Stanza Patterns - Definitions

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Definitions of stanza patterns. See my other stanza quizzes.

couplet

two lines

tercet

three lines

quatrain

four lines

quintain

five lines

sestet

six lines

septet

seven lines

octet

eight lines

blank verse

unrhymed iambic pentameter

heroic couplet

rhymed, closed, iambic pentameter couplets.

sonnet

fourteen lines in iambic pentameter with one of several rhyme schemes

English sonnet

sonnet that rhymes ababcdcdefefgg, has three quatrains and a couplet. The quatrains present a problem and the couplet makes a comment on it.

Italian Sonnet

sonnet that rhymes abbaabba in the octet with some combination of cd and e in the sestet. Octet presents the problem, and the sestet resolves it.

Spenserian sonnet

sonnet with difficult rhyme scheme, ababbcbccdcdee.

Irregular sonnet

sonnet with any rhyme scheme the poet wants.

ballad stanza

quatrain rhyming abcb with the odd-numbered lines in iambic tetrameter and the even numbered lines in iambic trimeter.

Spenserian stanza

nine-line stanza with first eight lines in iambic pentameter, and the ninth is an alexandrine, a six-foot line. Rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc.

terza rima

tercets rhyming aba, bcb, cdc, etc. with interlocking rhyme.

Chaucerian stanza

seven line stanza in iambic pentameter and rhymes ababbcc.

Burns stanza

six-line stanza rhyming aaabab. Lines 1,2, 3 and 5 are tetrameter, and lines 4 and 6 are dimeter.

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