Quatrain
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Quatrain

A quatrain is a type of stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines.

Existing in a variety of forms, the quatrain appears in poems from the poetic traditions of various ancient civilizations including Ancient India, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and China, and continues into the 21st century, where it is seen in works published in many languages. During Europe's Dark Ages, in the Middle East and especially Iran, polymath poets such as Omar Khayyam continued to popularize this form of poetry, also known as Ruba'i, well beyond their borders and time. Michel de Nostredame (Nostradamus) used the quatrain form to deliver his famous prophecies in the 16th century.

There are fifteen possible rhyme schemes, but the most traditional and common are: AAAA, ABAB, and ABBA.

Forms

Portrait of Henric Piccardt. Engraving by Pierre Landry from 1672 after a lost painting by Nicolaes Maes.
Under the portrait, a quatrain by Guy Patin.

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 Ruba'i form of rhymed quatrain was favored by Omar Khayyám, among others. This work was a major inspiration for Edward FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, written in Persian. The ruba'i was a particularly widespread verse form: the form rubaiyat reflects the plural. One of FitzGerald's verses[1] may serve to illustrate:

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter garment of Repentance fling:
   The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter--and the Bird is on the Wing.

See also

Notes

References


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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