Dactyl, Dactylic (66 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

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


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 …

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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 24 October 2017.]

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