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Single rhymes are words of one syllable rhyming together; as, breast and rest. These are sometimes called “masculine rhymes.”
Double rhymes are words, the last two syllables of which rhyme together; as, glory and story, tinkling and sprinkling, condition and repetition. Double rhymes are called by some authors “feminine rhymes."
Triple rhymes have three corresponding syllables; as, glorious and victorious, readily and stèadily, tenderly and slenderly.
Sectional, or line, rhyme is an agreement of sound occurring in the same line. Thus:
Her look was like the morning star.—Burns.
And snowy summits old in story:
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.- Tennyson.
To step aside is human.-Burns.
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea !- Coleridge. Then up with your cup, till you stagger in speech, And match me this catch, though you swagger and screech.-Scott.
Blank Verse is without rhyme. Its versification is noble and bold, particularly suited to subjects of dignity and force, which demand a freedom from the constraint and strict regularity of rhyme.
A Stanza is a division of a poem containing two or more verses. A stanza is commonly called a verse. Each line is a verse, but a stanza contains at least two lines. There are a great many kinds of stanza in English poetry. Some of the most common are explained below.
A Distich, or Couplet, consists of two verses rhyming together; as,
A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year.-Goldsmith.
Then to the still small voice I said,
What is so wonderfully made.- Tennyson. A Quatrain is a stanza of four lines; in general the lines rhyme alternately; as,
Soon rested those who fought; but thou
Who minglest in the harder strife
Thy warfare only ends with life.-Bryant. The Rhyme-Royal is a seven-line stanza, invented by Chaucer. It is composed of iambic pentameter lines, the first four being an ordinary quatrain, the lines rhyming alternately; the fifth line repeats the rhyme of the fourth, and the last two form a rhyming couplet. The following is an example:
Why then doth flesh, a bubble-glass of breath, I
Hunt after honor and advancement vain,
As if his days forever should remain ?
The Spenserian Stanza derives its name from its inventor, Edmund Spenser, who used it in his Faerie Queene. It consists of nine lines, the first eight being iambic pentameters, the last one an iambic hexameter. In respect to the rhyme, the stanza is constructed of two ordinary quatrains, with lines rhyming alternately. These quatrains are then tied together by the last line of the first quatrain rhyming with the first line of the second. The ninth line rhymes with the eighth.
This stanza has been found to be peculiarly suited to long poems, and was used by Spenser, Thomson, and Byron. A large part of Byron's poetry is written in it; among recent poets he is the most successful cultivator of it. The foliowing is a selection from Childe Harold:
It is the hush of night; and all between
The Sonnet Stanza originated with the Italians, or was borrowed by them from the early Provençal poets. The Italians were assiduous cultivators of this stanza, and brought it to such perfection that excellent models are to be found in the writings of nearly all the Italian poets; the sonnets of Petrarch and Dante, however, are the finest examples. The sonnet is very elaborate in its structure. It consists of fourteen lines of iambic pentameter, composing two divisions, called the Major and the Minor. The Major
division contains eight lines, and is called the Octave; the Minor division, six lines, and is called the Sestette.
The Octave consists of two quatrains, in each of which the first line rhymes with the fourth line, and the second with the third. The octave has but two rhymes, the first and the fourth lines in one quatrain rhyming with the first and the fourth in the other; so also the second and the third of the first quatrain rhyme with the same lines in the second. The octave is joined to the sestette by a close grammatical structure.
The Sestette is not fixed in its form, but the following sonnet by Milton illustrates the order generally found, and that which conforms more strictly to the Petrarcan model. In this order the first line rhymes with the fourth, the second with the fifth, and the third with the sixth.
When I consider how my light is spent
They also serve who only stand and wait!”
The following, from Wordsworth, shows yet a different order of rhyme in the sestette:
Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour:
6 The Ottava Rima, the heroic meter of the Italians, in which Tasso and Ariosto wrote, consists of eight lines of iambic pentameter, the first six rhyming alternately, the last two, in succession; as,
When I prepared my bark first to obey,
Morgante Maggiore (Byron's translation). In our language Byron's Don Juan is the chief example of this stanza.
The Terza Rima consists of iambic pentameters, with three rhymes at intervals; as,
Scarce had I learned the names of all that press
Of knights and dames, than I beheld a sight