Structure and versification in My Own Heart, Let Me Have More Pity On


The sonnet structure is identical to To Seem the Stranger, both in its quatrain and sestet structure, its rhyming and even the enjambement pattern. The thought is structured inevitably in much the same way, though the ending here is slightly more upbeat.


The use of ellipsis tends towards short lines, so that the fifth foot of the pentameter is sometimes hard to find, as in ll.2,5. There is no obvious use of sprung rhythm, certainly no outriders. Most lines fall easily into an iambic pentameter line however, and sometimes the word order is displaced to accommodate this, as in l.1 where ‘more' is moved in front of ‘have' to give a more regular scansion. The regularity emphasises the restrained tone.


The marked enjambements with mid-line stops and caesurae are the main feature of the counterpointed rhythms, a feature that occurs in all these dark sonnets.

Investigating My Own Heart
  • Scan ll.3,13.
    • Does the rhythm actually suggest torment?
  • At what sort of speed do you feel comfortable reading the poem?
  • Would you read it softly- and if so, what sounds and words would you emphasise to achieve such an effect?
    • If you would prefer to read it some other way, then what emphasis would you give?
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