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I have just started writing a new poem, and I am thinking about rhyme schemes. The one that jumps out to me looking at the few lines I have already written is: ABABCB CDCDED... (in dactylic dimeter, if that matters).

I would like to know if poems with this rhyme scheme have a name. I would also appreciate links to resources where I might find answers to similar questions myself in future (i.e. a list of rhyme schemes and their names) and/or any examples of similar poems.

Thank you!

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Terza rima

In poetry this form is known as terza rima, and also called "tercet form" or "three-line stanza form," which typically goes ABABCB, CDCDED, ...

You can see a very famous example of terza rima in Dante's Divine Comedy, and in fact many claim the form was invented by him.

Here's another example from "Acquainted With The Night" by Robert Frost:

I have been one acquainted with the night. (A)

I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. (B)

I have outwalked the furthest city light. (A)

I have looked down the saddest city lane. (B)

I have passed by the watchman on his beat (C)

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. (B)

(Source) (Source)

As an aside, in songwriting lingo, ABABCB is known as "standard form" or "verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus." (Source)

| improve this answer | |
  • @Rich That's fair, I could edit it to scoot that down to the bottom of the question or remove it. – Sciborg Aug 12 at 10:48
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    @Rich Edited, thank you for suggestion :) – Sciborg Aug 12 at 12:22
  • In a multiple-verse poem with this pattern, the more pedantic of poets will insist that the 5th line of the last stanza go back to an A rhyme, in order to make it sort of circular. This is optional of course. – Darrel Hoffman Aug 12 at 13:15
  • You answered my question perfectly, and I will not unaccept your answer, but i actually messed up in the post. Is it still a terza rima if it goes ABABCB DEDEFE...? I mean for the fifth line of each stanza to not necessarily rhyme with anything previously. – Micah Windsor Aug 12 at 15:04
  • @MicahWindsor I'm actually not sure! But my best guess is that it would probably still count, as the main characteristic of terza rima is the X-Y-X-Y-Z-Y pattern and that would still qualify even if the fifth line didn't rhyme with any previous lines. – Sciborg Aug 12 at 16:52

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