The poem is formed of eight stanzas, each one is six lines long except for the fifth stanza which is an octet. The stanzas are formed of sets of three rhyming couplets in the form AABBCC DDEEFF, the metre is Iambic Tetrameter but each stanza includes a trailing last line which is in Iambic Trimeter. This form of rhyme and pattern of language adds to the effect of the poem in several ways. Normally a poem written in tetrameter, or lines of eight syllables, is lent a briskness or upbeat tempo, poems written in the more formal pentameter seem to carry a more deliberate and precise tone. However the language and the missing foot from the metre of the last line of each stanza helps to give the poem a more measured pace.
Poor helpless thing! What do I see,That I should sing of thee?The shortened line enforces a natural pause in our reading of the poem and this is what keeps the pace even and more fitting to the relaxed and peaceful subject matter. Within some of the stanzas you can feel the pace quickening, especially with the use of a string of monosyllabic words and repetition such as in stanza five Thy rosy cheek so soft and warm;Thy pinky hand and dimpled arm;But the pause at the end physically stops the build up of tempo and returns us to the soft, deliberate language at the start of the next stanza.
The effect of the rhyming couplet scheme is to give a sing-song quality to the poem, you can imagine
Bibliography: omantic Writings: An Anthology, edited by W.R. Owens and Hamish Johnson (1998), The Open UniversityApproaching Poetry, Sue Asbee (2001), The Open UniversityRomantic Writings, edited by Stephen Bygrave (1996), The Open University