Meter in Sonnet 94

Meter Examples in Sonnet 94:

Sonnet 94 2

"Lilies..."   (Sonnet 94)

The final line’s meter contains several aberrations from the normal iambic pentameter. Rather than following the typical alternating rhythms of unstressed and stressed syllables, the line has two unexpected stresses: “Lil-ies that fes-ter smell far worse than weeds.” The initial stress in “Lilies” mirrors the same stress in poem’s first word, “they.” Both “lilies” and “they” refer to the same subject: people who wield the power of beauty. Both words exhibit this power in their conspicuously dominant metrical upheavals.

"They..."   (Sonnet 94)

The word “they” noticeably alters the iambic pentameter of the rest of the poem. As the line’s first syllable, it ought to be unstressed. Instead, it takes a stress, inverting the first foot from an iamb to a trochee. In a sense, “they” subjugates “that” in a manner that imitates the “power to hurt.”