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[SOLVED] Help with English poetry: Dactyl examples

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Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/uncommon" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1414669">Schnurrbrat</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.03.2019
Pending moderation

Hi,
First of all, I'll admit that I'm lazy [to do it myself] and that I need help with finding English language poetry that would meet such criterion:
1) All (or most of the lines) must start with a stressed syllable, followed by a non-stressed syllable; preferably of such structure ^== or ^=== rather than ^=^=, where "^" is a stressed syllable and "=" is a non-stressed syllable.
2) I would be obliged if the poetry examples would be time-proven, rather than modern pop-songs, so a "real" old-school poetry is the one I'm after.

If anyone has good examples (or will accidentally will come upon in their translation work), please share.
It will help me in my study of English language and in my work on to-English translations of a certain meter (as shown in 1)
Thank you.

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/brat" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1334845">Brat</a>
Lid geworden op: 13.04.2017

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45319/the-charge-of-the-light-bri...
BTW, poetryfoundation.org is a useful site for those making research in the field of poetry.

Moderator
<a href="/nl/translator/mk87" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1349348">mk87</a>
Lid geworden op: 15.08.2017

The foot in poetic metre that you are looking for (^==) is called a dactyl (whereas ^= would be a trochee). I think it's rather rare in English poetry.

Here's one example:

"The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

[...]

It's much easier to find a trochee. A very famous example is Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven":

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/uncommon" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1414669">Schnurrbrat</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.03.2019

Thank you both for your comments. That helps. Great examples! But I will keep the thread open for some time for more examples. Like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Leader_(poem)
There is a remarkable line in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;

I would appreciate if someone from native speakers would comment on article(s) in this line. Are they omitted under the poetic license or because it is a noun in its most common sense?

Moderator
<a href="/nl/translator/mk87" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1349348">mk87</a>
Lid geworden op: 15.08.2017

I skipped through (literally) dozens of poems in English/poems translated to English and I finally found one with a perfect dactyl:

A Waltz With a Tear in It by Boris Pasternak

Ah, how I love it in these first few days,
Fresh from the forest and out of the snow,
Awkwardness obvious still in every bough,
When every silver thread lazily sways
And every cone begins slowly to glow
In candlelight-and the white sheet below
Hides its sore stump from our eyes.
It will not bat an eye if you heap gold
And jewels on it-this shyest of fays
In blue enamel and tinfoil enfolded
Creeps in your heart of hearts-and there it stays.
Ah, how I love it all in these first days,
All golden finery and silver shades!
All in the making-stars, flags, lanterns, flares,
There are no chocolates yet in bonbonnieres.
Even the candles are no candles-they
Look more like dull sticks of makeup by day.
This is an actress still lighting stage fright
In the tumult of her benefit night.
Ah, how I love her on this opening day,
Flushed in the coulisses before the play!
Apples to appletrees, and kicks to firtrees.
Only not this one-no kicks for the beauty.
She has a different purpose and duty.
She's the select one, receiver of favours.
Her evening party will go on forever.
Others may fear proverb s-this one does not.
Her fate is only a few firtrees' lot.
Golden and fiery, she will soar high,
Like an old prophet ascending the sky.
Ah, how I love it all in these first days,
When all the world chats and fusses and plays!

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/uncommon" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1414669">Schnurrbrat</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.03.2019

Thank you, mk87.
A nice poem and a fitting translation. No surprise it is Russian, where such foot is quite common.  Thumbs up

Editor
<a href="/nl/translator/michealt" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1222532">michealt</a>
Lid geworden op: 11.10.2014

I've a feeling that Burns wrote some dactylic verse, and also Wilfred Owen, but they both wrote a lot of iambs and trochees as well and I can't recall the words of the dactylic bits.
One place where you can find a number of fairly complex stress patters is the page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ride_a_cock_horse_to_Banbury_Cross.
This poem has been aound in various versons for at least half a milennium.

The first "modern" (maybe 150 years old?) version on that page has the stress pattern
^==/^=/^==^/
=^==/^==/^==^/
^==/^==/^==^/
=^==/^==/^==^/

The lyrics published in 1790 and quoted on that page have the pattern
^==^/
=^/==^/
=^/=^/==^/
=^/==^/
=^/==^/
==^/==^/=^/

Not all boring trochees., but not many dactyls either.

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/uncommon" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1414669">Schnurrbrat</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.03.2019

Thank you, Tom.
I haven't heard of this nursery rhyme.
I believe I've found some dactyl lines in my copy of Endymion, which somehow survived through my move to States.
Time to read it carefully!

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.01.2019
Schnurrbrat написал(а):

I would appreciate if someone from native speakers would comment on article(s) in this line. Are they omitted under the poetic license or because it is a noun in its most common sense?

Leaving out the definite articles is a way of adding a storytelling element and keeping the action front and center. It creates a fast pace and also builds suspense and anticipation by omitting everything except the action itself. 

He could have also omitted "...of them," that would be customary in this type of fast-paced storytelling. But it would have thrown off the balance.

I would also add that although he is using "cannon" in the singular, this could still mean multiple cannons, plural. It's just another part of the storytelling element to state it in the singular even if the plural is meant.

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/uncommon" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1414669">Schnurrbrat</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.03.2019

Thank you, Sarah.
I guess if you are a native speaker, a poet, and your title starts with Sir Lord, omitting with singular is allowed. For common folks it is a no-no. Regular smile
And I've suspected that it could mean multiple cannons, I felt it is somehow close to the documentaries where some animal is discussed in a singular form, but clearly it is about the species in general.

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.01.2019

Here's another one for you, "Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest...

The rest is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangeline

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/uncommon" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1414669">Schnurrbrat</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.03.2019

Excellent! I was looking exactly for this kind of material! I was interested to see how much is allowed in terms of word order, etc in poetic language. There five or six lines start with a verb, which encourage me to do the same or at least not to feel remorse by doing so Regular smile
I read HWL's The Song in school, but I guess i need to give a fresh start of acquaintance with English poetry. Thanks again.

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/sarah-rose" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1408155">Sarah Rose</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.01.2019
Schnurrbrat a écrit :

I guess if you are a native speaker, a poet, and your title starts with Sir Lord, omitting with singular is allowed. For common folks it is a no-no. Regular smile

True, poets can do whatever they want because poetry is just art created with words. Wink smile

But you could use this kind of omission (of articles or singular) in everyday language if you were telling a fast-paced story, maybe describing a sports match or something like that.

whimsical chatterbox
<a href="/nl/translator/silenced" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1423036">silenced</a>
Lid geworden op: 29.05.2019
Schnurrbrat a écrit :

There five or six lines start with a verb, which encourage me to do the same or at least not to feel remorse by doing so

Beware of the dark side. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will

Super Member
<a href="/nl/translator/uncommon" class="userpopupinfo username" rel="user1414669">Schnurrbrat</a>
Lid geworden op: 07.03.2019

Happens to every guy sometimes this does.
Yoda is my 2nd favorite in terms of quotes, after Yogi Berra. Regular smile

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