Definition of a Couplet
A couplet can be defined as,
“Two successive lines of verse forming a unit marked usually by rhythmic correspondence, rhyme, length or the inclusion of a self-contained utterance”.
“A unit of verse consisting of two successive lines, usually rhyming and having the same meter and often forming a complete thought or syntactic unit”.
Couplets with a meter of iambic pentameter are called heroic couplets.
Where a couplet is a pair of lines of verse where the end words might or might not rhyme, a rhyming couplet is when the last word of each of these lines exactly rhymes.
Couplets in Chinese Poetry
Chinese couplets known as duilian or “contrapuntal couplets” and can be frequently sighted on doorways in Chinese communities, worldwide. Couplets displayed as part of the Chinese New Year festival, on the first morning of the New Year, are called chunlian.
Chunlian are usually purchased at a market a few days before and glued to the doorframe and are considered a sign of good omen. The text of the couplets is often traditional and contains hopes for wealth and prosperity.
Examples of Couplet Poems
Rhyming Couplet Example
But if thou live, remember’d not to be,
Die single and thine image dies with thee.
–Shakespeare, Sonnet III
Heroic Couplet Example
O could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme!
Though deep, yet clear, though gentle, yet not dull,
Strong without rage, without o’erflowing full.
Shakespearean Sonnet Examples
End of Sonnet XIV
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.
End of Sonnet XVIII
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
End of Sonnet LXXXVIII
Such is my love, to thee I so belong,
That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.