Difference between Blank verse and Free verse



I have read the definitions of blank verse and free verse several times but still could not differentiate between them, please make me understand their differences with examples.


Hi there,

Ok, first, note that blank verse mostly follows iambic pentameter, however free verse, on the other hand does not follow iambic pentameter.

Second, blank verse does not contain rhyming verses, nevertheless contains proper metrical pattern. Like blank verse, free verse also lacks rhyming lines but it is without fixed and consistent meter and rhythm.

Let me explain the difference through following examples:

Blank Verse:

From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

…bid me leap, rather than marry Paris,
From off the battlements of yonder tower;
Or walk in thievish ways; or bid me lurk
Where serpents are; chain me with roaring bears;
Or shut me nightly in a charnel-house,
O’er covered quite with dead men’s rattling bones,
With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls;
Or bid me go into a new-made grave,
And hide me with a dead man and his shroud;

Note I have underlined the regular iambic metric pattern that follows unstressed syllables followed by stressed syllables.

Free Verse:

From “Samson Agonistes” by John Milton

But patience is more oft the exercise
Of Saints, the trial of their fortitude,
Making them each his own Deliver,
And Victor over all
That tyranny or fortune can inflict.

In the following poem, see there are stressed and unstressed syllables however they do not follow any fixed metrical pattern.