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Blank Verse Poetic form refers to various sets of "rules" followed by poems of certain types.

The rules may describe such aspects as the rhythm or meter (poetry) of the poem, its rhyme scheme, or its use of alliteration. Blank verse is a type of poetry, distinguished by having a regular meter, but no rhyme. In English, the meter most commonly used with blank verse has been iambic pentameter. The first known use of blank verse in the English language was by Henry Howard, Earl of Arundel and Surrey in his interpretation of the neid (c. 1554). He was possibly inspired by the Latin original, as classical Latin verse (as well as Greek verse) did not use rhyme; he may have been inspired by the Italian verse form of versi sciolti, which also contained no rhyme. Christopher Marlowe was the first English author to make full use of the potential of blank verse, and also established it as the dominant verse form for English drama in the age of Elizabeth I and James I. The major achievements in English blank verse were made by William Shakespeare, who wrote much of the content of his plays in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Romantic English poets such as William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats revived blank verse as a major form. Following shortly afterwards, Alfred Lord Tennyson became particularly devoted to blank verse, using it for example in his long narrative poem "The Princess", as well as for one of his most famous poems: "Ulysses". Among American poets, Hart Crane and Wallace Stevens are notable for using blank verse in extended compositions at a time when many other poets were turning to free verse. Marlowe was the first to exploit the potential of blank verse for powerful and involved speech: You stars that reign'd at my nativity, Whose influence hath allotted death and hell, Now draw up Faustus like a foggy mist Into the entrails of yon laboring clouds, That when they vomit forth into the air, My limbs may issue from their smoky mouths, So that my soul may but ascend to Heaven. (Doctor Faustus) Shakespeare developed this feature, and also the potential of blank verse for abrupt and irregular speech. The earliest effects were like these:

Death? My lord? A grave. He shall not live. (King John, 3.3) Shakespeare also used enjambment increasingly often in his verse, and in his last plays was given to using feminine endings (in which the last syllable of the line is unstressed, for instance lines 3 and 6 of the following example); all of this made his later blank verse extremely rich and varied. Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves, And ye that on the sands with printless foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him When he comes back; you demi-puppets that By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make Whereof the ewe not bites; and you whose pastime Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid, Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimmed The noontide sun, called forth the mutinous winds, And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault Set roaring war - to the dread rattling thunder Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak With his own bolt;... (The Tempest, 5.1) This very free treatment of blank verse was imitated by Shakespeare's contemporaries, and led to general metrical looseness in the hands of less skilled users. However, Shakespearean blank verse was used with some success by John Webster and Thomas Middleton in their plays. Blank verse, of varying degrees of regularity, has been used quite frequently throughout the 20th century in original verse and in translations of narrative verse. Most of Robert Frost's narrative and conversational poems are in blank verse; so are other important poems like Wallace Stevens's "The Idea of Order at Key West" and "The Comedian as the Letter C", W. B. Yeats's "The

Second Coming", W. H. Auden's "The Watershed", John Betjeman's Summoned by Bells, and so on. A complete listing is impossible, since a sort of loose blank verse has become a staple of lyric poetry, but it would be safe to say that blank verse is as prominent now as it has been any time in the past three hundred years.