Ottava rima is a stanza of eight lines with the rhyme-scheme a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c.
Ottava rima is of Italian origin. It was used by many poets in Italy, Spain and Portugal in 15th and 16th centuries. Some of the poets to use this form were Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso, Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga and Luís Vaz de Camões. In England it was not so popular at that time. Later Lord Byron wrote Don Juan in ottava rima. An example can be found in Emma Lazarus's poetry:
- Master and Sage, greetings and health to thee,
- From thy most meek disciple! Deign once more
- Endure me at thy feet, enlighten me,
- As when upon my boyish head of yore,
- Midst the rapt circle gathered round thy knee
- Thy sacred vials of learning thou didst pour.
- By the large lustre of thy wisdom orbed
- Be my black doubts illumined and absorbed.
- Joseph Berg Esenwein, Mary Eleanor Roberts, Art of Versification. Revised edition. Springfield: 1920.