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Verse form that is the most popular measure in French poetry. It consists of a line of 12 syllables with a pause after the sixth syllable, major stresses on the sixth and the last syllable, and one secondary accent in each half line. It is a flexible form, adaptable to a wide range of subjects. It became the preeminent French verse form for dramatic and narrative poetry in the 17th century and reached its highest development in the tragedies of Pierre Corneille and Jean Racine.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on alexandrine, visit Britannica.com.