Specific line groups [148]


Encoding of specific types of line group, such as couplets, quatrains, Spenserian stanzas, etc.


Attribute values for specific types of <lg>:

common : for common stanzas (stanzas composed in common meter). “Common meter” describes a quatrain in iambics where the first and third lines contain four iambic feet, the second and fourth lines have three iambic feet. It occurs frequently in hymns and originated as one of several ballad forms.

couplet : for a pair of lines, usually (but not exclusively) rhymed. (How can you tell if an unrhymed pair of lines counts as a couplet?--if they seem to exist as a unit, especially one made typographically distinct; most couplets in our textbase will be rhymed, however.) NB that for practical reasons we probably will not encode, for instance, the couplets in an entire long poem consisting only of couplets; this value would be more useful to define (for example) a single couplet quoted from a larger poem

couplet-heroic : for heroic couplets. An heroic couplet is two rhymed lines in iambic pentameter

couplet-alexandrine : for Alexandrine couplets; an Alexandrine couplet is two rhymed Alexandrine lines. (When a line has six iambic feet, we call it an “Alexandrine”. Lines of one, two, or seven feet are possible, but rare. Lines of eight feet or more are extremely rare and usually break [through punctuation, or some other pausing device] into two).

octave : for any eight-line stanza which is not in ottava rima (see below)

ottava-rima : for an octave in iambic pentameter, rhyming ABABABCC

quatrain : for a group of four rhymed lines; this value would be most useful in identifying the components of a sonnet or other short poem. For a long poem whose verses are four lines long, it probably makes more sense to encode them as stanzas.

quintet : for any five-line stanza in any meter, rhymed or unrhymed.

rime-royal : for any group of lines consisting of seven iambic pentameter lines rhyming ABABBCC.

septet : for any seven-line stanza that is not in rime royal (see above)

sestet : for a six-line stanza (these are quite common in our textbase).

stanza-spenserian : for a Spenserian stanza. A Spenserian stanza consists of nine lines which rhyme ABABBCBCC.

tercet : for a tercet. A tercet is a group of three lines that clearly stands as a compositional unit. Tercets can be stanzas: the villanelle, for example, is a fixed-form type of poem made up of five tercets and a concluding quatrain. They can also be sub-units of larger units such as strophes and verse paragraphs. Often, for example, tercets rhyming AAA will be interspersed throughout a poem that is primarily in couplets--usually in these instances the tercets are typographically marked with a curly bracket.

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