Thursday, August 12, 2010

A bit of Don Juan

My second Shakespeare poem of the day (16th overall) was an ottava rima. I won't tell you what mine is about, but I will tell you that I used the words "vouchsafed", "filial", and "adieu", and you may make of that what you please.

I was just doing a bit of checking on my formatting for my ottava rima, to see whether the ending couplet is typically indented (the answer is NO), and it occurred to me to share this bit of Don Juan (pronounced "Don Jew-en", as it turns out) by George Gordon, Lord Byron:

"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.


Form: Ottava rima is a rhymed form (hence the "rima") written in eight lines (or an "octave", hence the "ottava"). It is an Italian form, hence the Italian name, and it is rhymed ABABABCC. Eight lines, three rhymes, and you may stop with one stanza or write book-length epics (a la Byron) this way.

I love Byron's wit: He wrote half of this particular octave by quoting Southey; as a result he had to come up with one A line, one B line and a couplet in order to finish. And so funny!

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