Jul 29, 2010


The Rispetto is a 15th century Italian verse form. The name was taken from the purpose of the poetry, which was the poet paying respects to his lady love.

It consists of two rhyme quatrains with strict meter. The meter is usually iambic tetrameter with a rhyme scheme of ababccdd, abababcc, or abab cddc. A Heroic Rispetto is written in iambic pentameter, usually featuring the same rhyme scheme.

Meter is the organization of speech rhythms (stresses) into regular patterns. Poetry is organized by the division of each line of verse into "feet," metric units which each consist of a particular arrangement of strong and weak stresses. The most common metric unit is the iambic foot, in which an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed one.

Meter is also determined by the number of feet in a line. A line with five feet is called pentameter; thus, a line of five iambs is known as "iambic pentameter" (the most common metrical form in English poetry).

The most common line lengths are:
trimeter: three feet
tetrameter: four feet
pentameter: five feet
hexameter: six feet (an "Alexandrine" when iambic)
heptameter: seven feet (a "fourteener" when iambic)

Though typically the Rispetto only had one stanza, it was not uncommon to have more. I, of course, chose to stick with one for my example. :-)


We met by chance, it was not planned;
A glance, a touch, and we were lost
There’s no denying love’s demand -
We did not think about the cost.
We should have known life isn’t fair
When perfect love became despair;
Two lovers torn apart again,
Where once was love is naught but pain.

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