The Abercrombie Poetry Form

The Abercrombie is a stanza pattern using sprung rhythm and an interlocking rhyme scheme. It is patterned after Hymn to Love by British poet, Lascelles Abacrombie (1881-1938).

The Abercrombie is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of octaves made up of 2 quatrains.
• metric, written in sprung rhythm with L1,L3,L5,L7 are pentameter, L2 & L6 are tetrameter and L4 & L8 is trimeter.
• rhymed, interlocking rhyme scheme abac dbdc, efeg hfhg, etc. L4 and L8 are feminine rhyme. The interlocking rhyme is within the octave and does not extend to the next octave.

Hymn to Love by Lascelles Abercrombie

We are thine, O Love, being in thee and made of thee,
As théou, Léove, were the déep thought
And we the speech of the thought; yea, spoken are we,
Thy fires of thought out-spoken:
But burn’d not through us thy imagining
Like fiérce méood in a séong céaught,
We were as clamour’d words a fool may fling,
Loose words, of meaning broken.

For what more like the brainless speech of a fool,
The lives travelling dark fears,
And as a boy throws pebbles in a pool
Thrown down abysmal places?
Hazardous are the stars, yet is our birth
And our journeying time theirs;
As words of air, life makes of starry earth
Sweet soul-delighted faces;

As voices are we in the worldly wind;
The great wind of the world’s fate
Is turn’d, as air to a shapen sound, to mind
And marvellous desires.
But not in the world as voices storm-shatter’d,
Not borne down by the wind’s weight;
The rushing time rings with our splendid word
[Like darkness fill’d with fires.

For Love doth use us for a sound of song,
And Love’s meaning our life wields,
Making our souls like syllables to throng
His tunes of exultation,
Down the blind speed of a fatal world we fly,
As rain blown along earth’s fields;
Yet are we god-desiring liturgy,
Sung joys of adoration;

Yea, made of chance and all a labouring strife,
We go charged with a strong flame;
For as a language Love hath seized on life
His burning heart to story.
Yea, Love, we are thine, the liturgy of thee,
Thy thought’s golden and glad name,
The mortal conscience of immortal glee,
Love’s zeal in Love’s own glory.>

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My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for her wonderful resource site.

This is a FORM that I shall not attempt to write, for I cannot properly determine rhythm that is accentual or “sprung”. This is merely included for a more complete reference to those studying forms named for British Poets.