Ottava Rima (113 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

  • Editors
  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume : WORLD HISTORY AND IDEAS: A CROSS-CULTURAL VOLUME.


A stanza of eight lines of iambic pentameter rhymed a b a b a b c c. Used by Italian writers such as Ariosto, it was brought into English writing by Wyatt in the sixteenth century and used to great effect by Byron in Don Juan.

I want a hero, an uncommon want,
When every year and month sends forth a new one,
Till after cloying the gazettes with cant,
The age discovers he is not the true one.
Of such as these I should not care to vaunt;
I'll therefore take our ancient friend Don Juan.
We all have seen him in the pantomime
Sent to the devil somewhat ere his time.

Editors. "Ottava Rima". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001
[, accessed 26 October 2016.]