Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 36: Blank Verse: The Princess (Excerpt)

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

lesson image

Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain height:

What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang),

In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?

But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease

To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine,

To sit a star upon the sparkling spire;

And come, for Love is of the valley, come,

For Love is of the valley, come thou down

And find him; by the happy threshold, he,

Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize,

Or red with spirted purple of the vats,

Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk

With Death and Morning on the silver horns,

Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine,

Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice,

That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls

To roll the torrent out of dusky doors:

But follow; let the torrent dance thee down

To find him in the valley; let the wild

Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave

The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill

Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke

That like a broken purpose waste in air:

So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales

Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth

Arise to thee; the children call, and I

Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,

Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;

Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn,

The moan of doves in immemorial elms,

And murmuring of innumerable bees.

    Poetic Forms Poetic Forms    

Lesson 36: Blank Verse: The Princess (Excerpt)

by Alfred Lord Tennyson


Study the poem for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read the poem each day.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Read about the poetic form.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.


In Alfred Lord Tennyson's narrative poem "The Princess," a princess founds a university for women only. Her betrothed dresses as a woman and sneaks in to win her heart. The poem is written in blank verse and in iambic pentameter but follows no rhyming scheme.


Poems often adhere to specific poetic forms, defined as 'poems following distinct sets of rules.'

The nine poetic forms we'll study include the:

  1. Sijo: A lyrical Korean poetic form of three long lines.
  2. Haiku: A Japanese poem of three lines and a total of seventeen syllables.
  3. Limerick: A humorous poem of five lines and the rhyming scheme AABBA, typically having syllables of 9–9–6–6–9.
  4. Sonnet: A poetic form of fourteen lines that follow one of a few common rhyming schemes.
  5. Epitaph: A poem honoring the deceased, engraved on a burial marker or tomb.
  6. Acrostic: A poem where particular letter spell out a secret message, often the first letter of each line.
  7. Visual: A poem written in such a way that the lines form a pattern, usually related to the subject-matter of the poem.
  8. Ode: A poem honoring and/or celebrating something or someone.
  9. Blank Verse: A poetic form with regular meter, particularly iambic pentameter, but no fixed rhyme scheme.

Blank verse poems generally follow these rules:

  1. Have a regular meter or rhythm, such as iambic pentameter.
  2. Do not follow a rhyming scheme (e.g. no AABBCC)

Blank verse typically follows iambic pentameter, but other rhythms are possible.

  1. Iambic Pentameter: da-DUM
  2. Trochee (pronounced 'TRO-key'): DUM-da
  3. Anapaest: da-da-DUM
  4. Dactyl: DUM-da-da


Activity 1: Recite the Poem Title, Poet Name, and Poem

  • Each day this week, recite aloud the title of the poem, the name of the poet, and the poem.

Activity 2: Study the Poem Picture

Study the poem picture and describe how it relates to the poem.

Activity 3: Narrate the Poem

  • After reading the poem, narrate the poem concepts aloud using your own words.

Activity 4: Feel the Rhythm

  • Practice reciting the following blank verse rhythms aloud.
  • da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM, da-DUM (Iambic Pentameter)
  • DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM-da, DUM-da (Trochee)
  • da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM, da-da-DUM (Anapest)
  • DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da, DUM-da-da (Dactyl)

Activity 5: Complete Book Activities   

  • Click the crayon above, and complete page 39 of 'Elementary Poetry 6: Poetic Forms.'


  1. 'The Princess (Tennyson poem).' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  2. 'Iambic Pentameter.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  3. 'Trochee.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  4. 'Anapaest.' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.
  5. 'Dactyl (poetry).' Wikipedia. Wikipedia.org. n.p.