What is Burns Stanza or Standard Habbie?
Definition of a Burns or Scottish Stanza
The Burns Stanza or Standard Habbie can be defines as,
“A stanza form, consisting of six lines in which the rhyming scheme makes the first three lines rhyme with each other and the fifth. The fourth and sixth lines form the second rhyming pair.”
The Burns stanza is named after Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns, therefore also known as Scottish Stanza. The form already existed before he made it his own and its old name was Standard Habbie, after Habbie Simpson.
This stanza consists of six lines hence it also called six-line stave. The rhyming scheme of this stanza is aaabab where a lines are longer while the b lines are shorter, as illustrated in the following example:
Example of Burns Stanza Poem
Their uniforms are so divine, (a)
A shiver tingles up my spine! (a)
I swear I never saw so fine (a)
A band of men. (b)
Their mission: let nothing combine (a)
With oxygen (b)
Additional examples of Scottish Stanza poetry could be found in most of Burns’ work, including To a Mouse, To a Louse, To a Haggis, etc.