Spenserian Stanza

The following description is reposted with permission from The Poets Garret, with thanks to Jem Farmer for her help with that site.

Spenserian Stanza

Edmund Spenser used a distinctive verse form, now known as the Spenserian Stanza in several of his works, most notable is the epic Faerie Queen. The stanza has Nine lines and the main meter is iambic pentameter (10 syllables) over the first eight lines with a final line in iambic hexameter (12 syllables)

Stanza’s Rhyme Scheme: is; a. b. a. b. b. c. b..c. c., and typically has a caesura, or break, after the first three feet

Forth came that auncient Lord and aged Queene,
Arayd in antiquerobes downe to the ground,
And sad habiliments right well beseene;
Anoble crew about them waited round
Of sage and sober Peres, all gravely gownd;
Whom farre before did march a goodly band
Of tall young men, all hable armes to sownd,
But now they laurell braunches bore in hand;
Glad signe of victorie and peace in all their land.

from The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser

The form made a comeback in the Romantic period particularly with the poets Shelley and Byron:and it may be noted that Shelley did not stick to IP

Oh weep for Adonais! — The quick Dreams,
The passion-winged Ministers of thought,
Who were his flocks, whom near the living streams
Of his young spirit fed, and whom he taught,
The love which was its music, wander not, —
Wander no more, from kindling brain to brain,
But droop there, whence they sprung; and mourn their lot
Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
They ne’er will gather strength, or find a home again.

from Adonais, An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by PB Shelley


My Example

Form: Spenserian Stanza


One takes a mutt mitt when one walks his pup
if walking upon decent city streets.
If pup should poop, you ought to pick it up.
I’ve special gloves made out of plastic sheets;
the awkward ugliness that glove defeats.
I’ve taught my pup to backup to a shrub
where he calmly his nature’s call completes.
It’s seldom that he ever makes a flub.
the glove’s left home; I’m less well-trained, and that’s the rub.

© Lawrencealot – February 25, 2015

Visual template

Note: This poet forgot about the suggested caesura after the first three feet, so in that regard this is an atypical stanza.