7 junio, 2024

Meter of a poem: types, how to get it, examples

The meter of a poem It refers to the measures that the verses of the stanzas of a poetic composition can have. In Spanish, the size of the verses is given by the number of metric syllables that make it up. These are conditioned by several aspects, among them the so-called “law of the final accent”.

This law refers to the fact that the metric of a verse can vary if its last word is grave, acute or esdrújula (see explanation below). In turn, the metric of the verses is associated with rhythm, since being composed of a certain number of syllables, they generate a type of characteristic sonority.

Mastering the metric of the verses is necessary if you want to make compositions with good rhythm. At the same time, this aspect helps to ensure that the message you want to convey is effective. Among the most recognized poetic forms in Spanish conditioned by the metric factor, the tenth and the sonnet stand out.


Metric Types

Basically, when talking about the types of metrics in poetry, we refer directly to two groups:

minor art verses

They are those whose metric is between two and 8 syllables. By their measure, these are their names:

– Disyllabic: they have 2 metric syllables.

– Trisyllables: have 3 metric syllables.

– Tetrasyllables: have 4 metric syllables.

– Pentasyllables: have 5 metric syllables.

– Hexasílabos: they have 6 metric syllables.

– Heptasílabos: they have 7 metric syllables.

– Octosyllables: have 8 metric syllables.

minor art verses

They are those whose metric is between 9 and 14 syllables. By their measure, these are their names:

– Eneasílabos: they have 9 metric syllables.

– Decasyllables: have 10 metric syllables.

– Endecasílabos: they have 11 metric syllables.

– Dodecasílabos: they have 12 metric syllables.

– Tridecasílabos: they have 13 metric syllables.

– Alejandrinos: they have 14 metric syllables.

How to get the meter of a poem?

In order to get the metric of a poem, it is necessary to be clear about several concepts. Among them are:

– Hiatus and diphthong

The hiatus indicates the separation of two open vowels (a, e, o) that are together (those of «lion«, For example). This also applies when an open vowel is joined with a closed one (i, u) and the latter is the stressed syllable (“Maestuary» either «I fell«, For example).

The diphthong, for its part, refers to the union of two closed syllables or one closed with one open. For example:


– Euclothes



In versification, this resource allows the last syllable of a word to be joined with the initial syllable of the next. Sure, as long as they are vocal. It is important to keep in mind that the letter «h» does not affect the signal.

What is the sinalefa used for?

The sinalefa serves to shorten the metric of a verse at convenience and achieve the desired size. Example:

Jo/sé /quie/re /ir /al /ci/ne.

If counted without applying sinalefa, it has 8 syllables. However, when applying sinalefa it reaches 7. This is because «you want toand go” can be pronounced with a single breath.

– Syneresis

Unlike the sinalefa that joins the vowels of two different words, syneresis allows joining two vowels that form a hiatus within the same word. This in order to reduce the number of metric syllables.

A clear example can be the word «lion». This is two-syllable due to the hiatus that is formed between the two open vowels. However, if the poet decides to apply syneresis, then «lion» becomes monosyllable.

– Law of final accent

The law of the final accent indicates that the metric of a verse is conditioned by the accentuation of its last word. These are the three possibilities:

– If the final word of the verse is acute, then a metric syllable is added to the final sum.

– If the final word of a verse is grave, then it is maintained with the same number of metric syllables.

– If the final word of a verse is esdrújula, then one metric syllable is subtracted from the final sum.

– How to count to get the metric?

To get the metric, simply count one by one the syllables that make up each verse in the stanzas. This is done separately (verse by verse) and keeping in mind the aforementioned concepts.

When finishing counting the syllables, it is analyzed if the final word is acute, grave or esdrújula and the law of the final accent is applied according to the result. At that moment, the real number of the metric of said verse is obtained and placed on the edge of it. This can be done in parentheses. The process is repeated with the rest.

When finishing counting all the verses in detail, then it is determined to which type of metric the poem belongs. If its verses are between 2 and 8 syllables, it is a minor art poem. If your verses are between 9 and 14 syllables, then it is a high art poem.

Examples of meter in verse

– Stanza with minor art verses

Ma/ña/na/ se/rá/ la/ vi/da, (8)
den/sa/, en/tre hu/mos/ sin/ glo/ria, (8)
the au/sen/cia /se/rá /no/to/ria, (8)
va/cio /to/tal /la /par/ti/da. (8)
A/ a/diós /with /to/do/ the i/da, (8)
a/diós /without /vuelta/ta /ni /re/tor/no, (8)
a/diós/, lu/na and /tu /con/tor/no, (8)
sun /that /shines /without /ce/sar, (7+1)
a/diós, /a/re/na, /salt /mar, (7+1)
pron/to ha /de /so/nar /el /cor/no. (8)

metric analysis

At first glance, it is evident that it is a minor art poem, since its verses are eight syllables (of eight syllables). It is a poetic composition called tenth spinel. It has 10 verses and rhymes abba.accddc.

