Dactylic tetrameter

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For the dactylic tetrameter in Greek and Latin poetry, see Alcmanian verse.
Metrical feet
Disyllables
˘ ˘ pyrrhus, dibrach
˘ ¯ iamb
¯ ˘ trochee, choree
¯ ¯ spondee
Trisyllables
˘ ˘ ˘ tribrach
¯ ˘ ˘ dactyl
˘ ¯ ˘ amphibrach
˘ ˘ ¯ anapaest, antidactylus
˘ ¯ ¯ bacchius
¯ ¯ ˘ antibacchius
¯ ˘ ¯ cretic, amphimacer
¯ ¯ ¯ molossus

Dactylic tetrameter is a metre in poetry. It refers to a line consisting of four dactylic feet. "Tetrameter" simply means four poetic feet. Each foot has a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables, the opposite of an anapest, sometimes called antidactylus to reflect this fact.

Example[edit]

A dactylic foot is one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed ones:

DUM da da

A dactylic tetrameter would therefore be:

DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da DUM da da

Scanning this using an "x" to represent an unstressed syllable and a "/" to represent a stressed syllable would make a dactylic tetrameter like the following:

/ x x / x x / x x / x x

The following lines from The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" demonstrate this, the scansion being:

/
x
x
/
x
x
/
x
x
/
x
x
Pic- ture your- self in a boat on a riv- er with
/
x
x
/
x
x
/
x
x
/
x
x
tan- ger- ine tree- ees and marm- a- lade skii- ii- es

Another example, from Browning:

/
x
x
/
x
x
/
x
x
/
x
Just for a hand- ful of sil- ver he left us!

See also[edit]