I know both are a pause but I'm not sure if they refer to the same thing. I've been using a German book on poetry to help with my translation project. I've came across Zäsur which I found to be caesura. But an English book talks about metrical silence without (at least not yet) mentioning caesuras.

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Metrical silence and caesura do not refer to the same thing. They refer, as you note, to the same type of thing: they are types of pause.

A caesura (break or pause), falls outside the meter of the poem. It has no metrical value.

A metrical silence, on the other hand, is part of the meter of the poem, occurring when an unaccented syllable that is part of the metrical scheme is left out.

Caesura (cesura). A rhetorical and extra-metrical pause or phrasal break within the poetic line.

(from Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Enlarged Edition, 1974; italics mine)

metrical silence – a pause, like that in music, created when an unaccented syllable needed to complete the foot is omitted.

(from POEMED)

For examples of the controversial nature of metrical silence due to scansion variability, see A Note on the Scansion of Keats’s “La Bella Dame Sans Merci”, by Alexander Tung.


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