What is an Octave?
Definition of Octave
Octave in poetry can be defined as,
“Any stanza in a poem, formed of eight lines, and can follow any meter (rhymed or un-rhymed) and could be of any line length”
Commonly the rhyme scheme for an octave is abba abba.
History and Origin
Octave is derived from Middle English, Latin octāva eighth part, noun use of feminine of octāvus.
Forms of Octave
- Ottava Rima
- Sicilian Octave
- Hymnal Octave or Common Octave
- Italian Octave
- Strambotto Toscano
- Strambotto Siciliano
- Strambotto Romagnuolo
- Un-wreathed Octave
- Wreathed Octave
Octave Poem Examples
Milton’s sonnet 19 is a famous example of Octave poetry form.
- When I consider how my light is spent
- Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
- And that one talent which is death to hide
- Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
- To serve therewith my Maker, and present
- My true account, lest he returning chide,
- “Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
- I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
- That murmur, soon replies: “God doth not need
- Either man’s work or his own gifts: who best
- Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
- Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
- And post o’er land and ocean without rest:
- They also serve who only stand and wait.”