Alexandrines are common in French poetry of the early modern and modern period and much less common in English, which is fond of an iambic pentameter or 5-foot verse. In the poetry of Edmund Spenser's Faery Queen 8 lines of pentameter are followed by an alexandrine, the 6-foot line slowing the regular rhythm of the 5-foot lines.
Undoubtedly the most famous Alexandrine in the English language is a rhyming couplet of Alexander Pope's, in which the first line is in iambic pentameter and the second line is an alexandrine:
- A needless alexandrine ends the song
- that like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.