The O'Shaughnessy

• The O’Shaughnessy

is a verse form patterned after a single stanza in “Ode” by Arthur William Edgar O’Shaughnessy (1844-1881).

The O’Shaughnessy is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of octaves.
○ metered, sprung rhythm, alternating trimeter and tetrameter lines. The odd number lines are trimeter and the even number lines are tetrameter.
○ rhymed, rhyme scheme abababab. The odd numbered lines are feminine rhyme and the even numbered lines are masculine rhyme.

Ode by Arthur O’Shaughnessy
WE are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
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My thanks to Judi Van Gorden for creating the fine resource at PMO.
Sprung rhythm is a poetic rhythm designed to imitate the rhythm of natural speech. It is constructed from feet in which the first syllable is stressed and may be followed by a variable number of unstressed syllables.[1] The British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins claimed to have discovered this previously unnamed poetic rhythm in the natural patterns ofEnglish in folk songs, spoken poetry, Shakespeare, Milton, et al. He used diacritical marks on syllables to indicate which should be drawn out (acute e.g. á ) and which uttered quickly (grave, e.g., è).
Some critics believe he merely coined a name for poems with mixed, irregular feet, like free verse. However, while sprung rhythm allows for an indeterminate number of syllables to a foot, Hopkins was very careful to keep the number of feet he had per line consistent across each individual work, a trait that free verse does not share. Sprung rhythm may be classed as a form of accentual verse, due to its being stress-timed, rather than syllable-timed,[2] and while sprung rhythm did not become a popular literary form, Hopkins’s advocacy did assist in a revival of accentual verse more generally.[3]
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For a thoroughly technical treatise on Sprung Rhythm see:
Note: The Ode presented above does NOT comply with the specifications presented, in that the second stanza has a rhyme pattern of  a a b b a b a b.
My example poem:
In Transit

In Transit (The O’Shaughnessy)

She made my ride to work a pleasure
Although she dressed in casual clothes
She’d beat the rest by any measure.
When first I thought to speak I froze.
But transit-time provided leisure
and we both used it I suppose
to stoke romance we’ll always treasure
for on this night I shall propose.

(c) Lawrencealot = July 6, 2014