[n] a stanza form having seven lines of iambic pentameter; introduced by Chaucer
A type of poetry consisting of seven lines, usually in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme is a-b-a-b-b-c-c. In practice, the stanza can be constructed either as a tercet and two couplets (a-b-a, b-b, c-c) or a quatrain and a tercet (a-b-a-b, b-c-c). This allows for a good deal of variety, especially when the form is used for longer narrative poems and along with the couplet, it was the standard narrative metre in the late Middle Ages.
Here is the opening stanza of Troilus and Criseyde:
- The double sorwe of Troilus to tellen,
- That was the king Priamus sone of Troye,
- In lovinge, how his aventures fellen
- Fro wo to wele, and after out of Ioye,
- My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye,
- Thesiphone, thou help me for tendyte
- Thise woful vers, that wepen as I wryt
and this is the first stanza of the Wyatt poem:
- They flee from me that sometime did me seek
- With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
- I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
- That now are wild and do not remember
- That sometime they put themself in danger
- To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
- Busily seeking with a continual change.