Spondee is the term for a specific type of poetic meter-a beat or "foot" with two accented syllables coming together. Poems are not written using spondee alone, but writers do use spondee in combination with other types of poetic meter.
Spondee creates a chopped rhythm when it occurs.
There are words that have two stressed syllables back-to-back. Here are some examples:
There are also two word phrases that are examples of spondee:
Examples of Spondee in Poetry:
From Romeo and Juliet-Juliet's parents react to her refusal to marry Paris. The iambic pentameter is interrupted by words that carry accents back-to-back, showing the displeasure of Juliet's parents.
CAPULET: How, how, how, how? Chopped logic! What is this?
"Proud," and "I thank you," and "I thank you not,"
And yet "not proud"? Mistress minion you,
Thank me no thankings, nor proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next
To go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green sickness, carrion! Out, you baggage!
You tallow face!
LADY CAPULET: Fie, fie! What, are you mad?
From Gerald Manley Hopkins' "Pied Beauty":
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
From Tennyson's "Break, Break, Break":
Break, break, break
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.
From Shakespeare's Macbeth-Lady Macbeth's speech:
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!-One, two. Why, then, 'tis time to do 't. Hell is murky!-Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?-Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.
Literary Terms Examples