A cinquain, often known as a quintet, is a five-line poetry or stanza. It may follow any length of meter or line. The most well-known example of a Quintain is the Limerick. A limerick has a formal structure of five iambic pentameter lines with an end rhyme scheme of abab. There are many more varieties of cinquains than just limericks. Some examples include:
Rhyming couplets: this includes sonnets and sestets. In general, it means that there are two sets of three lines with an end rhyme scheme for each set.
Quatrains: these are four-line poems with an end rhyme scheme of abab. They are usually but not always composed of four equal-length lines. An example is John Donne's Epithalamion: "Neath my pillow's leafy coverlet, While night sleeps around her, here I lie, Awaiting the morning light."
Sextets: these are six-line poems with an end rhyme scheme of aaba. An example is Alfred Lord Tennyson's Ulysses: "Lo!
There are eight distinct types of quintetains. Cinquain: A cinquain is a five-line poem or stanza with a strict syllable count for each line. Adelaide Crapsey, an American poet, created this contemporary form. She named it after the number of years that Napoleon was in power before being exiled to Elba. The first two lines describe the subject, the third line introduces a contrast, the fourth line resolves this contrast and closes with a summary statement, and the fifth line repeats the initial word of the last line of the fourth line and ends with a question mark or exclamation point.
Cinquain poems often use alliteration (repeating words with similar sounds) and assonance (repeated words with similar meanings). These techniques create a pattern of sound and meaning that can be difficult to forget. In addition, some poets add a sixth line to some cinquain patterns. This extra line usually contains a metaphor or simile and serves as a link between the other five lines.
The term "cinquain" was originally used to describe a medieval French poetic composition consisting of five parts, but it has since become generic for any five-line poem.
Modern interpretations of the cinquain vary but most fall into one of three categories: descriptive, evocative, or ironic.
Quintain is the old name for the five-line stanza. This form of poetry was popular in Europe and America until the 19th century.
It's easy to understand why quintains were popular: they're short, witty, and often satirical, like this example by John Dryden: "Macaulay's Lays are very fine, / But Quintain's better still - it tells us how." They can also be sentimental or prayerful. This poem by William Cowper is in quatrains:
The drooping willow, bowing low,
Affords no aid to him who lies beneath;
Its leaves are dry, its water far away.
Yet, though forsaken by man, it stands,
With constant memory of past times.
Oft have I seen the wretched fiddler, when thirsty, stop at this tree, and with eager eyes scan the approaching evening, that he might have something to drink from it.
A stanza is a division of four or more lines in poetry that have a predetermined length, meter, or rhyme scheme. The number of lines varies depending on the type of stanza, however it is unusual for a stanza to include more than twelve lines.
In traditional ballads and songs, each verse (or stanza) usually ends with one of three special words: "ly", "yly" or "e'en". These words are used to signal the end of the song or poem.
The first line of a stanza often contains a title of some kind which identifies what theme or subject the poem or ballad is going to deal with. This is called the stanza's subject. Each subsequent line of the stanza elaborates on this subject.
Every poem consists of multiple sentences, usually eight but sometimes six or ten. A sentence is a group of words containing a subject and a verb. In general usage, a single sentence does not contain both a subject and a verb; instead, there is a subject and a verb within the same word (such as the subject "I" and the verb "love" in the sentence "I love you").
Stanzas of seven lines A septet is a 7-line stanza of any type. The most popular, and presumably the only one with a specific name, is rhyme royal, which employs the scheme ababbcc, with lines of 10 syllables each, i.e. (typically) iambic pentameter. The Troilus stanza is another name for Rhyme Royal. A related but irregular form is the tercet, which is a stanza of three lines, usually iambic, as in tercets from Theocritus or Virgil.
Seven-line poems are common in English poetry, especially early modern poetry. One example is John Donne's "The Sun Rising". Another is William Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood".
Donne's poem contrasts the beauty of nature at sunrise with the pain of love at its lowest ebb. The first three lines describe how the sun rises over the sea and turns all nature to beauty. Then, in the fourth line, the poet suddenly shifts tone and describes how he feels upon seeing his lover. He can hardly bear the thought that she should marry another man next week (line 9), so deeply does his love burn for her.
Wordsworth's ode was inspired by Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Khan", which used the same imagery as Wordsworth's ode.
A limerick is a five-line poem that is intended to be amusing. The first, second, and fifth lines must be seven to ten syllables long, rhyming, and with the same linguistic rhythm. The third and fourth lines should only contain five to seven syllables each, and they should also rhyme and have the same rhythm. These two lines make up the complete limerick.
It is very common for limericks to have more than five or six lines. Most limericks consist of twelve lines equal in length, but some are made up of thirteen or fourteen lines. Since a line of poetry contains about seventy words, this means that a typical limerick is composed of approximately eight hundred words.
The form of the limerick makes it easy to add more lines: just start the next one while still thinking of something funny to say about the last one. This is why most limericks have more than five lines.
Looking at the limerick above, you can see that it has seven lines of poetry. This means that there are twenty-one ways to rearrange the words in the limerick so that it becomes longer. This would make the first line longer by one word, so it would now be seven letters long instead of six.
A monostich is a poem or stanza with one line; a couplet has two lines; a tercet or triplet has three lines; and a quatrain has four lines. Many poems consist of several monostichs or pairs of opposites.
Pairwise comparison is a common technique in educational settings to help students understand what is being asked of them on tests or in papers by asking them to compare two things side by side. This method can be used with multiple choice questions as well as open-ended responses, and it helps students see how different choices affect the overall score. For example, when comparing two candidates for a job, the employer can ask each candidate to pair off with another candidate and explain why they are making the selection they do. The aim is that this will allow the employer to see similarities and differences between the candidates without having to make a final decision immediately.
The term "one-liner" was originally used to describe limericks, which have six lines instead of five. However, it has since been used to describe poems with any number of lines exceeding one.
In poetry circles, a one-liner is referred to as a sonnet or sestina.