The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018


Pentameter: A line of verse consisting of five metrical feet. Pentameter is the predominant line length in English verse.

EXAMPLE: The last lines of Wallace Stevens’s “Sunday Morning” (1915) are written in pentameter:

Deer walk│upon│our moun│tains, and│the quail │

Whistle│about│us their│sponta│neous cries│

Sweet ber│ries ri│pen in│the wil│derness;│

And, in│the i│sola│tion of│the sky,│

At eve│ning, cas│ual flocks│of pi│geons make│

Ambi│guous un│dula│tions as│they sink,│

Downward│to dark│ness, on│extend│ed wings.│