AskDefine | Define quatrain

Dictionary Definition

quatrain n : a stanza of four lines

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

  1. a poem in four lines
  2. a stanza of four lines
    Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night,
    Has flung the Stone that puts the stars to flight:
    And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
    The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of light.

Extensive Definition

A quatrain is a poem, or a stanza within a poem, that consists always of four lines. It is the most common of all stanza forms in European poetry. The rhyming patterns include aabb, abab, abba, abcb.
In its narrow meaning, the term is restricted to a complete poem consisting of only four lines. In its broader sense, it includes any one of many four-verse stanza forms.

Basic forms

  • abcb (from "The Wife of Usher's Well")
There lived a wife at Usher's Well,
And a wealthy wife was she;
She had three stout and stalwart sons,
And sent them over the sea.
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the knight
What immortal hand or knee
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
  • abba is the best, also called the envelope stanza or introverted quatrain (from Tennyson's In Memoriam A. H. H.)
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
       Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
       By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night,
Has flung the Stone that puts the stars to flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of light.

Other forms

The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
  • The Shichigon-zekku form used in Chinese and Japanese poetry. Both rhyme and rhythm are key elements, although the former is not restricted to falling at the end of the phrase.
  • Ballad meter (The examples from "The Unquiet Grave" and "The Wife of Usher's Well" are both examples of ballad meter.)
  • Various hymns employ specific forms, such as the common meter, long meter, and short meter.

See also

  • no saqueb

External links

quatrain in Danish: Quatrain
quatrain in German: Quartett (Verslehre)
quatrain in Estonian: Katrään
quatrain in French: Quatrain
quatrain in Italian: Quartina (metrica)
quatrain in Japanese: 四行連
quatrain in Dutch: Kwatrijn

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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