Whitman experimented with meter, rhythm, and form because he believed that invention was the gospel of the contemporary world and that experimentation was the rule of the changing times. Because of the form of English speech, the iambic pentameter is the most widely employed meter in English poetry. It is based on five pairs of syllables: an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one; each pair consisting of a short syllable followed by a long one.
Whitman used this meter extensively, sometimes consciously imitating traditional poems, other times quite spontaneously. For example, in "When I Heard at the Close of Day," he begins with an imitation of a 17th-century poem but then proceeds differently than expected:
It was when I heard at close of day The sound of muffled drums, distant yet near, And low, prolonged notes of horns and flutes...
Here ends the quotation from Shakespeare's Henry V. However, instead of following the text of the play immediately after this extract, Whitman goes on to discuss the Civil War for another hundred lines or more.
He used this device frequently in Leaves of Grass, often starting poems with brief extracts from other works (or even real life) to highlight certain ideas in his own writing.
Common people talked in prose, whereas aristocratic characters further up the social food chain spoke in iambic pentameter. This type of poetic meter was particularly popular during Shakespeare's day. Despite its complexity, iambic pentameter is a simple rhythmic pattern. The five pairs of syllables that make up each line of poetry follow strict rules about which sounds should be produced when they are spoken. For example, humans can sound like dogs (bark) or cows (moo) when we speak, but only dogs can bark and only cows can moo.
Shakespeare used this metered language to create some of the most memorable lines in literary history. Here are just a few examples from his work: "To be or not to be...that is the question" (Hamlet), "Norfolk is dead. Who will take him now? Heralds, proclaim his death" (Henry V). "What thing on earth/Does it most resemble? A grinning skull!" (Macbeth).
The earliest evidence of Shakespeare's use of meter comes from two of his early comedies, The Taming of the Shrew and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. In these plays, everyone speaks in prose until the very end, when all the main characters die.
Meter is a literary device used in poetry as a structural element. Meter is the fundamental rhythmic pattern of a line inside a poem or creative composition. Meter is used to impose a set number of syllables and stress on a line of poetry, which adds to its musicality. Generally, there are three types of meters used in poetry: iambic pentameter, trochaic tetrameter and hendecasyllabics. However, any sequence of metered lines can be used to create a poem.
Iambic pentameter is the most common meter used in English poetry. It consists of five feet with a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable: "*-a-bob-de-ay/So-sue-me-" (this is how the foot is written down). Iambic pentameter was originally devised as a form of entertainment for people to listen to while drinking wine at court during the early 17th century. It has been suggested that it was also used as a means of showing off one's wealth by using complex meter instead of simple rhythm. Either way, it is now used throughout the world as a standard form of poetic measurement.
Trochaic tetrameter is another common meter used in English poetry. It consists of four strong beats followed by a weak beat: "-tro-ja-ci-an-te/-" (this is how the foot is written down).
A fast-paced, bright rhythm can be achieved by using only one syllable between each accent in an enthusiastic, spirited poetry. Meter assists a poet or reader in developing a suitable stride, allowing intended emotions and feelings to be appropriately portrayed. For example, if you wanted to write a poem about love, using this meter would be appropriate:
Love is beautiful, love is grace, Love is eternal still.
Meter also helps create a dramatic atmosphere in poems. For example, if you wanted to write a horror story, using this meter would be appropriate:
Each night at midnight, the bell will toll. Death will come for some, but not for all.
Meter can also help draw readers into a poem. If you were to write a short essay using this meter, it would sound like this:
The dog barked in the yard. I went inside my house. When I came back out, the dog had stopped barking.
I think that using meter is useful because it can help make emotion seem real or tangible. For example, when you read a poem that uses meter, you feel like you are walking or running through the lines of text. This makes the poem seem more alive!
Whitman writes in free verse in a clear, patriotic list style. It is the repeating of a word's beginning letters. It appears in the final line with "singing," "powerful," and "songs." Free verse is when you write without worrying about strict rules such as meter or rhyme. Instead, you focus on expressing yourself through the language.
Some examples of free verse are John Milton's Paradise Lost, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and Carl Sandburg's Chicago Poems. These writers have freedom in what they can say because there are no limits on how many lines or syllables they need to finish a poem. Sometimes called open form poetry, it allows for more expression than fixed-form poetry like sonnets or villanellas.
Free verse is popular among some modern poets because of its democratic nature. No one is above making something up and using it in a poem. That is why free verse is useful for creative people who want to express themselves without being restricted by rigid rules.
Walt Whitman used free verse to express his ideas about democracy and nationalism. He believed that everyone has a right to their own opinions so others should not judge others based on their background or status. Love is the only rule that matters, he said, and this love should be given to all people, even Americans and Union soldiers during the Civil War.
Because it is employed in so many ballads, common meter is often known as "ballad meter." Poems written in common meter are not required to rhyme. They nearly always do, and often follow an ABAB or ABCB rhyming structure. Common meter poems are often divided into four-line stanzas. These stanzas usually end with a repetition of some kind within the line, such as caesura (a Greek term for "break") or ending with a full stop, question mark, or exclamation point.
In medieval England, common meter poetry was associated with the courtly love tradition. The language of these poems tended to be highly formal, using many archaisms and neologisms. Today, popular common meter poems include "Mary had a Little Lamb" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".
Common meter is used by many modern poets as well. Some examples include Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, John Keats, and T. S. Eliot.
Frost wrote several poems in common meter, including "The Road Not Taken", "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", and "Wild Grapes". Williams used common meter to write about different subjects, including war, love, death, and fishing.