is a metrical foot
used in formal poetry
. It consists of two short syllables followed by a long one. It may be seen as a reversed dactyl
Here is an example from Cowper, a line with three anapaestic feet:
- I am out of humanity's reach
Because of its length and the fact that it ends with a stressed syllable and so allows for strong rhymes, anapaest can produce a very rolling, galloping feeling verse, and allows for long lines with a great deal of internal complexity. The following is from Byron
- The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold
- And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold
- And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea
- When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
An even more complex example comes from Yeats
. He intersperses anapests and iambs, using six-foot lines (rather than four feet as above). Since the anapaest is already a long foot, this makes for very long lines.
- Fled foam underneath us and 'round us, a wandering and milky smoke
- As high as the saddle-girth, covering away from our glances the tide
- And those that fled and that followed from the foam-pale distance broke.
- The immortal desire of immortals we saw in their faces and sighed.