Swinburne Octain

This is a refrain poem, the form was one of many un-named forms invented by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909).

 I  have interpreted the specifications from looking at the work of one of Swinburne’s most dedicated students, AP’s own Eusebius.

 

There are at least TWO significant versions of an octain he created.  This first, presented here is  written in iambic meter, the second  written in trochaic.  The is the first:

 

Rhyming pattern: ABccabAB, where the capital letter indicate verbatim repetition of a line.

The “b” rhymes are all iambic trimeter,  all other lines  are feminine rhymes utilizing footless (or catalectic) iambic tetrameter.

Syllabic:  7/6/7/7/7/6/7/6

 

The first stanza, is repeated as the final stanza of the poem, thus it seems sensible that the minimum poem length should be at least four stanzas.

 

 

The Trochaic version is written with the Rhyming pattern: ababcccb

Syllabic: 9/8/9/8/9/9/9/8

 

The accent is as two trochee feet, an amphibrach and a trochee with all “b” rhymes being catalectic.

Example Poem

 The Tart (Swinburne Octain)

This tart so thin, bewitching,
with beauty, fay and pale.
Her tattoos all parading,
Her ebon curls cascading,
until I am just itching
to see her all in Braille.
This tart so thin, bewitching,
with beauty, fay and pale.

She seems an apparition
both siren myth and tramp,
who sells her pleasures cheaply
to those who want her deeply.
I feel I must audition
to win time with this vamp.
She seems an apparition
both siren myth and tramp,

Her long smooth legs inviting
all who may simply glance.
Though men might once demean her
they’ll dare not come between her
and one she is inviting.
Each man would like his chance.
Her long smooth legs inviting
all who may simply glance.

To me she whispered lightly,
“I’ll show you realms of love.”
Her word were most insightful
Her movements were delightful
I longed to have her nightly
beneath the moon above.
To me she whispered lightly,
“I’ll show you realms of love.”

This tart so thin, bewitching,
with beauty, fay and pale.
Her tattoos all parading,
Her ebon curls cascading,
until I am just itching
to see her all in Braille.
This tart so thin, bewitching,
with beauty, fay and pale. 

© Lawrencealot – June 17, 2013

 

 

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