Tail-rhyme stanza

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

Tail-rhyme stanza

Tail-rhyme stanza: A stanza ending with a short line that rhymes with one or more earlier, similarly short lines and in which each short line serves as a “tail” to one or more preceding, longer lines with a different rhyme. Tail-rhyme stanzas often follow the rhyme scheme aabaab or aabccbddbeeb, with b representing the tail-rhymes. The French term for tail-rhyme is rime couée.

EXAMPLE: Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Tale of Sir Thopas” (c. 1387) is written in tail-rhyme stanzas, the first of which follows:

Listeth, lordes, in good entent,

And I wold telle verrayment°verily

Of myrth and of solas;°solace

Al of a knyght was fair and gent

In bataille° and in tourneyment,battle

His name was sire Thopas.