Iambic Pentameter

It is the favored scheme for English verse,

Most famously when ruled Elizabeth.

Will Shakespeare wrote all of his plays therein,

So also Kit, and many other bards;

I dare to place myself upon that list.

The first, the third, fifth, seventh, and the ninth

Of syllables are left without a stress

The rest are stressed; it mimics human speech.

Iambic Pentameter in Ruled Britannia[]

The Bard, of course, when called upon to write

A play which mourned for Spain's departed king,

Did use iambs in pentametric lines.

So too when Burleigh brought him in the plot

To set the Virgin Queen back on the throne

By telling tales of Briton queens of old.

For Shakespeare never wrote in other forms.

A player name of Quinn did once insert

A line drawn from the latter in the first.

And at the time a Spaniard was about.

The don, a bard himself, did overlook

The telling slip; but Saxons were so shocked

That they did stop rehearsal in its tracks.

To cover their apparent breach of form

About so small and puny an affair

They mocked the man, derode him something fierce.

Then in his rage the actor turned to drink

And in his cups he freely spoke about

The Cecils and their plot to all assembled.

But so besotted were his wits by wine

That none could understand the words he spoke.

O'er e'er Dick Burbage sent him on his way

He drew the ire of a Tudor thug

Who slipped a knife between his ribs. The dons

Dispatched a constable that they might learn

Why Frizer murdered Quinn, but he they sent

Had not the wits he needed for the task.

Despite the breach of its security,

The plot against the Hapsburgs soldiered on;

King Al and Isabella soon were gone.

Literary Note[]

Old Bernard Shaw called Kit a blank verse beast;

The same does not apply to Harry T.

He'd not have written Ruled Britannia

If not for Jockey Fletcher's Boudicca.

He lifted many lines from Fletcher's play

As well as works of Shakespeare and his mates.

One work from which he drew was done in prose:

An Exhortacion to All English Subjects.

Will Averell was the author of the tract,

But Harry turned those lines to verse himself.[1]

Iambic Pentameter in "We Haven't Got There Yet"[]

By nineteen sixty-six it was all right

To write a play that did not use this scheme.

Tom Stoppard did so when he wrote a play

Called Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Initially, Will Shakespeare felt contempt

But soon forgot Jacobian disdain

When realized he that, though the form was crude,

These lines were very wise when content's seen.


  1. You'll find this fact in Ruled Britannia. Page four-five-seven is the page you seek.