Quatern

The quatern is a French verse form. It is comprised of sixteen lines divided into four quatrains. Each line is eight syllables long. The first line is repeated as a refrain in a different position in subsequent quatrains: second line in the second, third line in the third, and fourth line in the fourth. There is no fixed meter or rhyme scheme.


A Quatern

A quatern is easy to write.
The meter and rhyme scheme are mixed.
The four-quatrain length is just right,
And each one's refrain appears fixed.

The home of the verse form is France;
A quatern is easy to write.
The lines intertwine as they dance,
But cadences vary a mite.

Though eight beats per line may seem tight,
It's not an impossible deed.
A quatern is easy to write,
For its rules are simple to heed.

Whatever the purpose or theme,
It's easy to see at first sight,
Though complex in form it may seem,
A quatern is easy to write.

Classical Quaterns

A Saturnalian Quatern

It's Saturnalia in Rome.
These are the best of days for me.
The time has passed for tilling loam,
So let's relax and be carefree.

Smiles appear on children's faces...
It's Saturnalia in Rome.
Slave and master switch their places.
Work is over and harvest home.

It's time for gifts like weighty tome
Or other presents for one's friends.
It's Saturnalia in Rome,
And what one gets... It just depends.

Those cries of "Io!" from merry throng
Begin at dawn and last till gloam.
The dice will rattle all week long...
It's Saturnalia in Rome!

Aelia: a Quatern

Aelia's teeth are now missing,
As Martial was quick to point out.
Targeting her with his dissing,
He proved once again he's a lout.

She lost her four teeth two by two.
—Aelia's teeth are now missing—
Once her coughs began to ensue,
Advice to her was dismissing...

"No point in your reminiscing!"
He counseled. "It's just common sense."
(Aelia's teeth are now missing.)
"You can cough at will and not wince."

Now Senex has done it again,
Nonplussed by all of your hissing,
And skewered afresh with his pen:
Aelia's teeth are now missing.


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