Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook

A Formal Description of "Forget Me Not" by Fitz-Greene Halleck


The poem “Forget Me Not” by Fitz-Greene Halleck is divided into three stanzas with eight lines each, making it stand out from any traditional forms. Each line of the poem also ends with an end-stop, which is a punctuation mark like a comma, exclamation point, question mark, or period. Halleck also uses repetition to help structure the poem. All three stanzas end with the use of anaphora, with Halleck repeating the plea “forget-me-not,” a request from the flower to the poem’s protagonist to not be forgotten after leaving their life. The color blue, or “azure,” is also repeated throughout the poem– in lines four, nine, and seventeen.

Use of Rhyme:

The rhyme structure does not follow any of the standard rhyme schemes in the time period. The only rhyme that is repeated in more than two lines is “D,” or the single-syllable rhymes ending in “-ot.” Otherwise, the rhymes Halleck uses are only done in two lines, and are not repeated again in other lines or stanzas. This would make the rhyme scheme of the first stanza ABABCDCD– the A rhyme appears in lines one and three with “flower” and “hour,” but doesn’t appear again in the rest of the piece, and this is true for the others as well. The full scheme, therefore,  is ABABCDCD / EFEFGDGD / HIHIJDJD. All of the rhymes are also true rhymes, as the stressed syllables between the two words make the exact same sound. The end-rhymes are also almost all masculine, because they’re single-syllable and end with a heavy stress. The only divergences from this pattern is in the first line (“flow-er”) of the first stanza, which pairs with the end-rhyme of the third line (“hour”) as feminine, since they’re both lightly stressed.


It is written in tetrameter, with the lines having four feet. The first line opens in iambic tetrameter, with four feet alternating between a light stress first then a heavy stress. A clear example of that can be found in the poem’s very first line, with the stresses alternating between heavy (“there.” “flow-,” “love-,” “flow-”) and light (“is a,” “-er,” “a,” “-ly,” “-er”).  A syllable with a heavy stress like “flow-” will be longer and louder in comparison to its lightly stressed counterparts (“-er”). This pattern continues throughout the piece, continuing that pattern of meters having light stresses before the heavy ones, meaning it has a pure meter. As another example of the use of iambic tetrameter, one can look to the next line: it begins with a light stress (“tinged,”) and swaps to a heavy stress (“deep”), before going back to a light stress (“with”), and so on (“faith’s" un-” “-chang-” “-ing” “hue” - with the italicized phrase being heavily stressed).