Poetic Forms: 14. Terza Rima

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14. Terza Rima

The Terzanelle and the Villanelle grew from another Italian form, the Terza Rima.

The Terza Rima is written in triplets, or tercets.
There is no set number of number of tercets.

It will end with a single couplet, in one of two ways:

A. You can carry down the last of the middle lines and write a single rhyming line to form the couplet

B. You can make the middle line of the last triplet rhyme with your first (A) pair, and carry down either the two rhymed lines from the first stanza, like a villanelle or a terzanelle, or one of those lines, to re-establish the pattern.

There is also a hybrid form that uses the pattern of the Terza in a strict form of four triplets and a final couplet and produces the Terza Rima Sonnet!

Lines 1 and line 3 of each tercet will rhyme with each other, and the middle line of the verse will establish the rhyme for the next triplet pair.

As with so many of the forms, in English, the poem is usually rendered in iambic pentameter. But any meter is acceptable as long as it is maintained in the patter chosen, as is using a different poetic foot for the middle lines.

A first A
B first B
A second A (rhymes with the first line)

B second B
C first C
B third B, rhymes with other B lines

C second C
D first D
C third C rhymes with other C lines

Continue until you are ready to sum up, and end (for example):

X second x
Y first Y
X third x

Y second Y
Y third Y


In the variant, you would use:

X second x
Y(A) rhyme this line with your original A lines
X third x

A repeat first A from above
A repeat second A from above



Robert Frost
Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain--and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-by;
and further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: fileg

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: Other

Genre: Research Article

Rating: General

Last Updated: 02/01/04

Original Post: 06/12/03

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