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I need help with the meter in Shakespeare's Sonnet 87. I know usually his are iambic pentameter, but with eleven syllables in each line I can't make that work. HELP.

  • Shakespeare -

    Lines and syllables:
    1 = 11
    2 = 10
    3 = 11
    4 = 10
    5 = 11
    6 = 11
    7 = 11
    8 = 11
    9 = 11
    10 = 11
    11 = 11
    12 = 11
    13 = 11
    14 = 11

    Those 11th syllables are all -ing (suffixes, action, verb forms) except the last two, which are -er (not suffixes).

    The two lines that are 10-syllable lines end with -ate. Any particular ideas you want to attach to those lines, since they are the different ones in this sonnet?
    Scroll down for a decent analysis of this sonnet.

    Here's another good interpretation of the poem that may give you ideas:

    I think you'll have to state that, while he writes mostly in iambic pentameter, for some reason he adds an eleventh syllable to all but two of the lines in this sonnet. The reason for this has to be in the content of the poem. What is he saying? To whom is he speaking? Under what conditions is he saying all this?

    Let us know what you think.


  • Shakespeare -

    Thanks for the help! The more I looked at it, the more confused I became!!

  • Shakespeare -

    Shakespeare occasionally used what later because known as "sprung" meter.

    Check this site on Hopkins.

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