Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook

Description of the Poem's Formal Elements

The rhyme scheme of this poem is ABAB, with perfect rhymes such as “lake” and “break” in lines one and three and “sail” and “gale” in lines two and four. This rhyme scheme continues throughout the entire poem, establishing perfectly structured rhymes with each first and third line of a stanza rhyming as well as each second and fourth line of the stanza rhyming. Percival’s poem exclusively possesses masculine rhyme, with lines which end on heavy stresses such as “stream” and “gleam” in lines five and seven as well as “far” and “star” in lines six and eight. The poem also contains pure iambic tetrameter which includes feet beginning in a light stress followed by a heavy stress with four iambic feet per line.

The sound of this poem is an interesting one as it is fast-paced when read aloud. This may be caused by the strict rhyme scheme and meter this poem possesses. Although it is quite melodic and calming, there also seems to be an adventurous tone. Each line and stress fits perfectly, causing an up-down, up-down rhythm that is extremely interesting to read aloud. This poem contains quite a bit of alliteration: in line four with “snowy sail” and “bears before,” in line twelve with “hies him home,” and in line eighteen with “silver spreads” as a few examples. There seems to be a major emphasis on the “s” sound within this work, as shown in line two, “The wild swan spreads his snowy sail”; line thirteen, “How sweet, at set of sun, to view”; and line eighteen, “A sheet of silver spreads below.” There is also some enjambment in the lines, with sentences and thoughts continuing from the end of a line onto the next one.