The metrical system in "Drummer Hodge"
I just want to confirm; is the metrical system in Drummer Hodge syllabic verse? There are 8 syllables alternating with 6 syllables for the whole poem. Please correct me if I am wrong.
In "Drummer Hodge" by Thomas Hardy, Hardy uses a different metrical system for every other line.
The first, third and fifth lines of the first stanza has eight beats to it. The stress is on every other syllable.
In the second, fourth and sixth lines, there are six syllables in each line, with the stress on every other syllable.
With this is mind, I believe you are correct. The variation of rhythm give the poem a swaying motion.
In terms of the rest of the poem, the rhyme scheme is ABABAB for each stanza.
As the poem is about "Drummer Hodge," perhaps the meter is used to mimic the sound of a drum when troops are marching (and as the poem speaks about Karoo, I expect Drummer Hodge was involved in the war between the British and the Boer republics in South Africa).