Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

J. E. Wallace Wallin, 
others, the “foot,”1 “ measure,”2 or “bar”; and others,3 4 the scheme 
whereby a fixed number of stresses at fixed points is marked out for the 
verse, whence we derive the terms dimeter, trimeter, tetrameter, penta¬ 
meter and hexameter. According to Poe,* meter has to do with the num¬ 
ber of feet, rhythm with the character of feet (the arrangement of sylla¬ 
bles). Finally, meter has been made synonymous with the line5 or verse 
group, whence our “long” and “short” meter. This is the only kind 
of meter, or rhythm, recognized by Japanese and Persian prosody, the 
poetry of both of these languages having, theoretically, no accent. 
Guest6 provides, perhaps, the most comprehensive definition of the 
term. He makes it inclusive of three factors, according to the following 
scheme : 
1 i.Elements—syllables, verses, staves. 
Meter -i 2. Accidents—quantity, accent, modification of sound. 
[ 3. Law of succession. 
Into a discussion of the propriety of these several views it is not our 
present purpose to enter. In so far as meter is synonymous with the verse 
and foot intervals, the two orders of meter will receive due consideration 
in the appropriate place. 
The word verse is subject to a similar ambiguity. In prosody it is em¬ 
ployed in three different senses : (1) A number of feet, or succession of 
words, constituting a metrical line. (2) A group of lines thus com¬ 
posed. (3) Metrical composition, as distinguished from prose. 
The words foot, bar and measure are the popular words used to signify 
the intervals bounded by accented syllables. 
The foot, in poetry, is generally defined as a succession of long and 
short or accented and unaccented syllables ; the measure, as meter, or a 
rhythmical period ; and the bar is a variant of the two. Th ; first is ex¬ 
clusively applied to poetry ; the second and third are also applied to 
music. In poetry they are generally employed as synonymous terms. 
To designate the intervals of vacancy in speech the terms pause, rest, 
stop and silence are indifferently employed. The term rest finds favor in 
musical terminology ; the word stop is synonymous sometimes with the 
punctuation mark and sometimes with the making of a change in pitch. 
1 Mayor, Chapters on English Metre, 5 ff-, London 1886. 
2 Arnold, A Manual of English Literature, appendix, Boston 1891. 
3 Gurney, The Power of Sound, 425, Lond. 1880; Corson, Arnold, as before. 
4 Poe, The Rationale of Verse, Works, VI 56, Chicago 1895. 
5 Lanier, The Science of English Verse, 234, New York 1880. 
6 Guest, A History of English Rhythms, London 1882.


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