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Quatrains

A quatrain is a series of four lines of poetry. Quatrains are most often rhymed according to one of the following rhyme schemes:

ABAB: This means that the first and third lines rhyme, and the second and fourth lines rhyme. This rhyme scheme is used in the quatrains of Elizabethan Sonnets.

ABBA: This means that the first and fourth lines rhyme, and the second and third lines rhyme. This rhyme scheme is used in Italian Sonnets.

AABB: This means that the first and second lines rhyme, as do the third and fourth. If the poem is in iambic pentameter, two successive rhyming lines are called heroic couplets.

ABCB: This means that only the second and fourth lines rhyme. This is similar to ABAB, except it only has half as many rhymes, making it easier to write. The following poem excerpt uses this rhyme scheme:

Jazz Ensemble
Like shards of ice, the broken moonlight floats
In fragments on the gently tossing wake:
A shattered line of silver in the dark,
A gleaming spotlight twinkling on the lake.

And all around in shadowed splendor stands,
The audience of grand, majestic trees,
With arms upraised in quiet eagerness,
And broad, green leaves that murmur in the breeze.

(Copyright 2008 by Douglas Twitchell)

See Also
Elizabethan Sonnets
Italian Sonnets
Iambic Pentameter

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