A quatrain is a stanza or poem consisting of four lines. It is the most popular stanza used in English-language verse .


Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poetry written in ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome and continues into the 21st century, where it is seen in works published in several languages. During Europe's Dark Ages, in the Middle East and especially Iran, polymath poets such as Omar Khayyam continued to popularize this form of poetry, also known as Rubaai, well beyond their borders and time.


The quatrain is the most commonly use stanza in English poetry. Examples of quatrains are;

  • Ballad meter or ballad measure. Rhyme scheme A-B-x-B. Odd lines loose iambic tetrameter , even lines loose iambic trimeter .
  • Clerihew . Rhyme scheme A-A-B-B. Intentionally irregular meter.
  • Common meter or common measure. Rhyme scheme A-B-A-B. A lines iambic tetrameter, B lines iambic trimeter.
  • Decasyllabic quatrain. Generic name for any quatrain formed of 10-syllable lines.
  • Elegaic stanza. Rhyme scheme A-B-A-B Iambic pentameter.[1]
  • Englyn. A syllabic verse form from the Welsh language, now also popular in the English language.
  • Heroic stanza. Rhyme scheme A-B-A-B. Iambic pentameter.[1]
  • Long meter. Rhyme scheme A-B-A-B. Iambic tetrameter.
  • Ruba'i. Arabic for quatrain. Ruba'i of Fitzgerald: Rhyme scheme A-A-x-A. Iambic pentameter.
  • Shairi (also known as Rustavelian Quatrain), a verse form of four 16-syllable lines rhyming A-A-A-A invented by Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli.
  • The Shichigon-zekku form used in Chinese and Japanese poetry. Both rhyme and rhythm are key elements, although the former is not restricted to falling at the end of the phrase.
  • Short meter. Rhyme scheme A-B-A-B. Iambic trimeter.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Elegaic stanza," Encyclopedia Britannica,, Web, July 3, 2011.

External linksEdit

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