In Wordsworth's "We are Seven," how is rhythm created in this poem as you read each line?

1 Answer | Add Yours

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

William Wordsworth's poem, "We are Seven," is verse written in four-line stanzas about a discussion he has with a little child regarding the number of children in her family.

Two things seem to provide a sense of rhythm in Wordsworth's verse. He uses rhyme. Except for the first stanza, the author uses an ABAB rhyme scheme, where the first and third lines rhyme, and the second and fourth lines rhyme. The essence of rhyme seems to appear as the reader moves to meet (find) each end rhyme.

The pattern of rhythm that Wordsworth follows lends itself to a rhythmic 4-3-4-3 pattern of stressed beats per line: in other words, except for the first stanza, the first line of a stanza has four beats, the second line, three, and so on. This is the second method Wordsworth uses to create the poem's rhythm.

The rhythm Wordsworth employs provides the poem with a lilting or swaying motion, most obvious when the poem is read aloud, the optimum "delivery" for which poetry is written. It is only by reading poetry aloud that we can experience the many "musical" qualities the poet includes in his verse.

We’ve answered 318,917 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question