When we talk, we pause to breathe. Us don’t do this randomly. Instead, we take breaths at herbal breaks in a sentence. The exact same is true through poetry.

Caesura and enjambment (also recognized as enjambement) are generally used methods that define how poetry supplies those pauses. Both are options to protecting against at the end of a line.

A caesura describes a pause added into a heat of poetry, whilst enjambment gets rid of a stop from the end of a heat to permit two or more lines to be read together.

You are watching: A pause or break in a line of verse


Understanding Caesura

The hatchet caesura (pronounced "seh-zoo-rah" in American English) dates from the mid-16th century. It comes from the Latin caes which means to cut.

In Greek, Latin, and also Anglo-Saxon verse, it describes a break between words in a metrical foot. In modern European verse, it method a stop inside a line of poetry in ~ the end of a organic phrase.

A caesura can show up in various places within a line. If the is near the start, the is called an initial caesura. The most typical type, well-known as Medial caesura, is discovered near the middle. Terminal caesura is a pause at the finish of the line.

Sometimes friend will find caesurae (the many of caesura) marked with 2 vertical lines when a poet desires to draw attention to the pause, but generally that is not significant at all. In the examples below, I have actually used the clues || so the it is clear whereby the pause should go.

Masculine and also Feminine Caesura

Caesurae are divided into 2 groups, feminine and masculine.

A feminine caesura is found after an unstressed short syllable. This creates a soft and gentle effect that feels natural. There are two instances in this heat from My Country, ’Tis the Thee by Samuel Francis Smith:

My country, ’tis that thee || sweet soil of liberty || of thee ns sing.

A masculine caesura is offered after a stressed or long syllable. It create a strong staccato effect, such together in Mother and Poet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

What arts is she an excellent at, || however hurting her breast with the milk-teeth that babes, || and a smile at the pain?

The effect of Caesura

Caesura have the right to be used subtly to administer a ar to take a breath in between phrases. That keeps a emotion of natural flow and is soothing to read. Alternatively, it can make a dramatic pause to include a theatrical feeling to a line.

Poets can use caesura to:

Break the happiness of a lineFocus on a specific word or phraseCreate a feeling of foreboding at what is come comeMake a contrastShow a depth of emotionCreate drama and tension

Additionally, the choice of the poet to use masculine or feminine caesura is a intended one. Its usage decides whether the result will be ethereal or dramatic because that the reader.


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Examples that Caesura

Example 1: I’m Nobody! Who room You? by Emily Dickinson

I’m nobody! || Who space you? are you nobody, too? then there’s a pair of us || – nothing tell! they will do banish || – girlfriend know!

Example 2: The Winter’s Tale by wilhelm Shakespeare

It is for you we speak, || not for ourselves: You space abused || and by some putter-on That will certainly be damn’d for’t; || would I knew the villain, I would certainly land-damn him. || it is in she honour-flaw’d, I have three daughters; || the eldest is eleven

Example 3: Ozymandias through Percy Bysshe Shelley

Who said—"Two huge and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert … || close to them, || top top the sand … My name is Ozymandias, || King the Kings; || watch on mine Works, || ye Mighty, || and also despair! Nothing next to remains. || ring the degeneration …"

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Understanding Enjambment

The hatchet enjambment (pronounced "en-jam-ment" in American English, and additionally known together enjambement) is a French word an interpretation to action over or to placed legs across. In poetry, it means running two or more lines the a poem together without a terminal dot mark.

Enjambment has actually been provided throughout the background of poetry and was particularly favored by English Elizabethan and Romantic poets.

It’s wrong to think that enjambment together the the contrary of caesura. Instead, treat lock both as approaches poets usage to change how we check out a poem. Enjambment is actually opposite to end-stopping, wherein a heat finishes with a terminal punctuation mark.

How to check out Enjambed Lines

Instead of reading to the end of a line and also stopping, the line proceeds on without any significant pause or readjust of meaning. At its extreme, individual words have the right to be separation over two lines in a an approach called broken rhyme.

Often that is straightforward to clues enjambment due to the fact that of the absence of punctuation marks at the end of a line. However, the is an ext accurate to look in ~ the syntax to be certain.

The result of Enjambment

Enjambment urges the leader to save reading. One enjambed line doesn’t make sense until the is review as a whole section.

Poets have the right to use enjambment to:

Create anticipation to check out onSurprise the reader by supplying a readjust or contradiction in a later on lineCreate a sense of circulation or motion through the poemControl the rhythmCreate a sense of faint of meaningVary the length of the linesEmphasize a indigenous or phrase

Examples the Enjambment

Example 1: The rubbish Land by T. S. Eliot

April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and also desire, stirring Dull roots through spring rain. Winter preserved us warm, covering planet in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers.

Example 2: by ee cummings

i lug your heart v me(i lug it in my heart)i am never ever without it(anywhere ns go friend go,my dear;and everything is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and also it’s friend are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sunlight will always sing is you

Example 3: Sonnet 116 by wilhelm Shakespeare

Let me not to the marital relationship of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love That changes when it modification finds Or bends v the remover come remove: O no! that is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and also is never ever shaken; the is the star come every hike bark, whose worth"s unknown, back his elevation be taken.

How to usage Caesura and also Enjambment in your Poetry

Used well, both caesura and also enjambment change the analysis of the city for effect. Both can be provided subtly or because that drama.

In your poetry, don’t usage these techniques unnecessarily. Look in ~ the rhythm and rhyme of the city as a whole and also think around how punctuation marks transform the reading. That is common to view both caesura and also enjambment in the very same poem so experiment through using lock both.

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