DEFINITION OF METER
Meter is the rhythm established by a poem, and it is usually dependent not only on the number of syllables in a line but also on the way those syllables are accented. This rhythm is often described as a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables. The rhythmic unit is often described as a foot; patterns of feet can be identified and labeled. A foot may be iambic, which follows a pattern of unstressed/stressed syllables. For example, read aloud: "The DOG went WALKing DOWN the ROAD and BARKED." Because there are five iambs, or feet, this line follows the conventions of iambic pentameter (pent = five), the common form in Shakespeare's time. Stressed syllables are conventionally labeled with a "/" mark and unstressed syllables with a "U" mark.


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