AD's English Literature : Poetic Term: Prosody, Metre and Terza Rima

Poetic Term: Prosody, Metre and Terza Rima

That art of writing poetry or part of grammar which deals with laws governing the structure of verse or versification is called prosody. It encompasses the study of all the elements of language that contribute towards acoustic or rhythmic effects chiefly in poetry but also in prose. Ezra pound called prosody “the articulation of the total sound of a poem ". Simply speaking all that can produce harmony and melody in poetry may be taken as the subject - matter of poetry. The plinth of prosody is based on two elements -- quality and accent. However, the accent is the key factor in understanding prosody.

(Metrics) Metre measures the rhythm of a line of a verse or the theory of the phonetic structure of verse. The word metre derives from Greek word ' mefrom' which means ' measure'. Traditionally metre refers to the regular, recurrence of feet. According to the Hungarian -- American linguist John Lotz, “In some languages there are texts in which the phonetic material within certain syntactic frames, such as sentences, phrase, and word is numerically regulated. Such text is called verse, and its distinctive characteristic is metre ". Metrics is the study of metre of a verse.

                             There are basically four types of metres. They are:
                                i) Syllable - stress or accented syllabic metres
                                ii) Strong stress metres
                               iii) Syllabic metres
                               iv) Quantitative metres.

A three rhymed pattern (i . e   three line are rhyming together ) is called a triplet or tercet . Three lines with one set of rhyming words can be found in Tennyson or Dryden's poetry etc. This is however, not very common in English and is generally used to give variety to a poem in the rhyming couplet. However, the rhymes are sometimes linked from verse to verse and may be run as aba -- bcb -- cdc -- ded -- and so on . This form of triplet is called Terza Rima . It is borrowed from Italian and was employed by Dante in his Devine comedy. The finest example of it in English is Shelly Ode To The West Wind which, however, ends in a couplet.

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