Could somebody explain how to answer the below question?  "Him still must serve, him still obey,  And nothing act, and nothing say,  But what her haughty lord thinks fit,  Who with the...

Could somebody explain how to answer the below question?

 "Him still must serve, him still obey,
  And nothing act, and nothing say,
  But what her haughty lord thinks fit,
  Who with the power, has all the wit."

Mark the syllables, separate the feet with short vertical lines, and indicate the rhyme scheme.

Asked on by awaran

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robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

1) A syllable is just one "beat" of sound, or as a friend of mine puts it, "how many times a word bangs the drum".

So "dog" is one syllable. (say it) "DOG".

"Cupboard" is two syllables. (say it) "CUP. BOARD".

"Computer" is three syllables. (say it) "COM. PEW. TER".

2) Feet are more complicated. They're the unit which a verse line is made up of. So let's look at iambic pentameter, which is five strong beats (one strong beat = x) and five weak beats (one weak beat = o):

de dum  de  dum de  dum de dum de dum
in sooth i know not why  i am so sad
o    x     o   x      o     x    o  x   o   x

the "foot" is just the pattern that repeats: in this case, "de dum" or "o x", or "a weak beat followed by a strong beat". A foot made up of a weak beat and then a strong beat is an "iamb", and when it repeats five times, that's pentameter. Hence iambic pentameter. So you'd separate the feet like this:

o x ¦ o x ¦ o x ¦ o x ¦ o x

3) Lastly, rhyme scheme just shows which lines rhyme with which lines. So in the example above, pick out the rhyme words: "obey", "say", "fit", "wit". "Obey" rhymes with "say". "Fit" rhymes with "wit". So we show that as AA (two lines which rhyme) BB (two lines which also rhyme - but on a different sound: "wit" not "say").

If the rhyme words had been "obey", "fit", "say", "wit", the rhyme scheme would be ABAB (to show the way the rhyming lines interlock). If they had been "obey", "fit", "say", "wit", "rabbit", "habit", that would be ABABCC.

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