November 9th, 2011
Q is the favoured letter this week
I have always been fond of words that begin with Q. Quicken, quiver, quaver, quintessence, quiet, quail, quest. quip, quietism, quicksilver - they all have a rather old fashioned romanticism to my ear.
And then there is Quatorzain, a poetic term used in English literature, as opposed to 'sonnet' for a poem in fourteen rhymed iambic lines.
The difference being, the Quatorzain ends in a couplet, as a sonnet never does. Almost all the 'sonnets' of the Elizabethan period, including those of Shakespeare, Sidney and Spenser, are really Quatorzains, consisting of three quatrains of alternate rhyme, and the whole closing with a couplet.
This book will tell you all about the differences in the two forms!
Here is a perfect example of a Quatorzain, published by Michael Drayton in 1602.
Dear, why should you commend me to my rest,
When now the night doth summon all to sleep?
Methinks this time becometh lovers best;
Night was ordained together friends to keep.
How happy are all other living things
Which through the day conjoin by several flight,
The quiet evening yet together brings,
And each returns unto his love at night,
O thou that art so courteous unto all
Why should'st thou, Night, abuse me only thus,
That every creature to his kind dost call,
And yet 'tis thou dost only sever us?
Well could I wish it would be ever day,
If, when night comes, you bid me go away.
This small bit of information about the forms of sonnets and quatorzains may not be something you have been aching to know, but please do enjoy the poem, and the poet's lament at being separated from his loved one when night falls.
For more interesting interpretations of the letter Q visit here at ABC Wednesday with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt and her Quaint helpers.