• What is rhythm in poetry? 
  • Definition of rhythm in poetry.
  • Difference between meter and rhythm.

Rhythm is the recurrent pattern of sounds in a verse line. The pattern of sounds are based on: stressed and unstressed syllables or strong and weak syllables, the accent, the tone, the degree of loudness, the high and low pitch, etc that are used to utter the syllables of the words in a verse line. It gives music to the line.

Rhythm is the soul of poetry. It differentiates poetry from a common speech or prose sound. It determines the meter in a verse line and is closely related to it.

Sometimes, meter and rhythm are used as synonyms or as identical but there is a difference between them- meter is the structure or pattern of rhythm, it is a measurable device, that is specified for a verse line in poetry only, whereas, rhythm is the recurrent pattern of sounds based on the stressed and unstressed syllables, accent, tone, etc of a verse line.

Rhythm can also be used in other forms of arts as well- like in music (the beat or the tone), dance (the movement), etc.


  • What is stanza in poetry? 
  • Definition of stanza in poem.
  • Types of stanza. 

Stanza is the grouping of the verse lines in a poem, often represented by a space or a blank line in printed form. Generally (but not necessarily) the grouping of the verse lines, i.e; stanza, are based on: a recurrent pattern of rhyme scheme and/or the number and length/meter of the verse lines.

Sometimes different stanzas may have different rhyme schemes, varying numbers and length of the verse lines in the same poem. 

The choice of stanza-type, number of lines, its length/meter, rhyme scheme etc are decided by the poet as per the need of the poem.

Stanzas can set off the mood of the poem. Different stanzas may contain different emotions/ideas/visions but are always connected to each other throughout the poem.

A poem, on one hand, might be composed of unrhymed stanzas but with a fixed number and length of the verse lines (for example the epic poems). A poem, on the other hand, may be composed of rhymed stanzas but with varying numbers and length of the verse lines (for example the irregular ode).

Isometric stanza- A stanza having the same meter in every line.


From fairest creatures we desire increase,

That thereby beauty’s rose might never die.

But as the riper should by time decease,

His tender heir might bear his memory:

(Sonnet 1 by William Shakespeare).

Each line of the above stanza is written in iambic pentameter ,i.e; each line has the same meter.

Heterometric stanza- A stanza having different meters in lines.


Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

(Gitanjali 35 by Rabindranath Tagore).

Each line of the above stanza has a different meter.


Monostich- A stanza of one line. 

Couplet- A stanza of two rhyming lines having the same meter. A couplet written in iambic pentameter is called a heroic couplet. 


So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

(Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare).

Tercet / Triplet- A stanza of three lines.  

Quatrain- A stanza of four lines, usually with the second and fourth line rhyming. 


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,

The plowman homeward plods his weary way ,

And leaves the world to darkness, and to me.

(Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray).

Quintain / Quintet- A stanza of five lines. 

Sestet- A stanza of six lines.

Septet- A stanza of seven lines. A septet written in iambic pentameter and with ababbcc rhyme scheme is called rime royal. 

Octave- A stanza of eight lines. 

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