terza rima


terza rima
   Terza rima is a verse form invented by DANTE for use in his DIVINE COMEDY in the early 14th century. The form consists of a series of tercets (three-line stanzas) rhyming aba bcb cdc ded etc., all in hendecasyllabic, or 11-syllable, lines. That is, the tercets are interconnected in that each succeeding stanza takes the rhyme for its first and third lines from the second line of the previous stanza. Thus
   The Inferno (first part of the Divine Comedy) begins with these nine lines:
   Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
   Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
   Ché la diritta via era smarrita.
   Ahi quanto a dir qual era è cosa dura
   Esta selva selvaggia e aspra e forte
   Che nel pensier rinova la paura!
   Tant’ è amara che poco è più morte;
   Ma per trattat del ben ch’i’ vi trovai,
   Dirò de l’altre cose ch’i v’ho scorte.
   At the midpoint in the journey of our life
   I found myself astray in a dark wood
   For the straight path had vanished.
   A dread thing it is to tell what it was like,
   This wild wood, rugged, intractable,
   Which, even as I think of it, brings back my fear.
   So bitter it is that scarcely worse is death.
   But, to expound the good which there I met with,
   I will speak of other things I witnessed there.
   (Creagh and Hollander 1989, xviii–xix)
   Such a series of interlinked stanzas could go on indefinitely, until brought to an end by a single line that rhymed with the second line of the immediately preceding tercet. This is the way in which Dante ends each of the cantos of his Comedy. For Dante the terza rima form held significant symbolic meaning. The three-line stanza, of course, reflects the holy Trinity. But it has also been suggested that the potentially endless pattern of the lines evokes a long and arduous journey, as Dante the pilgrim takes through the three realms of the afterlife. Further, the interconnected stanzas might have suggested the interconnectedness of all God’s creation.
   It is possible that Dante found the pattern for the terza rima in tercets used in an earlier kind of satirical poem called the SIRVENTES. But it is Dante who really forged the verse form. Later in the 14th century it was copied by BOCCACCIO in a poem called Amorosa visione, and by PETRARCH in I Trionfi. CHAUCER experimented with its use in one portion of his Complaint to His Lady, but seems to have abandoned it. Ultimately it was introduced into English by Thomas Wyatt in the 16th century, and later used with some success by Milton, Shelley, and T. S. Eliot.
   Bibliography
   ■ Bernardo, Aldo S., and Anthony L. Pellegrini, eds. Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio: Studies in the Italian Trecento in Honor of Charles S. Singleton. Binghamton, N.Y.: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1983.
   ■ Boyde, Patrick.Dante’s Style in His Lyric Poetry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.
   ■ Creagh, Patrick, and Robert Hollander, ed. and trans. Inferno. In Lectura Dantis Americana: Inferno I edited by Anthony K. Cassell. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • terza rima — ● terza rima nom féminin (italien terza rima, rime tiercée) Dans la versification italienne, rimes ordonnées par groupes de trois vers, de telle sorte que chaque groupe comprenne deux vers rimant ensemble, qui embrassent un troisième du groupe… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Terza rima — is a rhyming verse stanza form that consists of an interlocking three line rhyme scheme. It was first used by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri.FormTerza rima is a three line stanza using chain rhyme in the pattern a b a, b c b, c d c, d e d.… …   Wikipedia

  • Terza rima — Ter za ri ma [It., a third or triple rhyme.] A peculiar and complicated system of versification, borrowed by the early Italian poets from the Troubadours. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • terza\ rima — [ tɛrtsarima; tɛrdza ] n. f. • 1837; mots it., proprt « troisième rime » ♦ Hist. littér. Type de poème composé de tercets dont le premier et le troisième vers riment ensemble, tandis que le second fournit les rimes extrêmes du tercet suivant (a,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • terza rima — 1819, from It., lit. third rhyme, Dante s measure, a b a b c b c d c , etc …   Etymology dictionary

  • terza rima — [tert΄sə rē′mə] n. [It, lit., third rhyme < L tertia,THIRD + Fr rime: see RHYME] a verse form of Italian origin, made up of tercets, the second line of each tercet rhyming with the first and third lines of the next one (aba, bcb, cdc, etc.) …   English World dictionary

  • terza rima — /tert seuh ree meuh/; It. /terdd tsah rddee mah/, Pros. an Italian form of iambic verse consisting of eleven syllable lines arranged in tercets, the middle line of each tercet rhyming with the first and last lines of the following tercet. [1810… …   Universalium

  • Terza rima — D’origine italienne, Martin Saint René pensait que la terza rima était la forme la plus vibrante de la poésie. Son œuvre maîtresse (la traduction de la Divine Comédie de Dante) est entièrement écrite en terza rima et suit l’œuvre de l’auteur au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Terza Rima — Die Terzine (italienisch terza rima) ist eine aus Italien stammende Gedichtform. Sie wurde von Dante Alighieri erfunden und bildet das Versschema der Göttlichen Komödie . Terzinen bestehen aus drei Verszeilen, die im Kettenreimschema aba bcb cdc… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • terza rima — (tèr tsa ri ma) s. f. Système de versification employé par les premiers poëtes italiens, par Dante et Pétrarque, dans leurs grands poëmes. Ce système consistait à couper le chant en tercets ou stances de trois vers. Mais, bien que le sens fût… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré


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