Gerard Manley Hopkins

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Analyze the 3rd and 4th lines of the meter and rhythm for the poem "Spring" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The third line of the poem "Spring" begins with a single anapest, whereby the first two syllables are unstressed and the third is stressed. The rest of the line is written in iambic meter, meaning every second syllable is stressed. The fourth line comprises four anapests, meaning it is written in anapestic tetrameter.

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The fact that the third line is written mostly in iambic meter means that it has a quicker rhythm than the fourth line, which is written in anapestic meter. This is because in an iambic meter, the stressed syllable, which provides the "beat" of the line, is more frequent. By...

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The fact that the third line is written mostly in iambic meter means that it has a quicker rhythm than the fourth line, which is written in anapestic meter. This is because in an iambic meter, the stressed syllable, which provides the "beat" of the line, is more frequent. By contrast, in an anapestic meter whereby the beat is less frequent, the rhythm is slower. Perhaps one reason as to why Hopkins decides to slow the pace, or rhythm, in the fourth line is to onomatopoeically echo the slow resonance of the "echoing timber" described in the fourth line.

When a line finishes with a stressed syllable, this is called a rising meter. A rising meter creates a rising intonation which lends to a poem an upbeat, positive tone. This is in contrast to a line which finishes with an unstressed syllable. This is called a falling meter, and a falling meter creates a falling intonation which lends itself more easily to a downbeat, perhaps sad, tone. Lines three and four of "Spring" both finish on a stressed syllable, and are thus written in a rising meter. This rising meter creates a positive tone which reflects the speaker's enthusiasm, in the first stanza, for the season of spring.

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