Feminine line ending or caesura

(182 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

Feminine ending or caesura: an extra offbeat (see prosody) at the end or at the caesura of a line of iambic metre. Feminine endings are rare in neo-classical verse; feminine caesuras are confined to looser kinds of versification, such as dramatic verse. The following line from Macbeth has both:

The love | that fo|llows [us], some|time is |our troub[le] (1.6.11)
w--S      w---S    w---------S     w---S   w----S

The reference is to grammatical gender: in French, feminine adjectives often scan with an extra weak …

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Groves, Peter Lewis. "Feminine line ending or caesura". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 February 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1525, accessed 01 July 2015.]