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See Aubade

Also called caudate rhyme, a verse form in which rhyming lines, usually a couplet or triplet, are followed by a tail, a line of shorter length with a different rhyme; in a tail-rhyme stanza, the tails rhyme with each other, as in Michael Drayton's "Nymphidia" or Sir John Suckling's "A Ballad Upon a Wedding."

The classic form of Japanese poetry with five unrhymed lines of five, seven, five, seven, and seven syllables to produce a concentrated essence of a single event, image or mood.

(See also Haiku, Senryu)

The unnecessary and excessive repetition of the same idea in different words in the same sentence, as "the room was completely dark and had no illumination," or "a breeze greeted the dusk and nightfall was heralded by a gentle wind."

(Compare Pleonasm)

See under Acrostic Poem

See under Metaphor

The artistically satisfying equilibrium of opposing forces in a poem, usually referring to the use of language and imagery, but often applied to other elements, such as dramatic structure, rhythmic patterns, and sometimes to the aesthetic value of the poem as a whole.

A medieval competition in verse on the subject of love or gallantry before a tribunal between rival troubadours; also, a subdivision of a chanson composed by one of the competitors.

A unit or group of three lines of verse which are rhymed together or have a rhyme scheme that interlaces with an adjoining tercet.
Sidelight: The sestet, or second part of a Petrarchan sonnet, often consists of two tercets.
Sidelight: A tercet is used as an envoi in a sestina.
(See also Terza Rima)

A meter consisting of three syllables per foot, as in dactylic or anapestic meters. They are also referred to as triple meters.
Sidelight: Because the cadence of ternary meters can provide an effect quite different from that of binary meters, they are often considered for a different range of subjects, especially those of a frolicsome or humorous nature.
(Compare Binary Meter)

TERZA RIMA (tert-suh REE-muh)
A verse form consisting of tercets, usually in iambic pentameter in English poetry, with a chain or interlocking rhyme scheme, as: aba, bcb, cdc, etc. The pattern concludes with a separate line added at the end of the poem (or each part) rhyming with the second line of the preceding tercet or with a rhyming couplet, as in Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind."
Sidelight: The rhyme sound which carries from the middle line of each tercet to the opening line of the next tercet provides a strong sense of forward movement to the terza rima.
See Proceleusmatic

TETRAMETER (teh-TRAM-uh-tur)
A line of verse consisting of four metrical feet, as in William Blake's "Tyger! Tyger!," or Byron's "The Bride of Abydos."

(See Meter)

The "feel" of a poem that comes from the interweaving of technical elements, diction, tone, syntax, patterns of sound and meaning, i.e., all elements apart and independent of its structure. In other words, that which would remain if it were to be rendered in prose.

(Compare Content, Diction, Form, Motif, Persona, Style, Tone)

The central idea, topic, or didactic quality of a work.
Sidelight: Although theme is often used interchangeably with motif, it is preferable to recognize the difference between the two terms.
(See also Burden)
(Compare Content, Diction, Form, Persona, Style, Texture, Tone)

The unaccented part of a poetic foot; also, the first part of an antithetical figure of speech.
Sidelight: In musical terminology, the thesis is the downbeat, the accented part of a measure; due to an early confusion which was later recognized but never reversed, the meaning of the term is the opposite when used in reference to the poetic foot.
(Contrast Arsis)

TMESIS (tuh-MEE-sus)
The division of a compound word into two parts, with one or more words between, as what place soever for whatsoever.

