Sestina

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Sestina

 

a fixed verse form consisting of six six-line stanzas, usually unrhymed. The end words of the first stanza recur as end words of the second through fifth stanzas, but in a rotating order: each new stanza repeats the final words of the preceding stanza in the sequence 6–1–5–2–4–3. A three-line envoi is sometimes added which includes all six of the repeated words, one to each hemistich.

Developed by the troubadours, the sestina was introduced into Italian poetry by Petrarch. It was then transmitted to other Renaissance literatures but was never widely used. In Russian, the sestina was employed by L. A. Mei (“Again, again it sounds in my doleful soul”), L. N. Trefolev, V. la. Briusov (“Renunciation”), and M. A. Kuzmin (“I don’t believe the setting sun”). The term “sestina” is sometimes applied to any six-line stanza, in which case the form is called sestina grande.

M. L. GASPAROV

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References in periodicals archive ?
The 1506 edition of the Rime di Chariteo included only forty-five sonnets, five canzoni, and three sestine, ballate, and madrigals, to which the author had appended a long canzone about his diplomatic career, later designated as canzone 6 in the 1509 Endimione.
Anche l'essere piu basso sa che cosa siano le terzine, le quartine e le sestine," (138) comments Zeno with spite, but, though he looks down on this health, he runs anxiously after it on the four strings.
His writings include sonnets, canzoni, sestine, and ballate, as well as the then less familiar madrigals, cacce, and frottole.
Il significativo titolo di Sonetti e canzoni (soppiantato da Rime nell'edizione giolitina del 1552, curata da Lodovico Dolce) non copre peraltro l'intero repertorio metrico della raccolta, che comprende anche quattro sestine, cinque madrigali e tre capitoli in terza rima, ma riflette un uso editoriale del tempo; anche la citata raccolta di Sonetti e canzoni di diversi antichi autori toscani non include solo sonetti e canzoni; e la parodia sacra del Rerum vulgarium fragmenta messa in atto nel Petrarca spirituale di Girolamo Malipiero (1538) figura divisa in due sezioni di sonetti e canzoni, e quest' ultima dizione designa tutte le forme metriche petrarchesche diverse dal sonetto.
The publication history presents something of a challenge for the modern editor, not merely because of the numerous and various errors that vexed Tasso at almost every turn, but also because he significantly revised the first book of the Amori for the 1534 edition, saving only about half of the sonnets and eliminating the sestine, canzoni, and capitoli.