Syncope in writing refers to the omission of syllables or sounds from a word in order to contract the word. Syncope is used in poetic writing, as poets attempt to fit their words and lines of poetry to a specific rhythm and meter. Syncope is also present in our everyday speech, as we omit letters and sounds from our words, and writers will attempt to imitate this in written text as well.
Examples of Syncope (everyday speech)
Examples of Syncope in Literature
From Wordsworth's "The World is Too Much With Us"
The road extended o'er the heath
Weary and bleak: no cottager had there
Won from the waste a rood of ground
From Shakespeare's "A Lover's Complaint"
This said, his wat'ry eyes he did dismount,
Whose sights till then were levell'd on my face,
Each cheek a river running from a fount,
With brinish current downward flowe'd a pace
Also from Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18"
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
Literary Terms Examples