A Form used by Byron, Keats and Auden
The stanzas in this consist of eight iambic pentameters rhyming abababcc. A notable use of the form was in Byron's Don Juan. Many consider that this contains some of his finest poetry.
It opens with a derisory 'dedication' - he was rude about a number of people in this poem (and elsewhere). He wrote to his friend, Thomas Moore: 'It is dedicated to Southey in good, simple, savage terms, upon the Laureate's politics, and the way he got them'. The first two stanzas read:
Bob Southey! You're a poet - Poet Laureate,
And representative of all the race,
Although 'tis true you turned out a Tory at
Last, - yours has lately been a common case, -
And now, my Epic Renegade! what are ye at?
With all the Lakers*, in and out of place?
A nest of tuneful persons, to my eye?
Like 'four and twenty Blackbirds in a pye?
'Which pye being open'd they began to sing'
(This old song and new simile holds good),
' A dainty dish to set before the King',
Or Regent, who admires such kind of food; -
And Coleridge, too, has lately taken wing,
But like a hawk encumber'd with his hood, -
Explaining metaphysics to the nation -
I wish he would explain his Explanation.
'*The Lakers' were the Lake Poets: Coleridge, Southey and Wordsworth