End-stopping

End-stopping

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An end-stopped line is a feature in poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 in which the syntactic unit (phrase
Phrase
In everyday speech, a phrase may refer to any group of words. In linguistics, a phrase is a group of words which form a constituent and so function as a single unit in the syntax of a sentence. A phrase is lower on the grammatical hierarchy than a clause....

, clause
Clause
In grammar, a clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition. In some languages it may be a pair or group of words that consists of a subject and a predicate, although in other languages in certain clauses the subject may not appear explicitly as a noun phrase,...

, or sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

) corresponds in length to the line. Its opposite is enjambment
Enjambment
Enjambment or enjambement is the breaking of a syntactic unit by the end of a line or between two verses. It is to be contrasted with end-stopping, where each linguistic unit corresponds with a single line, and caesura, in which the linguistic unit ends mid-line...

, where the sense runs on into the next line. According to A. C. Bradley, "a line may be called 'end-stopped' when the sense, as well as the metre, would naturally make one pause at its close; 'run-on' when the mere sense would lead one to pass to the next line without any pause."

An example of end-stopping can be found in the following extract from The Burning Babe by Robert Southwell; the end of each line corresponds to the end of a clause.

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat, which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear.


The following extract from The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare is heavily enjambed.


I am not prone to weeping, as our sex
Commonly are; the want of which vain dew
Perchance shall dry your pities; but I have
That honourable grief lodged here which burns
Worse than tears drown.


In this extract from The Gap by Sheldon Vanauken
Sheldon Vanauken
Sheldon Vanauken is an American author, best known for his autobiographical book A Severe Mercy , which recounts his and his wife's friendship with C. S. Lewis, their conversion to Christianity and dealing with tragedy...

, the first and third lines are enjambed, while the second and fourth are end-stopped:


All else is off the point: the Flood, the Day
Of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

, or the Virgin Birth—Have done!
The Question is, did God send us the Son
Incarnate crying Love! Love is the Way!


Scholars such as A. C. Bradley and Goswin König have estimated approximate dates of undated works of Shakespeare by studying the proportion of end-stopping to enjambment, the former being more typical of Shakespeare's early plays, and the latter a feature of his later works.