from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- noun A line of verse having ten syllables.
from The Century Dictionary.
- noun In prosody, a line of ten syllables.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun A
verseform having ten syllablesin each line
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- noun a verse line having ten syllables
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
How DID you learn the secret of writing the decasyllable line, and whence that sweet wailing note of tenderness that accompanies your song?
The deviations from the normal type, or decasyllable line, were they more numerous than, after allowance for the license of pronunciation, as well as the probable corruption of the text, they appear to be, would not,
The thing is possible: and I can modestly say that in the little effort appended as an example to these lines it has been done successfully; but here must be mentioned the second point in my thesis -- I could never have achieved what I have here achieved in dramatic art had I not harked back to the great tradition of the English heroic decasyllable such as our
I do not know, and it would probably be difficult to say, what was the first appearance of the decasyllable, which in German, as in English, was to become on the whole the staple measure of non-lyrical poetry and the not infrequent medium of lyrical.
The doggerel of the earlier years had almost entirely disappeared, and in its place appeared the perfect concerted music of the stanzas (from the sonnet and the Spenserian downwards), the infinite variety of the decasyllable, and the exquisite lyric snatches of song in the dramatists, pamphleteers, and music-book writers.
Marlowe the tragic decasyllable, put into the hands of the still greater group who succeeded them an instrument, the power of which it is impossible to exaggerate.
Wyatt's awkwardness is not limited to the decasyllable, but some of his short poems in short lines recover rhythmical grace very remarkably, and set a great example.
His mixed allegiance to Marlowe and Sidney gave him command of a splendid form of decasyllable, which appears often in _Phillis_, as for instance --
Both doggerel and fourteeners appear in the quaint productions called _Three Ladies of London_, etc.; but by this time the decasyllable began to appear with them and to edge them out.
England blank verse, which he borrowed from the Italian _versi sciolti_, fixing that decasyllable iambic rhythm for English versification in which our greatest poetical triumphs have been achieved.