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Meter in The Wild Swans at Coole

Meter Examples in The Wild Swans at Coole:

The Wild Swans at Coole


"Upon the brimming water among the stones..."   (The Wild Swans at Coole)

Yeats employs an interesting metrical scheme. In each stanza, the first four lines follow a pattern of alternating tetrameter and trimeter—four beats and three beats—a classic song-like scheme. The fifth line, however, is in pentameter, a five-beat line. This causes a noticeable pause before the stanza ends in a line of familiar trimeter. The pause is fitting with one of the the poem’s themes: the desire to stop and appreciate the world while there is still time, before the swans fly away.

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