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End-stopped

A metrical line ending at a grammatical boundary or break—such as a dash or closing parenthesis—or with punctuation such as a colon, a semicolon, or a period. A line is considered end-stopped, too, if it contains a complete phrase. Many of Alexander Pope’s couplets are end-stopped, as in this passage from “An Essay on Man: Epistle I”:

             Then say not man’s imperfect, Heav’n in fault;
             Say rather, man’s as perfect as he ought:
             His knowledge measur’d to his state and place,
             His time a moment, and a point his space.
             If to be perfect in a certain sphere,
             What matter, soon or late, or here or there?
             The blest today is as completely so,
             As who began a thousand years ago. 

The opposite of an end-stopped line is an enjambed line.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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