Figure Name meter
Source Hill (1883); Waddy (1889); Kellog (1880) ("rhyme") ("rhythm")
Earliest Source
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Phonological

1. 2. Meter.
The regular recurrence of the accent constitutes meter. This regular movement economizes expectant attention by the certainty that a definite structure will follow.
(1) Proof of the Value of Meter.- A proof that the structure is anticipated is found in the fact that a shock of disappointment is felt when the meter is imperfect. (Hill)

1. (3) The Adaptation of Meter to Poetry.- It is evident that meter is not so well adapted to the expression of pure thought as to the expression of pure feeling, or the emotive images which produce feeling. There is an incongruity between pure thought and any uniform structure. A predetermined measure is a fetter to the expression of abstract though, and its stiffness appears in the more purely thoughtful passages of didactic poetry. Meter often necessitates inversions and transpositions which obscure the thought. Rhyme limits the vocabulary too much for the exact expression of pure thought. Hence intellctive statements are awkward in verse. The expression of emotion, however, finds in verse no real barrier. Emotion is less dependent on exact propositions, and arises more from affecting images, which may be combined as readily in meter as without it. (Hill)

1. (4) Rhythm.- Rhythm differs from meter in requiring a less regular recurrence of accent. Aristotle holds that every prose sentence should possess rhythm but not meter. The practice of the best ancient writers evinces an aesthetic perception of rhythmical beauty seldom equaled by the moderns. (Hill)

1. (5) Meter no Violation of Variety.- Meter is an apparent violation of the law of variety, but it is only apparent. Thought requires freedom of movement for its full and natural expression; hence great variety as essential to prose, and its proper movement is rhythmical. Emotion is best produced by contemplating a series of emotive images, without any abstraction of the attention hence its proper movement is metrical. (Hill)

2. Meter (Greek metron, a measure), is the arrangement into verse of definite measures of sounds definitely accented. As we use the term, it more strictly refers to the number of feet in the respective lines, and varies with the number of the accented syllables. In English, meter depends almost wholly upon the accent, rhythm. (Waddy)

3. 3. RHYME.-Rhyme is the accordance in sound of the final syllables of verses. A couplet is the two verses which rhyme with each other. The rhyming syllables must not be completely identical in sound but only similar-identical from the accented vowel to the end, as in this couplet:-
A man he was to all the country d'ear'
And passing rich with forty pounds a y'ear'.
If the final foot in each verse of the couplet is accented on the last syllable but one,-is a trochee or an amphibrach-the syllables next to the last must rhyme, the last syllables, in this case, being identical. Such rhymes [are] called double rhymes... (Kellog, 248)

3. If the final foot in each verse of the couplet is a dactyl, the last syllable but two in one verse is that which must rhyme with the corresponding syllable in the other. Such rhymes [are] called triple rhymes... (Kellog, 249

3. VI. The use of rhythm contributes to elegance. Prose rhythm is the quality in a sentence which requires of the one reading it aloud a rise and a fall of the voice. The reader climbs one side of a hill and descends on the other. The parts of the sentence are nicely balanced, often turning on the pivot of a 'but'. This quality is most frequently seen in sentences containing antitheses. (Kellog, 174)


1. (1) One may descend a flight of steps in the dark with rapidity and safety, if the steps are all equal, but one is sure to be impeded by inequalities. Why is this? It is evidently owing to the certainty of uniformity in the steps, and the consequent removal of the necessity for constant attention. So in a metrical composition, the uniformity of structure relieves the mind from expectant attention. (Hill)

1. (2) Example.- An example will illustrate this statement. The following description in prose demands some attention to the irregular construction of the sentences, which abstracts just so much power from the total ability of the mind to feel the beauty of the scene described:
"The sinuous paths of moss and lawn that li across and along through this garden, some at once open to the breeze and the sun, some lost among bowers of blossoming trees, were all paved with delicate bells and daises, as fair as the fabulous asphodels, and flowerets, drooping as day drooped, that fell into blue, purple, and white pavilions, to roof the glow-worm from the dew of evening."
See now how much more impressive the loveliness of this scene becomes, when the poet's art, by rhyme and meter, removes the necessity of attention to the sentential structure:
"And the sinuous paths of lawn and moss,
That led through this garden along and across,
Some open at once to the sun and the breeze,
Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees,
Were all paved with daises and delicate bells,
As fair as the fabulous asphodels,
And flow'rets drooping as day drooped too,
Fell into pavilions white, purple, and blue,
To roof the glow-worm from the evening dew." (Hill)

3. But the young, young children, O my brothers,
Do you ask them why they stand
Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers
In our happy father-land? (Kellog, 248)

3. Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care,
Fashioned so slenderly,
Young and so fair. (Kellog, 249)

Kind Of Symmetry
Part Of
Related Figures tautophony
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No