Childe Harold is Byron's longest poem after the comic epic Don Juan. It has four cantos written in Spenserian stanzas, which consist of eight iambic pentameter lines followed by a one alexandrine (a twelve syllable iambic line), and rhyme ababbcbcc. The need to find four b rhymes and three c rhymes, and to manage the central and the final couplets, make this a difficult stanza to write in, but Byron claimed that he selected it because it “admits of every variety”. He started writing the poem on his European tour in 1809-11 and when the first two cantos were published in 1812 they propelled him more or less immediately to the height of fame. When he returned to the poem in 1816 his scandalous separation from his …
Mole, Tom. "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=6044, accessed 26 April 2015.]