line, as in “Gliazhu kak bezumnyi, ∥ na chernuiu shal’” (“I gaze like a madman upon the black shawl,” Pushkin). The longer the line, the greater the need for a caesura. Usually a strong intonational pause, a caesura approaches the strength of a line ending. As with a clausula, the foot preceding a caesura may by truncated or augmented; it may also rhyme, for example, “Tri u Budrysa syna, ∥ kak i on, tri litvina” (“Budrys has three sons, like him, Lithuanians,” Pushkin).


Caesura

 

in music, a division between sections of a musical work. Together with other factors, a caesura ensures the perception of the articulation of a work and its structure. There are no special markings to indicate a caesura; in part, phrasing ligatures permit their location to be judged. In a number of instances, a caesura coincides with natural pauses between notes; they always appear after melodic and harmonic cadences, after a hold, and at transitions to a repeat. The significance, or impact, of a caesura is proportional to the scale of the sections it divides and the degree to which they appear a completed entity. In a number of instances, varying opinions concerning the location and significance of a caesura are possible; together with other features, such differences mold the distinctiveness of individual interpretations.

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Upon examination, the devices by which Murphy achieves this plainness are sustained through the poem, and they are often effects well established in handbooks of poetics and even classical rhetoric: repetition ('it blew and blew hard and blew hard'); breach of rules of punctuation--apart from capital letters at the opening of each stanza and the caesural gaps as in the 'hugging it' line, there is no mark of punctuation in the poem; phonetic echoing in the occasional rhymes and half-rhymes ('found' / 'Sound'; 'Pier' / 'there'); and so on.