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A caesura is a complete stop or a natural break within a line of poetry. It contributes to the rhythm of the line. Chaucer's employment of the caesura is found throughout the length of "The Miller's Tale." Here are some examples from the beginning of the work, lines 47-54, with each caesura marked with parallel lines:
Fair was this youthful wife, // and therewithal
As weasel’s was her body // slim and small.
A girdle wore she, // barred and striped, of silk.
An apron, too, // as white as morning milk(50)
About her loins, // and full of many a gore;
White was her smock, // embroidered all before
And even behind, // her collar round about,
Of coal-black silk, // on both sides, in and out;
Reading the poem aloud makes it easier to identify the caesuras because of the rhythm they create in the lines.
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