Technical question about poetry

There are a significant number of famous poems that have stanzas of a four-iamb line, followed by a three iamb-line, followed by a four-iamb line and another three-iamb line. Amazing Grace follows this pattern, as does Galadriels’ lament from Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

a-MAZE-ing GRACE, how SWEET the SOUND
that SAVED a WRETCH like ME
i ONCE was LOST but NOW am FOUND
was BLIND but NOW i SEE.

Is there a name for this specific form of poetry, like the limerick or the haiku?

IANAP, but this just seems to be iambic quadrameter with a bit of a pause after every other line.

To wit:

a-MAZE-ing GRACE, how SWEET the SOUND
that SAVED a WRETCH like ME (xxx-XXXX)

i ONCE was LOST but NOW am FOUND
was BLIND but NOW i SEE (xxx-XXXX).

See what I’m sayin’?

I should have said “a pause in place of the last iamb”.

I’m not aware of any specific name for this metrical pattern. Then again, I’m not so sure it’s all that common, or common enough to be identified as a pattern or shape in its own right.

Hence a golden opportunity… if you want to compile a startlingly large collection of such verses, and/or make up some of your own, you could probably award yourself the privilege of actually naming this pattern and enjoy eternal fame in literature circles!

That is commonly referred to as Ballad Stanza.

My aunt used to do a little bit at family gatherings by standing up as if addressing an audience and uttering:

De DEE de DEE de DEE de DEE
De DEE de DEE de DEE
De DEE de DEE de DEE de DEE
De DEE de DEE de DEE

So many nursery rhymes and old ballad poetry come to mind when you use that little scheme.

For an exercise here at SDMB using that rhyme pattern, take a look at Create an Anti-Ballad for what turned into an interesting little story-poem or two.

For more on the verse form itself, this link has some details.

Thanks to each of you for your assistance. :slight_smile:

In hymnody, the meter of Amazing Grace is called Common Meter. Since hymnody tends to count syllables rather than beats, its meter signature is 86 86.

Technically, one can sing the texts of any songs with share the same meter with each other’s melodies. And so, e.g., Joy to the World {yes, the Christmas carol}, which is also 86 86 Common Meter can be sung to the tune of *Amazing Grace * (and vice versa). However, it doesn’t always work cleanly, since the timing of the melody of one song may stress an unstressed accent of the text of a different melody (as in the case of Joy to the World sung to the tune of Amazing Grace).

Other famous common meter songs: O God, Our Help in Ages Past and My Darling Clementine. Try singing Amazing Grace or Galadriel’s Lament to that one.

Peace.

Emily Dickinson uses this form in most of her poetry too, with the entertaining result that most of her poems can be sung to The Yellow Rose of Texas. Or the theme from Gilligan’s Island.