A quatrain is a stanza or poem consisting of four verses. Existing in various forms, the quatrain appears in poems from ancient civilizations including Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome and continues into the 21st century, where it is seen in works published in several languages. During Europe’s Dark Ages, in the Middle East and especially Iran, polymath poets such as Omar Khayyam continued to popularize this form of poetry, also known as Rubaai, well beyond their borders and time.
These are the most common forms of the quatrain-style verse:
– The heroic stanza or elegiac stanza is written in an iambic pentameter, rhyming ABAB or AABB.
– Shairi, also known as Rustavelian Quatrain, is an AAAA rhyming form.
– The Shichigon-zekku form used in Chinese and Japanese poetry. Both rhyme and rhythm are key elements, although the former is not restricted to falling at the end of the phrase.
– Decasyllabic quatrain. A term used for a poetic form in which each stanza consists of four lines of ten syllables each, usually with a rhyme scheme of AABB or ABAB.