A trochee (the adjective is "trochaic") is a metrical foot comprised of a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable. In Greek comedy and tragedy, trochees appear often in lyric, choral, and spoken dialogue. In Latin comedy, trochees appear in verses accompanied by dance and march. Whole poems in trochaic verse are rare in modern poetry, but one still finds them in popular verse like songs, chants, nursery rhymes, proverbs, riddles, slogans, and jingles.

Sir John Suckling's "Song" is written in trochaic meter; the first stanza is reproduced here with the accented syllables in bold-face type.

Why so pale and wan, fond Lover?
Prithee why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
Looking ill prevail?
Prithee why so pale?

Here are two more examples of verse in trochaic meter; the first poem is by A. E. Housman, the second by W. H. Auden.

Infant Innocence

The Grizzly Bear is huge and wild;
He has devoured an infant child.
The infant child is not aware
It has been eaten by the bear.

In Memory of W.B. Yeats

Earth, receive an honoured guest;
William Yeats is laid to rest:
Let this Irish vessel lie
Emptied of its poetry.

W. H. Auden's "In Memory of W. B. Yeats" is also a good example of the epitaph.

[Zachary Sweet]