Ottava Rima Definition

Poetry Definition of Ottava Rima

The ottava rima stanza in English consists of eight iambic lines, usually iambic pentameters. Each stanza consists of three rhymes following the rhyme scheme a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c. The form is similar to the older Sicilian octave, but evolved separately and is unrelated. The Sicilian octave is derived from the medieval strambotto and was a crucial step in the development of the sonnet, whereas the ottava rima is related to the canzone, a stanza form.


From Frere's Whistlecraft:

But chiefly, when the shadowy moon had shed
O'er woods and waters her mysterious hue,
Their passive hearts and vacant fancies fed
With thoughts and aspirations strange and new,
Till their brute souls with inward working bred
Dark hints that in the depths of instinct grew
Subjection not from Locke's associations,
Nor David Hartley's doctrine of vibrations.

From Byron's Don Juan:

"Go, little book, from this my solitude!
I cast thee on the waters – go thy ways!
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
The world will find thee after many days."
When Southey 's read, and Wordsworth understood,
I can't help putting in my claim to praise –
The four first rhymes are Southey's every line:
For God's sake, reader! take them not for mine.

Top 5 Ottava Rima Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Premium Member Poem Dark Rainstorm Cozart, Dale Gregory Ottava rimadark, imagery, rain,
Premium Member Poem Summer Rain Barden, Gregory R Ottava rimabereavement, goodbye, soulmate, storm,
Premium Member Poem White Angels Cozart, Dale Gregory Ottava rimadeath, lost love, moving
Premium Member Poem Amethyst Fate Cozart, Dale Gregory Ottava rimaflower, imagery, metaphor,
Premium Member Poem White Rose in a Summer Garden Lane, Lin Ottava rimagarden, rose,

Standard Definition

[n] a stanza of eight lines of heroic verse with the rhyme scheme abababcc

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Misc. Definitions

\Ot*ta"va ri"ma\ [It. See {Octave}, and {Rhyme}.] (Pros.) A stanza of eight lines of heroic verse, with three rhymes, the first six lines rhyming alternately and the last two forming a couplet. It was used by Byron in ``Don Juan,'' by Keats in ``Isabella,'' by Shelley in ``The Witch of Atlas,'' etc.

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