(See also Kenning, Ricochet Words)

The poet's or persona's attitude in style or expression toward the subject, e.g., loving, ironic, bitter, pitying, fanciful, solemn, etc. Tone can also refer to the overall mood of the poem itself, in the sense of a pervading atmosphere intended to influence the readers' emotional response and foster expectations of the conclusion.
Sidelight: Another use of tone is in reference to pitch or to the demeanor of a speaker as interpreted through inflections of the voice; in poetry, this is conveyed through the use of connotation, diction, figures of speech, rhythm and other elements of poetic construction.
(Compare Content, Form, Motif, Style, Texture)

TOPOS (TOH-pohs) pl. TOPOI (TOH-poy)
From the Greek for "place" (short for "commonplace"), a literary passage or expression which becomes a conventional theme in subsequent literature. Although more commonly used in some literary genres than others, the term refers to content rather than form.
Sidelight: Standardized topics such as the poet's invocation if the Muse or of a dear departed "having gone to a better world" are examples of topoi, as well as are many metaphors.
(Compare Motif)

See Envoi

A medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great person; a drama, usually in verse, portraying a conflict between a strong-willed protagonist and a superior force such as destiny, culminating in death or disaster.

(See also Lay, Ballad)
(Compare Chanson de Geste, Epic, Epopee, Epos, Hamartia, Heroic Quatrain)

See under Hamartia

In classical poetry, a metrical foot of three short syllables.

TRIMETER (TRY-muh-tur)
A line of verse consisting of three metrical feet or three dipodies.
Sidelight: Many poems are written entirely in trimeter, as William Cowper's "Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk," but frequently poems of longer line patterns are varied by the interposition of occasional trimeter lines, such as John Keats' "Ode to a Nightingale."
(See Meter)

TRIOLET (TRY-uh-lut)
A poem or stanza of eight lines in which the first line is repeated as the fourth and seventh lines, and the second line as the eighth, with a rhyme scheme of ABaAabAB, , as in Adelaide Crapsey's "Song."
Sidelight: The capital letters in the rhyme scheme indicate the repetition of identical lines.
(Compare Rondeau, Rondel, Rondelet, Roundel, Villanelle)

See Ternary Meter

A rhyme in which three final syllables of words have the same sound, as in glorious and victorious.
Sidelight: Triple rhymes and disyllabic rhymes are used most frequently in humorous verse.
(See also Mosaic Rhyme)

See Tercet

A word of three syllables.

(See also Disyllable, Monosyllable, Polysyllable)

See under Troubadour

A metrical foot with a long or accented syllable followed by a short or unaccented syllable, as in ON-ly or TO-tal, or the opening line of Poe's "The Raven:"

ONCE up- | ON a | MID-night | DREAR-y, | WHILE I | PON-dered, | WEAK and | WEAR-y,
Sidelight: In English poetry, trochaic verse in long poems is infrequent since it can produce a monotonous effect, but this problem is avoided in short poems such as William Blake's "The Lamb," and "Tyger! Tyger!"
Sidelight: In a trochaic line of verse, the last syllable is often omitted to end the line with an accented syllable. A line thus shortened is termed catalectic.
(See also Meter, Rhythm)

See Rhyme Royal

The intentional use of a word or expression figuratively, i.e., used in a different sense from its original significance in order to give vividness or emphasis to an idea. Some important types of trope are: antonomasia, irony, metaphor, metonymy and synecdoche.
Sidelight: Strictly speaking, a trope is the figurative use of a word or expression, while figure of speech refers to a phrase or sentence used in a figurative sense. The two terms, however, are often confused and used interchangeably.
(See also Imagery)

One of a class of Occitan lyric poets and poet-musicians, often of knightly rank, who flourished from the 11th through the 13th centuries in Southern France and neighboring areas of Italy and Spain, and who wrote of courtly love.
Sidelight: Female troubadours were called trobairitz.
(See Tenson)
(See also Improvisatore, Jongleur, Meistersingers, Minnesingers, Minstrel, Scop. Trouvere)
(Compare Bard, Metrist, Sonneteer, Wordsmith)

One of a school of poets of northern France who flourished from the 11th to 14th centuries and who composed mostly narrative works such as chansons de geste and fabliaux.

(See also Improvisatore, Jongleur, Meistersingers, Minnesingers, Minstrel, Troubadour)

See Perfect Rhyme

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As soon
Seek roses in December, ice in June,
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff,
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that's false, before
You trust in critics.

---Lord Byron

Any nose
May ravage with impunity a rose.

---Robert Browning