One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A verse of four measures.
- ‘In this way of talking, the ballad stanza alternates tetrameters (four-foot lines) with trimeters (three-foot lines).’
- ‘Here is a sudden intensification, even a transposition of senses from the visual to the aural, in the word ‘silent,’ as the poem rounds off in an exact-rhyme couplet, iambic tetrameter stretching into iambic pentameter.’
- ‘The first and third line of every stanza is iambic tetrameter, and the second and fourth iambic trimeter; this gives it the usual metrical pattern of a hymn from the Anglican hymnal.’
- ‘It is written in rhymed tetrameters, the most artless of English metres and quite unlike the majestic blank verse of Prospero the magician.’
- ‘Merging narrative with her fondness for trochaic tetrameter, a variation on the swinging ‘pick rhythm’ that drives most work songs, Yancey revises the ballad tradition in the book's concluding selections.’
Early 17th century: from late Latin tetrametrus, from Greek tetrametros, from tetra- ‘four’ + metron ‘measure’.
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