For "A Poison Tree" by William Blake, what is the poem's rhyme scheme and meter? How does the meter contribute to the meaning of the poem?

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The poem's rhyme scheme is A-A-B-B; each of the four quatrains follows this pattern. In the first stanza, lines 1 and 3 have seven syllables each, and lines 2 and 4 have eight syllables each. In the second stanza, lines 5, 7, and 8 have seven syllables each, and line 6 has eight. All lines in the third stanza have seven syllables each. In the final stanza, all but the final line have seven syllables; the final line has eight.

The meter is trochaic tetrameter. This means that the prevailing foot is the trochee (two syllables, one stressed followed by one unstressed), and most of the lines have four feet (tetra-). In addition, the final foot of every line with only seven syllables has a final, truncated foot (this means that the unstressed syllable we expect to hear at the end of the line is dropped). Often, trochaic meters sound somewhat aggressive and menacing because they begin on an accented syllables. Furthermore, they can sound almost spell-like and rather hypnotic at times. Here, the speaker is angry, and he remains angry—perhaps even growing more and more upset and vengeful as the poem progresses—and so the aggressive trochaic meter seems appropriate.

Moreover, because the seven-syllable lines are truncated, it means that there are more stressed syllables than unstressed, and this makes the poem sound somewhat more aggressive as well. The final line's eight syllables give it a sense of finality, which the speaker now seems to feel because his foe is dead.

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