sprung rhythm


sprung rhythm

Poetic rhythm designed to approximate the natural rhythm of speech. It is characterized by the frequent juxtaposition of single accented syllables and by the occurrence of feet with varying numbers of syllables whose sequence is interrupted by unstressed syllables that are not counted in the scansion. Because stressed syllables often occur sequentially, the rhythm is said to be “sprung.” This system of prosody was developed by Gerard Manley Hopkins, who saw it as the basis of such early English poems as William Langland's Piers Plowman.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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