The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018


Couplet: Two successive lines of rhyming verse, often of the same meter and generally either octosyllabic or decasyllabic.

EXAMPLE: The following stanza from Robert Lowell’s “Waking Early Sunday Morning” (1967) contains four successive couplets:

No weekends for the gods now. Wars

flicker, earth licks its open sores,

fresh breakage, fresh promotions, chance

assassinations, no advance.

Only man thinning out his kind

sounds through the Sabbath noon, the blind

swipe of the pruner and his knife

busy about the tree of life …