Burns’ Stanza Notes

Also known as the Standard Habbie this stanza consists of six lines. Lines 1, 2, 3, and 5 are octosyllabic and rhyme. Lines 4 and 6 are hexasyllabic and form the second rhyme.

This gives the following schematic:

xxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxa
xxxxxxxa
xxxxxb
xxxxxxxa
xxxxxb

Example:

To a Mouse on Turning up her Nest with a Plough by Robert Burns

Wee sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an chase thee,
Wi murdering pattle!

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion.
An fellow mortal!

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