2) The English sonnet (also called the Shakespearean sonnet after its foremost practitioner) comprises three quatrains and a final couplet, rhyming ababcdcdefefgg. An important variant of this is the Spenserian sonnet (introduced by the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser), which links the three quatrains by rhyme, in the sequence ababbabccdcdee. In either form, the 'turn' comes with the final couplet, which may sometimes achieve the neatness of an epigram. quatrain, a verse stanza of four lines, rhymed or (less often) unrhymed. The quatrain is the most commonly used stanza in English and most modern European languages. Most ballads and many hymns are composed in quatrains in which the second and fourth lines rhyme (abab or abab); the 'heroic quatrain' of iambic pentameters also rhymes abab.
A different rhyme scheme (abba) is used in the In Memoriam stanza and some other forms. The rhyming four-line groups that make up the first eight or twelve lines of a sonnet are also known as quatrains. couplet [kup-lit], a pair of rhyming verse lines, usually of the same length; one of the most widely used verse-forms in European poetry. Chaucer established the use of couplets in English, notably in the Canterbury Tales, using rhymed iambic pentameters later known as heroic couplets: a form revived in the 17 th century by Ben Jonson, Dryden and others, partly as the equivalent in heroic drama of the alexandrine couplets which were the standard verse-form of French drama in that century. Alexander Pope followed Dryden's use of heroic couplets in non-dramatic verse to become the master of the form, notably in his use of closed couplets. The octosyllabic couplet (of 8-syllable or 4-stress lines) is also commonly found in English verse.
A couplet may also stand alone as an epigram, or form part of a larger stanza, or (as in Shakespeare) round off a sonnet or a dramatic scene. See also distich.