Analyze the meter of the following four lines from William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18."
Shall i compare thee to a summers day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summers lease hath all too short a date.
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Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18" is written in iambic pentameter and is a perfect model for the Shakespearin sonnet. Meter in poetry charts the rhythm of the poem's words and depends upon the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in each line.
In "Sonnet 18," the meter is iambic pentameter; this means that each line is composed of five iambs (penta=five). An iamb is a metrical foot. The metrical foot is a term used to describe the rhythm of two syllables. For example, an iamb is made up of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (like ka-BOOM). Shakespeare maintains perfect iambic rhythm throughout each of the lines. Here is one of the lines broken into iambs:
Shall I | com-pare | thee to | a sum | mers day?
Thou art | more love-| ly and | more tem-|per-ate:
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