Meter in The Lady of Shalott
The Lady of Shalott” is irregularly metered. Generally, its lines are iambic, meaning that they are constructed of iambs, metrical feet consisting of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables. In each stanza, all lines but the final refrain containing “Shalott” are in iambic tetrameter, meaning that they consist of four metrical iambs. The “Shalott” refrain is trimetric, with three metrical feet instead of four. This pattern, however, is far from consistent. Tennyson varies his meter between iambic and trochaic—a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable—throughout the poem, and occasionally adds or subtracts syllables to the ends of lines to alter the terminal stresses. This can affect the flow of the lines, as two stressed or unstressed syllables in a row disrupt the expected musicality of the poem and require more attention from readers.
Meter Examples in The Lady of Shalott:
Text of the Poem🔒
"Heard a carol, mournful, holy 145 Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, ..." See in text (Text of the Poem)