Caesura (cesura)

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

Caesura (cesura)

Caesura (cesura): A pause in a line of poetry. The caesura is dictated not by meter but by the natural rhythms of speech. Sometimes it coincides with the poet’s punctuation, but occasionally it occurs where some pause in speech is inevitable. In scansion, the caesura is indicated by the symbol ║.

EXAMPLE: In the following lines from William Butler Yeats’s “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (1893), the caesura in the first line coincides with Yeats’s punctuation, whereas the one in the second is indicated solely by natural rhythms of speech:

I will arise and go now, ║ for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping ║ with low sounds by the shore… .