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Caudate Stanza or Tail Rhymed Stanza


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English Verse

The Caudate or Tail Rhymed Stanza was a popular stanzaic form in 12th-14th century England. Variations also can be found in France in the form of the Rime Couée and Scotland in the Burns Stanza. Tail Rhymed Stanza simply refers to a stanza from 6 or 12 lines long with 1 or 2 short lines that carry the same rhyme.

The elements of the Caudate or Tail Rhymed Stanza are:

  1. stanzaic, most often written in any number of sixains but the stanzas could be 12 lines each.
  2. metered, often accentual with longer lines or 4 stresses and one or two lines of only 2 stresses. The lines are also found written in trochaic or iambic tetrameter with one or two lines dimeter. The shorter lines are most commonly in L3,L6,L9 & L12 but can be found in different arrangements as in the Burns Stanza
  3. rhymed, the most common schemes are aabaab or aabccb with L2 & L6 being the shorter lines. In a 12 line stanza common schemes are aabccbddbeeb or aabaabaabaab with L3,L6,L9 & L12 being the shorter lines.

    Rural Architecture by William Wordsworth 1801

    THERE'S George Fisher, Charles Fleming, and Reginald Shore,
    Three rosy-cheeked school-boys, the highest not more
    Than the height of a counsellor's bag;
    To the top of GREAT HOW did it please them to climb:
    And there they built up, without mortar or lime,
    A Man on the peak of the crag.

    They built him of stones gathered up as they lay:
    They built him and christened him all in one day,
    An urchin both vigorous and hale;
    And so without scruple they called him Ralph Jones.
    Now Ralph is renowned for the length of his bones;
    The Magog of Legberthwaite dale.

    Just half a week after, the wind sallied forth,
    And, in anger or merriment, out of the north,
    Coming on with a terrible pother,
    From the peak of the crag blew the giant away.
    And what did these school-boys?--The very next day
    They went and they built up another.

    --Some little I've seen of blind boisterous works
    By Christian disturbers more savage than Turks,
    Spirits busy to do and undo:
    At remembrance whereof my blood sometimes will flag;
    Then, light-hearted Boys, to the top of the crag!
    And I'll build up giant with you.

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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