Swinburne 7776

This is an octain form patterned on Algernon Charles Swinburne’s “Before Dawn.”

I simply named this form after it’s syllable pattern since Swinburne created several distinct octave forms.

It is:

Stanzaic: consisting of any number of octains.

Metered: Iambic Trimeter.

Rhyme pattern: aaabcccb, where only the b-rhymes are masculine.

Before Dawn by Algernon Charles Swinburne

SWEET LIFE, if life were stronger,

Earth clear of years that wrong her,

Then two things might live longer,

Two sweeter things than they;

Delight, the rootless flower,

And love, the bloomless bower;

Delight that lives an hour,

And love that lives a day.

From evensong to daytime,

When April melts in Maytime,

Love lengthens out his playtime,

Love lessens breath by breath,

And kiss by kiss grows older

On listless throat or shoulder

Turned sideways now, turned colder

Than life that dreams of death.

This one thing once worth giving

Life gave, and seemed worth living;

Sin sweet beyond forgiving

And brief beyond regret:

To laugh and love together

And weave with foam and feather

And wind and words the tether

Our memories play with yet.

Ah, one thing worth beginning,

One thread in life worth spinning,

Ah sweet, one sin worth sinning

With all the whole soul’s will;

To lull you till one stilled you,

To kiss you till one killed you,

To feed you till one filled you,

Sweet lips, if love could fill;

To hunt sweet Love and lose him

Between white arms and bosom,

Between the bud and blossom,

Between your throat and chin;

To say of shame—what is it?

Of virtue—we can miss it;

Of sin—we can but kiss it,

And it’s no longer sin:

To feel the strong soul, stricken

Through fleshly pulses, quicken

Beneath swift sighs that thicken,

Soft hands and lips that smite;

Lips that no love can tire,

With hands that sting like fire,

Weaving the web Desire

To snare the bird Delight.

But love so lightly plighted,

Our love with torch unlighted,

Paused near us unaffrighted,

Who found and left him free;

None, seeing us cloven in sunder,

Will weep or laugh or wonder;

Light love stands clear of thunder,

And safe from winds at sea.

As, when late larks give warning

Of dying lights and dawning,

Night murmurs to the morning,

“Lie still, O love, lie still;”

And half her dark limbs cover

The white limbs of her lover,

With amorous plumes that hover

And fervent lips that chill;

As scornful day represses

Night’s void and vain caresses,

And from her cloudier tresses

Unwinds the gold of his,

With limbs from limbs dividing

And breath by breath subsiding;

For love has no abiding,

But dies before the kiss;

So hath it been, so be it;

For who shall live and flee it?

But look that no man see it

Or hear it unaware;

Lest all who love and choose him

See Love, and so refuse him;

For all who find him lose him,

But all have found him fair.

Pasted from <http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/before-dawn-7/>

My example poem

Putting Decorum Before ‘Em (Swinburne 7776)

I turned and saw you staring
and knew you were comparing
my dress with girls more daring
than shyness lets me be.
Some say my clothes are fusty,
well it’s because I’m busty
and seem to make men lusty
when there’s too much to see.

While I’m too shy for posing
and chesty flesh exposing
I find myself supposing
that I could test the guys.
I’ll lean across the table
like Greta did with Gable
and see if you are able
to look me in the eyes.

© Lawrencealot – July 31, 2014

Visual Template
Swinburne 7776

The Stevenson

The Stevenson is an invented verse form patterned after the poem, Requiem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish poet 1850-1894.

The Stevenson is:
○ an octastich (8 line poem) made up of 2 quatrains.
○ metric, L1-L3 & L5-L7 are iambic tetrameter, L4 & L8 are iambic trimeter.
○ rhymed, rhyme scheme aaabcccb.

{Insert by Lawrencealot
Note:  I reject the metric representation and present RESTATED specifications below.}
Requiem by Robert Lewis Stevenson 1879
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This is the verse you grave for me:
‘Here he lies where he longed to be;
Here is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.’

Pasted from http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?showtopic=668
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on the PMO resource.

I was having difficulty scanning this poem, so asked for help from Gary Kent Spain, who provided the following:

UND er the WIDE and STAR ry SKY,
DIG the GRAVE and LET me LIE.
GLAD did i LIVE and GLAD ly DIE,
And i LAID me DOWN with a WILL.

THIS is the VERSE you GRAVE for ME:
‘HERE he LIES where he LONGED to BE;
HERE is the SAIL or, HOME from the SEA,
And the HUNT er HOME from the HILL.

