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pentameter(pĕntăm`ətər) [Gr.,=measure of five], in prosody, a line to be scanned in five feet (see versificationversification,
principles of metrical practice in poetry. In different literatures poetic form is achieved in various ways; usually, however, a definite and predictable pattern is evident in the language.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The third line of Thomas Nashe's "Spring" is in pentameter: "Cold doth / not sting, / the pret / ty birds / do sing." Iambic pentameter, in which each foot contains an unaccented syllable and an accented syllable, is the most common English meter. Chaucer first used it in what was later called rhyme royal, seven iambic pentameters rhyming ababbcc; as Chaucer pronounced a final short e, his pentameters often end in an 11th, unstressed syllable. In his Canterbury Tales the pentameters are disposed in rhyming pairs. The pentameter couplet was used also by his imitators in Scotland, with the important difference that when the final e disappeared from speech the couplet became one of strict pentameters. This, known as the heroic couplet, became important in the 17th and 18th cent., notably in the hands of Dryden and Pope.
Blank verse, a succession of unrhymed iambic pentameters, is primarily an English form and has been used in the loftiest epic and dramatic verse from Shakespeare and Milton to the present.True wit is Nature to advantage dress'd,
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd.Pope, "Essay on Criticism"
The sonnetsonnet,And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.Shakespeare, The Tempest, iv:1
poem of 14 lines, usually in iambic pentameter, restricted to a definite rhyme scheme. There are two prominent types: the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet, composed of an octave and a sestet (rhyming abbaabba cdecde
..... Click the link for more information. is one of the most familiar and successful uses of iambic pentameter in English poetry.
in ancient prosody, a dactylic line formed by doubling the first hemistich of a hexameter; each of the two hemistichs consists of two and a half dactylic feet. The hemi-stichs are divided by a caesura, and the dactyls may be replaced by spondees only in the first hemistich. The metric scheme is .
The pentameter was used only in alternation with the hexameter, to form the elegaic couplet; in this form it was the basic meter of ancient elegies and epigrams. An example of a tonic rendition of an elegaic couplet whose second line is a pentameter follows (from a poem by A. S. Pushkin):
Slýshu umólknuvshii zvúk bozhéstvennoi éllinskoi réchi,
Stártsa velíkogo tén’ chúiu smushchë́nnoi dushói.