Comment on the prosodic features of the following segment of W. Cowper's poem "The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk." "How fleet is the glance of the mind! Compared with the speed of its flight: The tempest itself lags behind And the swift winged arrows of light."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Prosody is defined as...

...the study of poetic meter and of the art of versification, including rhyme, stanzaic forms, and the quantity and stress of syllables.

Prosody is also defined as...

...the mechanics of verse poetry--its sounds, rhythms, scansion and meter, stanzaic form, alliteration, assonance, euphony, onomatopoeia, and rhyme… This is also called versification.

Versification refers to...

...the technical and practical aspect of making poems as opposed to purely theoretical and aesthetic poetic concerns.

In Cowper's "The Solitude of Alexander Selkirk," there are several aspects of prosody that one recognizes. The poem is written in eight-line stanzas, but two complete thoughts are presented, each separately in the first four lines of verse, and the second set of lines, within the larger stanza. There are three iambs  made up of two-syllable feet (unstressed then stressed syllables—"closest to the natural rhythm of human...

(The entire section contains 494 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team