It IS three lines of tetrameter followed by one of trimeter, but not strictly iambic:  the tetrameters are basically iambic (if a bit trochee heavy, and that last foot in S2L3 is an anapest), but the trimeter lines are roughly anapestic:  most anapestic-style lines in English have some iambs strewn about in them.  Perhaps ‘sprung’ rhythm would better be applied to meter such as this, where the nature of the foot is less rigid than normal; but that would fly in the face of convention I guess.
My thanks to Gary for the above. We see the same kind of reliance upon stressed syllables in the form “The Stephens”.
My Example poem
My Requiem (The Stevenson)
Wherever I have been I’ve been
content existing there and then
and never wondered where or when
I’d cash my chips and die.
So when I transfer from this realm
I reckon I’ll not overwhelm
the maker if he’s at the helm,
for he’ll know when and why.
© Lawrencealot – July 20, 2014
Note: This poem was written using the specifications set forth by Van Gorder, above.
It is correct according to her metric specifications, but is a corruption of the Stevenson, shown by the 2nd template below.

Added to original content.

In October 2015 I noticed about the meter. At that time in my development I had a much broader and hopefully more complete understanding of meter generally than I did when this was first entered here. This is my current analysis:
One can keep the definition for L1-L3, L5-L7 presented by Van Gorder if one realizes that single foot substitutions are allowed almost anywhere except the final foot in a line and trochee substitutions occur in the first foot in ALL of the tetrameter lines.
I think that is quite reasonable, BUT there is no way the trimeter lines can properly be called iambic.
One can NOT make final foot substitution and keep the metric name imho.
Therefore to answer the question recently put to me by Avraham Roos, I hereby boldly reject the specification presented above and PROPOSE that this is the correct metric specification for the Stevenson:

The Stevenson is:
An Octastitch made up of two quatrains.
Metric with L1-L3 and L5-L8 composed in IAMBIC TETRAMETER, and
with L4 and L8 composed of ANAPESTIC TRIMETER.
Each tetrameter line begins with a trochee foot substitution, and
each trimeter line contains an iamb foot substitution as foot two.

Visual Templates

Here is the template as used by Stevenson.
The Stevenson


Here is Stevenson’s Requiem, had he followed the metric without
extra substition or headless feet. Only L2 and L7 are changed,
and the L7 change makes the line unnatural.

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig me a grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
and I laid me down with a will.
This is the verse you grave for me:
‘Here he lies where he longed to be;
‘Here is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.’


The ochtfochlach is an Irish verse formof 8 lines with a consistent but unspecified length and meter. The rhyme scheme is aaab cccb. (aaabcccb)
The Ochtfochlach
I like the form and rhythm, too;
It fits and wears like well-made shoe.
With luck it lasts a whole life through
And looks no worse for wear.
Iambic feet can march along
And lend their cadence to a song
With beats that switch from soft to strong,
A pace that’s light to bear.
My example poem
Fochlach It   (Ochtfochlach)
The Ochtingfochlach rocks
it’s not some damn flummox;
I penned this wearing socks,
and yes, without my shoes.
Define most any style
this form will soon beguile
and render forth a smile.
So what is there to lose?
© Lawrencealot – December 4, 2013
Visual Template
There is no requirement for meter or line-length, though I chose iambic trimeter for this write.

 Cyhydedd hir

Cyhydedd Hir, cuh-hée-dedd heer (long cyhydedd), the 18th codified ancient Welsh Meters an Awdl, is most often written as a couplet following other metered couplets within a stanza.

Cyhydedd Hir is:
• written in any number of single lines made up of 19 syllables divided into 3 rhymed 5 syllable phrases and ending in a 4 syllable phrase carrying a linking rhyme to the next line.
• or could be written as a couplet of a 10 syllable line and a 9 syllable line. The 5th and 10th syllables of the 10 syllable line are echoed in rhyme mid line of the 9 syllable line which also carries a linking end-rhyme to be echoed in the end syllable of each succeeding couplet or stanza.
• or the couplet can be separated at the rhyme, into tercet or quatrain.

single line
x x x x a x x x x a x x x x a x x x b

or as a couplet

x x x x a x x x x a
x x x x a x x x b

or quatrains
x x x x a
x x x x a
x x x x a
x x x b

x x x x c
x x x x c
x x x x c
x x x b

or tercets
x x x x a
x x x x a
x x x x a x x x b

x x x x c
x x x x c
x x x x c x x x b

x x x x D
x x x x D
x x x x D x x x B

Thanks to Judy Van Gorder for her effort on this wonderful resouce.

Example Poem

Lovers in the Park

Lovers in the park
Share a certain spark,
life is but a lark.
They share desire.
Soft whispers calling,
on grass they’re sprawling,
each other mauling,
Eros on fire.

Wanting without shame,
desire sparks the flame,
part of all love’s game,
this is true lust.
In his eyes a gleam,
her pulse one hot stream.
for each– what a dream,
this sensual trust.

Visual Template

This is the quatrain option shown:
Cyhydedd hir