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VIII Eight Line Construction

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VIII. Eight Line Construction

An eight-line poetic unit has a musical term, the octave or octet as well as the Greek term octastich. The octave or octet is an eight-line stanza usually written adjacent to other uniform stanzas. (The term octet is often used when referring to the 8 line stanza along with the sestet or six-line stanza of the sonnet.) It is used synonymously with the octastich however octastich is technically reserved for a stand-alone eight-line poem.

Obviously, 2 quatrains without stanza break appear as an octave. However, there is a difference between an octave and an octave made up of 2 quatrains. A simplistic example, an alternating rhymed octave would have a rhyme scheme of abababab versus an octave made up of 2 quatrains of alternating rhyme would have a rhyme scheme of ababcdcd.

Heroic Octave is a poetic unit of 8 iambic pentameter lines linked by any rhyme pattern. A Sicilian octave, Italian octave, and the Ottava Rima are all heroic octaves. The difference lies in the rhyme scheme.

The Dark Hills by Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935)

Dark hills at evening in the west,
Where sunset hovers like a sound
Of golden horns that sang to rest
Old bones of warriors under ground,
Far now from all the bannered ways
where flash the legions of the sun,
You fade --- as if the last of days
were fading, and all wars were done.

Some more popular octaves are:

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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