headless line

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headless line

in prosody, a line of verse that is lacking the normal first syllable. An iambic line with only one syllable in the first foot is a headless line, as in the third line of the following stanza of A.E. Housman's poem "To an Athlete Dying Young":The time you won your town the raceWe chaired you through the market-place;Man and boy stood cheering by,And home we brought you shoulder-high.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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