Accentual Verse Definition | What is Accentual Verse? - PoetrySoup
Accentual verse has a fixed number of stresses per line or stanza regardless of the number of syllables that are present. It is common in languages that are stress-timed such as English as opposed to syllabic verse, which is common in syllable-timed languages such as classical Latin.
Nursery Rhymes are the most common form of Accentual verse in the English Language.
The following poem, Baa Baa Black Sheep, has two stresses in each line, but a varying number of syllables.
(Bold represents stressed syllables, and the number of syllables in each line is noted)
- Baa, baa, black sheep, (4)
- Have you any wool? (5)
- Yes sir, yes sir, (4)
- Three bags full; (3)
- One for the mas-ter, (5)
- And one for the dame, (5)
- And one for the lit-tle boy (7)
- Who lives down the lane. (5)