Definition of Sicilian Octave
The Sicilian Octave can be defined as,
“A verse or stanza form consisting of eight lines of eleven syllables each (known as hendecasyllable) with rhyming scheme abababab. The form is common in late medieval Italian poetry.”
History and Origin
Though, the exact origins of this form is disputed by scholars but Sicilian octave but this form is commonly found in late medieval Italian poetry. It is said to have originated in Tuscany about the 13th century while the name is derived from ottava siciliana or ottava napoletana, lit. "Neapolitan octave").
In English poetry, iambic pentameter is often used instead of syllabics. The form has a prescribed rhyme scheme of four rhymed couplets (A-B-A-B-A-B-A-B). Although only the final two rhymes are different from the much more common ottava rima, the two eight-line forms evolved completely separately.
The Sicilian Octave is also linked to the development of first 8 lines of the sonnet, also known as the Octave. However, it is still unclear that who emerged first.
Examples of Sicilian Octave Poems
- Qui, d’Atropos il colpo ricevuto,
- giace di Roma Giulia Topazia,
- dell’alto sangue di Cesare arguto
- discesa, bella e piena d’ogni grazia,
- che, in parto, abbandonati in non dovuto
- modo ci ha: onde non fia giá mai sazia
- l’anima nostra il suo non conosciuto
- Dio biasimar che fè sí gran fallazia.
- -Epitaph of Giulia Topazia