Dactyl, Dactylic

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

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  • The Literary Encyclopedia. WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.

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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, * . . | * . . Cannon to |left of them, * . . | * . . Cannon in |front of them * . . | * . (.) Volleyed and |thundered

* . . | * . . Cannon to |right of them, * . . | * . . Cannon to |left of them, * . . | * . . Cannon in |front of them * . . | * . (.) Volleyed and |thundered

66 words

Citation: Groves, Peter Lewis. "Dactyl, Dactylic". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001; last revised 11 February 2005. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=250, accessed 29 February 2024.]

250 Dactyl, Dactylic 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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