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9/03/2018

A short note on Blank Verse

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Iambic pentameter verse lines without rhyme at the end is called Blank verse. Iambic pentameter line is a verse line of five iambic feet. In blank verse , the last word of a line does not rhyme with the last word of any of the successive lines.

Examples:
“How can / I live /without / thee? How/ forego/
Thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn?
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib effort, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart; no, no, I feel
The link of nature draw me; flesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe”.
(Milton: “Paradise Lost”, Book IX)
All these lines like the scanned one , are in iambic pentameter and none of the last words of these lines rhyme with any other end -word .

More examples:
“Was this the face that launch ‘d a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ileum?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss,
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!”
(Marlowe: “Doctor Faustus”, Act V, Scene I)
These mighty lines are written in iambic pentameter without end-rhyme.

“It little profits that an idle king ,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Marched with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.”
(Tennyson: “Ulysses”)
Poets and dramatists use blank verse to avoid the monotony of traditional rhyme schemes, to use a variety of different tones , to add elegance and to match the heroic or elevated voice.

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