Trademark Logo 


   "1. (of a line of verse) lacking part of the last
foot; metrically incomplete, as the second line
of One more unfortunate/Weary of breath."

(Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of
the English Language - Gramercy Books)

    "A very different quality was sought by Browning
in Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister
(O2.1286/N913), one of the great hate poems in

   There's a great text in Galatians,
     Once you trip on it, entails
   Twentry-nine distinct damnations,
     One sure if another fails:

It sounds more natural...though still odd; but the
whole poem shows that the monk who speaks the
lines is also odd, and the metrical oddity suggests
his mental oddity, the unusual stresses as much as
the actual words betraying the monk's obsessions.
Trochaic effects vary, but it's always worth noting
a falling rhythm, and asking what use the poet is
making of it.
  You'll notice that the second and fourth lines in
Browning's stanza are missing their last unstressed
beat (or have an incomplete fourth trochee)...In the
same way, iambic and anapaestic lines can be
missing their first unstressed beat. These short lines
are catalectic lines (from the Greek catalektikos,
meaning "to leave off"), and are common; it is almost
always unstressed beats at the beginning or end of
the line that are missing."
(The Poetry Handbook, John Lennard, Oxford University
Press, New York NY.)


Ask additional questions via Feedback or Ask Us.