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In poetry, a Ballad stanza is the four-line stanza, known as a quatrain, most often found in the folk ballad. This form consists of alternating four- and three-stress lines. Usually only the second and fourth lines rhyme (in an a/b/c/b pattern). Assonance in place of rhyme is common. Samuel Taylor Coleridge adopted the ballad stanza in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, alternating eight and six syllable lines.
- All in a hot and copper sky!
- The bloody Sun, at noon,
- Right up above the mast did stand,
- No bigger than the Moon.
- Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, lines 111 – 114
The longer first and third lines are rarely rhymed, although at times poets may use internal rhyme in these lines.
- In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
- It perched for vespers nine;
- Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
- While the creatures crooned
- Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, lines 75 – 78
A more modern example:
- The Sweeney's doing ninety 'cos
- They've got the word to go.
- They get a gang of villains
- In a shed up at Heathrow.
- Squeeze, Cool For Cats.