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God and my right shall me defend.

I have said this motto a fair few times in my head a number of times and it seems as though iambic tetrameter is the meter that fits best

The way I see it is,

god   AND   my   RIGHT   shall   ME   deFEND
 x    /      x    /        x      /    x /

I was wondering if anybody had any alternative suggestions or if for once I am actually correct in seeing the motto in this way?

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1 Answer 1

How is and more important than God?

GOD and my RIGHT SHALL me deFEND.

The line is two choriambs.

God and my right is a set choriambic phrase. The last four syllables can be parsed as another choriamb, as above, or as two iambs, "shall ME deFEND" (as JAM has pointed out in comments).

The phrase is translated from a Norman French phrase which is almost certainly two choriambs, for example something like Dieu et mon droit soient ma défense, or Dieu et mon droit doivent me défendre. It's reasonable that the English translation should follow that pattern. It also produces a balanced lyrical line.

What is absolutely certain is that the phrase is not an iambic tetrameter.

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5  
To me it's GOD and my RIGHT shall ME deFEND - not quite the same (me being more important than shall). A choriamb plus two iambs. –  JAM Jan 15 '13 at 23:58
    
with that read (GOD and my RIGHT shall ME deFEND) why call it a choriamb and not a trochee and 3 iambs? The first 4 syllables aren't part of some phrase that, as a unit, form a choriamb like "over the hill". –  Dan Jan 16 '13 at 0:11
2  
Actually, they are. –  Andrew Leach Jan 16 '13 at 0:13

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