Now, in the first verse the sinalefa is clearly applied. It can be seen inheyrá”.

For its part, in the fourth verse syneresis is applied. It can be seen in “vaclol”. By itself it is a trisyllable word. The «í» with the «o» form a hiatus, however, I decided to join them so that the total sum would give me the 8 syllables I need.

Another curious fact is between verses 8 and 9. You can see that they add up to 7 and not 8 syllables each. However, I applied the law of final accent. Because the last words in both verses are acute, a syllable is added to each one in their final count.

– Stanza with verses of major art

Pa/ra go/me/ bring/who/it to the /sue/it’s not/caught (eleven)
I need to finish /the in/co/mi/da (eleven)
ha/cer /el /bien /li/be/ra/rá /la /rien/da (eleven)
SW/it to/yes /po/dré /lo/grar /ser /un/gi/do. (eleven)

metric analysis

When counting each verse separately, it is evident that their metrics add up to 11. So we are in front of a stanza of greater art. And yes, it is about serventesio. This is a stanza of four hendecasyllabic verses with ABBA rhyme.

In order for each metric to be given correctly, sinalefa was applied in verses 1, 2 and 4 in the places indicated in bold.

– Ended in a sharp word

In these cases, one more syllable is counted.


Foolish men you accuse (8)

to the woman for no reason (8)

without seeing that you are the occasion (8)

the same thing you blame (8)

– Ending in an esdrújula word

When this is the case, one syllable less is counted.


Today, because you have come to visit me, (eleven)

I remember that there is a world, and that there are tears (eleven)

Bless you, under the May sun, (eleven)

my sadness, luminous and warm. (eleven)


The last vowel of one syllable is joined with the first of the next.


You and me and Sancho and the boy from Vallecas (eleven)

– When there is a rhythmic accent

This rhythmic accent prevents the formation of a signal.


Seven counts demand her, (8)

three dukes of Lombardy; (8)

he despised everyone, (8)

so much is its freshness. (8)

– Umlaut

When pronouncing a diphthong in two times, one more syllable is counted. This is called an umlaut.


«Tree of soft fruit». (8) (It is marked with an umlaut)

– Syneresis

The opposite case is syneresis: two vowels in hiatus are pronounced as a single syllable.


Not from the sea of ​​theogonic blood and foam. (14)

Examples of meter in rhymes

– In assonant rhymes

In assonance or imperfect rhyme, only the vowels from the last stressed vowel coincide.


There are no bucklers or swords anymore,

he only remembers

of Cassandra, there is no love

more than the earl and duchess.

– In consonant rhymes

In consonant or perfect rhyme the vowels and consonants coincide starting from the last stressed vowel.


Sing bird in the bower

jungle to his love, that through the green soil

The hunter has not seen that with carelessness

is listening to him, the armed bullista.

Examples of meter in stanzas

There are three kinds of stanzas, according to Garcilaso de la Vega’s study: the lira, the eighth real, and the tenth.

– The lyre

The lyre is the combination of five verses, the first, the third and the fourth seven syllables, and the other two hendecasyllables. The rhymes occur between the first and the third, and the second with the fourth and fifth.


if of my low lira

so much could the sound that in a moment

appease the anger

of the spirited wind

and the fury of the sea and the movement.

– The eighth real

The eighth real is of Italian origin. There are eight hendecasyllabic verses with three consonant rhymes, in which the first six rhyme alternately with the first two. The last two rhyme with each other.


Not the ladies, love, no niceties

of gentlemen singing in love,

nor the samples, gifts and tenderness

of loving affection and care,

plus courage, deeds, feats,

of those hard-working Spaniards,

that to the untamed neck of Arauco,

they put a hard yoke with the sword.

– The tenth

The tenth is a stanza made up of ten eight-syllable verses.


To a honeycomb of rich honey

two thousand flies flocked

who died for gourmands

paw preys on it.

another fly in a cake

he buried his candy.

Thus, although one examines

the human hearts

perish in prisons

of the vice that dominates them.


Metrics. (2020). Spain: Wikipedia. Recovered from: es.wikipedia.org.
Angels. (2020). The meter of a poem | The verse and its measures. (N/A): Espaciolibros.com. Recovered from: espaciolibros.com
Sinalefa (2020). Spain: Royal Spanish Academy. Recovered from: dle.rae.es.
Final accent law. (2011). Final accent law. (N/A): Si-Educa.net. Retrieved from: si-educa.net.
Metric | Verse-Stanza-Poem. (S.f.). Spain: Poetry and female poets. Text bank. Recovered from: edu.xunta.gal.

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