Samuel Taylor Coleridge Questions and Answers

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Frost at midnight, last verse paragraph. My question is : could someone underline or mark,  word by word,  each stressed syllable ? Here is the the paragraph : Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether the summer clothe the general earth With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw ; whether the eave-drops fall Heard only in the trances of the blast, Or if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

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This looks like iambic pentameter but with a few small irregularities. Coleridge is known for being slightly irregular in meter. If you think this is tough, try scanning "Kubla Khan"!

Lines of iambic pentameter have 10 syllables, 5 stressed, 5 unstressed, in a pattern of unstressed then stressed. Knowing this will help you to scan the lines. Since I can't make the u / symbols above the lines, I'll capitalize the stressed words to get you started.

ThereFORE all SEAsons SHALL be SWEET to THEE

(the next line is a bit irregular) WHETHER the SUMmer CLOTHE the GEN'ral EARTH

With GREENness OR the REDbreast SIT and SING

beTWIXT the TUFTS of SNOW on THE bare BRANCH

You can tell when lines fall out of the meter by reading the line aloud and accenting each syllable within the meter. If it sounds really awkward or out of place, then you know the line is irregular. If you are required to scan the entire poem for anassignment, you should start by assuming iambic pentameter for every line then going through and finding the irregularities. Hopefully this will help!

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