The Burns Stanza

With thanks to Lewis Turco

This Scottish form is (naturally) named for the man who employed it so perfectly, Robert Burns. It can also be called a standard habbie. (not to be confused with a standard hobbit), which is itself a variation on the French Rime Couee. Being a useful tool to add to your palette of poem-wrangling forms, here's the pattern, in which the letter is the rhyme, the bold indicates the syllable that is stressed (this type of iamb is called a trochee, where the stress is reversed)

1. xx xx xx xa
2. xx xx xx xa
3. xx xx xx xa
4. xx xx xb
5. xx xx xx xa
6. xx xx xb

Here's a bit of Burns, a sample from da man himself...

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in they breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle!

- Primula

Eowyn's Regret

Thee first I spied from parapet
Where hasty wind a flag upset
The banner flew, and fell, but yet
Upon it, sure, you cast your eye.
You saw me too, but love was set,
On Arwyn, Elvish Lorelei.

What curse it was, to find thee now
When, to her, it was, you plight your trow*
Which never would thee disavow.
We met in evil hour.
With war upon us, on we plough
Regret will be my dower.

- Ringwraith-Wife

Not for Thee

Upon hilltop they came, a-four,
I saw them come, as none before -
Authority he yet brought forth;
Ring and stone and bright blade.
Heart-full I gazed, desired him more;
Glory released my fate.

Darksome these days! Parted from me,
Storm-eyed his gaze, 'twas not to be.
Harden I must, bend not to thee,
Stiff-backed rode he away.
I'll numb my heart to set it free,
Drown in a blacker day.
- Primula


"He fell." Her heart within her died
Theoden, King, her grief he spied
Helms Deep without, and H*ll inside
The soul of E-o-wy-'n
To pain her heart did open wide
For misery to play in

But LO! It sudden came to pass
He fell, but rose from the crevasse
Returned to Helm's Deep, but alas
Just not to E-o-wy-'n
The jewel returned by Legolas
Fresh misery, it paid in

The heart of E-o-wy-'n

- Ringwraith-Wife

Upon wall-top, mid garden green,
No finer one I've ever seen,
Beyond past hurts, this now my dream:
Gentle, Steward-Captain.
Taking my hand, his love redeems,
Starr'd mantle blue I'm wrapped in.

- Primula

And how about Grima's take on it...?

My dream, she'll know; my worth she'll see,
Intelligence, nobility.
One day a King my fate will be,
And not by trammeled hutch.
Power has put its faith in me,
Yet she shrinks from my touch.