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ottava rima(ōtä`və rē`mə): see pentameterpentameter
[Gr.,=measure of five], in prosody, a line to be scanned in five feet (see versification). The third line of Thomas Nashe's "Spring" is in pentameter: "Cold doth / not sting, / the pret / ty birds / do sing.
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in versification, an eight-lined hendecasyllabic stanza, rhyming abababcc.
The ottava rima developed in Italian poetry in the 14th century and became the traditional stanza of Italian and Spanish Renaissance epic verse, for example Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, and Camões’ Os Lusíadas. In other literatures, the ottava rima was for a long time used only for translations and imitations. In the 19th century Byron used it for his lyrical satires Beppo and Don Juan. In his narrative poem The Little House in Kolomna, A. S. Pushkin followed Byron’s example. Pushkin’s poem, in turn, became the model for A. K. Tolstoy’s The Dream of Popov and A. A. Fet’s The Two Lindens.
In Russian versification, the ottava rima is written in five- and six-foot iambics, generally with alternating masculine and feminine rhymes (the rule of alternation).