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Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement


Developed by John Skelton (Happy Hank, the Wife Slayer’s poetic mentor and court poet), these are satirical rhymed dipodic lines. It is also known as Tumbling Verse. This requires explaining the difference between podic and accentual-syllabic verse. With accentual-syllabic verse, every syllable counts, both stressed and unstressed. If a line of verse is iambic pentameter, it will be ten syllables alternating between unstressed and stressed as: da_DUM da_DUM da_DUM da_DUM da_DUM.

“I dived beneath the desk to hide from her.”
Podic verse was kind of a looser midway point between the alliterative accentuals of the Anglo-Saxons and the accentual-syllabics that Chaucer adapted into English based on French forms that were rhymed and syllabic. So, podic verse is usually rhymed and has a certain number of stresses in the line, but the number of unstressed syllables doesn’t count. A dipodic line has two stresses. It might have from zero to four unstressed syllables, so the line can vary from two to six syllables and still be dipodic.
“Her eyes aflame
fire bright
cast her claim
all night.”
Although this quatrain varies between two and four syllables per line, they are all dipodic.

Skelton’s rhyming was also inconsistent. He might rhyme two lines in a row or ten, then he’d change rhynmes for another indeterminate length, and then do it again.

Attributed to: 

John Skelton




See Also:  

Dipodic Quatrain, Podic Verse




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