Spenserian stanza

Spenserian stanza

The Spenserian stanza is a fixed verse form invented by Edmund Spenser for his epic poem "The Faerie Queene". Spenser intended this poem to be many thousands of Spenserian stanzas, hence its 'epic' name, but he died before even 1/4 of his goal was completed. Each stanza contains nine lines in total: eight lines in iambic pentameter followed by a single 'Alexandrine' line in iambic hexameter. The rhyme scheme of these lines is "ababbcbcc."

Spenser's invention may have been influenced by the Italian form ottava rima, which consists of eight lines of iambic pentameter with the rhyme scheme "abababcc." This form was used by Spenser's Italian role models Ludovico Ariosto and Torquato Tasso. Another possible influence is rhyme royal, a traditional mediæval form used by Geoffrey Chaucer, among others, which has seven lines of iambic pentameter that rhyme "ababbcc."

Famously used by Robert Burns in his poem "The Cotter's Saturday Night" which shows his ability to use English forms while praising Scotland.

Spenser's verse form fell into disuse in the period after his death. However, it was revived in the 1800s by Lord Byron in "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage", by John Keats for "The Eve of St. Agnes", by Percy Bysshe Shelley for "The Revolt of Islam" and "Adonais" and by Sir Walter Scott for "The Vision of Don Roderick".

Bibliography

* Morton, Edward Payson. "The Spenserian Stanza before 1700". "Modern Philology", Volume 4, No. 4, April 1907. pp. 639-654


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  • Spenserian stanza — n. a stanza consisting of eight lines of iambic pentameter and a final line of iambic hexameter (an alexandrine), with a rhyme scheme ababbcbcc, used by Spenser in The Fairie Queene …   English World dictionary

  • Spenserian stanza — the stanza used by Spenser in his Faerie Queene and employed since by other poets, consisting of eight iambic pentameter lines and a final Alexandrine, with a rhyme scheme of ababbcbcc. [1810 20] * * * ▪ poetic form       verse form that consists …   Universalium

  • Spenserian stanza — noun a stanza with eight lines of iambic pentameter and a concluding Alexandrine with the rhyme pattern abab bcbc c the Spenserian stanza was introduced by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene • Hypernyms: ↑stanza …   Useful english dictionary

  • Spenserian stanza — noun Etymology: Edmund Spenser Date: 1817 a stanza consisting of eight verses of iambic pentameter and an alexandrine with a rhyme scheme ababbcbcc …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Spenserian stanza — noun the stanza used by Spenser in The Faerie Queene, consisting of eight iambic pentameters and an alexandrine, with the rhyming scheme ababbcbcc …   English new terms dictionary

  • Spenserian stanza — Spense′rian stan′za n. pro the stanza used by Spenser in his Faerie Queene (1590–96), consisting of eight iambic pentameter lines and a final Alexandrine, with a rhyme scheme of ababbcbcc[/ex] • Etymology: 1810–20 …   From formal English to slang

  • Spenserian stanza — /spɛnˌsɪəriən ˈstænzə/ (say spen.searreeuhn stanzuh) noun the stanza used by Spenser in his Faerie Queene and employed since by other poets, consisting of eight iambic pentameter lines and a final Alexandrine, with a rhyme scheme of ababbcbcc …   Australian English dictionary

  • Spenserian — 1817, from Edmund Spenser (c.1552 1599), Elizabethan poet. Spenserian stanza, which he employed in the Faerie Queen, consists of eight decasyllabic lines and a final Alexandrine, with rhyme scheme ab ab bc bcc. For the origin of the surname, see… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Spenserian — [spen sir′ē ən] adj. of or characteristic of Edmund Spenser or his writing n. 1. a follower or imitator of Spenser 2. a Spenserian stanza, or poem in such stanzas …   English World dictionary

  • spenserian — adj. of, relating to, or in the style of Edmund Spenser, Engl. poet d. 1599. Phrases and idioms: Spenserian stanza the stanza used by Spenser in the Faerie Queene, with eight iambic pentameters and an alexandrine, rhyming ababbcbcc. Etymology: E …   Useful english dictionary


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