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a stanza or poem of four lines, esp one having alternate rhymes
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an individual stanza of four lines. The rhyming pattern in a quatrain is abab (alternating rhyme), aabb (plain rhyme), or abba (enclosing rhyme). Persian poetry and its imitations use the form aaba, and less frequently, aaaa.

The quatrain is used for inscriptions, epitaphs, epigrams, and apothegms. The four-line stanzas of sonnets are also called quatrains. The following poem by F. I. Tiutchev is an example of a quatrain as an independent verse:

Nam ne dano preduagadat’
Kak slovo nashe otzovetsia—
I nam sochuvstvie daetsia,
kak nam daetsia blagodaV …
We are not given to foresee
What reaction our words will cause—
So we are given sympathy
As if we were given divine grace….

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Having thought his life, the poet wrote about 300 poems, including ghazals, qasidas ("lyrics"), and rubais ("quatrains").
We know that Bergerson must have used something like this technique to build his lone explicit RETEP verse ("Rail at natal bosh ...") because only half of that quatrain is cited in Borgmann's 1965 book Language on Vacation--Bergerson had evidently not yet composed the other half.
Both poems start the first quatrain with a "When ..." adverbial clause of time, and both start the second quatrain with another "When ..." adverbial clause of time:
quatrain, whether the shift is contrastive in mood or temporal
The second quatrain pursues with the DIVIDED SELF explicitly introduced at the end of the first quatrain ("We open with a vibrant sound the window"; l.5).
Quatrain will premiere on April 24 at the Crescent Theatre as part of International Dance Festival Birmingham.
(52) By suggesting imprisonment under the sky, this quatrain asserts an impermeable boundary between the world and what may lie beyond.
First he selected the confining and highly structured poetic form of the quatrain, with its four-line stanzas and AABB, ABAB, or ABBA rhyming schemes.
The qualities that mark it as an accessible, memorable oral form--story; song-like structures (the quatrain, familiar rhyme schemes, short, jaunty lines); a predominance of end-stopped lines; colloquial language; dialogue; representative characters; minimal, straightforward imagery--certainly suited Brooks's plan for her new black poetry.
This first quatrain has some alliteration--hills and huge; -mong, meteorite, and moss, for example--and some off-rhymes, such as wind, rain, con- of contours, and stone.
An ancient artifact inscribed with an 11th-Century Persian poet's quatrain was listed by the New York-based Archeology Magazine as one of the most exciting discoveries of 2009.