Dactyl, Dactylic

(139 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

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

Dactylic: an ictosyllabic form of metre in which each beat (see prosody) is typically followed by two offbeats (a combination traditionally called a dactyl). In “The Charge of the Light Brigade” Tennyson uses dactyls to suggest the gallop of the horses (the last line is catalectic [see catalexis]):

    *    .     . | *      .     .
Cannon to |right of them,

   * &n…
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Groves, Peter Lewis. "Dactyl, Dactylic". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001; last revised 11 February 2005.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=250, accessed 28 November 2015.]