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Ballad stanza

In poetry, a Ballad stanza is the four-line stanza, known as a quatrain, most often found in the folk ballad. This form consists of alternating four- and three-stress lines. Usually only the second and fourth lines rhyme (in an a/b/c/b pattern). Assonance in place of rhyme is common. Samuel Taylor Coleridge adopted the ballad stanza in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, alternating eight and six syllable lines.

All in a hot and copper sky!
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.
Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, lines 111 – 114

The longer first and third lines are rarely rhymed, although at times poets may use internal rhyme in these lines.

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
While the creatures crooned
Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, lines 75 – 78

A more modern example:

The Sweeney's doing ninety 'cos
They've got the word to go.
They get a gang of villains
In a shed up at Heathrow.
Squeeze, Cool For Cats.