What are the prosodic features of the lines: merrily merrily shall i live now under the blossom that hangs on the bought

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The prosodic features of the above lines include:

The lilt or intonation of the lines

These lines have a musical quality to them. As one reads them, he or she can almost be singing them because of the cadence or pulse of the lines. There is almost a nursery rhyme flavour to these lines and the words just roll off the tongue as the lines are recited. The tempo of the lines propels the piece forward quite ‘merrily’ to use an example from the piece.

Rhythm or Regularity

There is a regularity to these two lines as they play off each other. The pattern is ten syllables in each line. This systematic progression gives a rhythm or pace to the lines. In addition, the end rhyme also plays off the 10 syllable rhythm and this gives a musical quality to the speech.


The stress on certain syllables, as opposed to unstressed syllables is a prosodic feature of these lines. In addition, where the line breaks causes a certain pause from the reader before he or she continues on reading and giving stress to certain syllables. If even for a micro-second, a reader will consciously or unconsciously pause between the word “now” and the word “under”.

Prosodic features also include the inflection or nuance a line receives from a particular reader, influenced by the way the writer wrote the lines to begin with.

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