An amphibrach is a
metrical footused in Latin and Greek prosody. It consists of a long syllablebetween two short syllables.
Amphibrachs are seldom used to construct an entire poem. They mainly occur as variants within, for instance, an anapaestic structure.
In English stress-based poetry, an amphibrach is a stressed syllable surrounded by two unstressed syllables. It is the main foot used in the construction of the limerick, e.g., "There was a | young lady | of Wantage"
The amphibrach is also often used in ballads and light verse, such as the hypermetrical lines of
Sir John Betjeman's "Meditation on the A40".
Some books by
Dr. Seusscontain many lines written in amphibrachs, such as these from "If I Ran the Circus":
:All ready | to put up | the tents for | my circus.:I think I | will call it | the Circus | McGurkus.
:And NOW comes | an act of | Enormous | Enormance!:No former | performer's | performed this | performance!
Leonard Cohen's song " Famous Blue Raincoat" [ [http://www.leonardcohen.com/music.cgi?album_id=20&song_id=6 Leonard Cohen's official website] ] is written in amphibrachs - e.g. the first verse (apart from the first foot of the third line, which is a spondee):
:It's four in | the morning, | the end of | December:I'm writing | you now just | to see if | you're better:New York | is cold, but | I like where | I'm living:There's music | on Clinton | Street all through | the evening.
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