Verse: Broadly defined, rhythmical or metrical composition, whether poetry in general or an individual poem; more narrowly, an individual line of poetry or a stanza of a poem or song. For example, William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (1807) can properly be referred to as verse, whereas its eponymous first line is a verse, as is its first stanza.
Some critics distinguish between poetry and verse, noting that all poetry is verse but that not all verse is poetry. Many of those who make this distinction argue that verse is a lower form of expression than poetry; verse, they suggest, is notable mainly for its rhythmic and metrical form, whereas poetry is characterized by imagination, a less obvious and more intricate component, and a lofty purpose. Other scholars simply claim that verse is the more inclusive term, covering forms such as light verse that are typically not classified as poetry. Of course, even this distinction implies a certain hierarchy in which poetry is valued more highly than “mere” verse.