What is Anapest in literature?

In poetry, an anapest is a metrical foot consisting of two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed syllable, like the word “understand” (un-der-STAND). Anapests are commonly used in classical meter, as well as in various forms of modern poetry.

An anapest is the opposite of a dactyl, which consists of one stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables. Together, anapests and dactyls form the basis of many classical meters, including anapestic tetrameter, which is commonly used in limericks.

Here is an example of a line of poetry that uses anapestic meter, from the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore:

“‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

In this passage, each line contains four anapests, with the stressed syllable falling on the final syllable of each foot. The use of anapests creates a lively, upbeat rhythm that helps to convey the festive spirit of the poem.

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