One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A line of verse consisting of seven metrical feet.
- ‘The heptameter is often used in writing ballads, and is indeed frequently known as ‘the ballad line’.’
- ‘Iambic heptameters, known as ‘fourteeners’ from their syllabic count, were employed by a number of poets in the 15th and 16th centuries, for example in Chapman's translation of Homer.’
- ‘Poems written in heptameter tend to jog along and are usually comic in character.’
- ‘Hexameters, for example, are difficult to handle, and heptameters are apt to break into two lines of four and three stresses each, the so-called ballad metre.’
- ‘One of my goals, then, is to put students in a position to ask, ‘Why did Wordsworth choose a heptameter line for this poem?’’
Late 19th century: via late Latin from Greek heptametron, from hepta- ‘seven’ + metron ‘measure’.
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