A terza rima is a linked rhyming lyric and/or narrative poem made up of three-line stanzas (tercets); it translates from Italian as third rhyme. Iambic pentameter is often used in English, but it is not a specific requirement. The rhyme scheme runs a-b-a, b-c-b, c-d-c and so on until the end - theres no fixed length to a terza rima. The structure of the final stanza can be varied to a single line - for example, d-e-d, e - or a couplet - for example, d-e-d, e-e. The rhyme scheme has been described as two steps forward, one step back giving it a rolling momentum and waltz-like rhythm, with the middle lines as backward glances. The capitolo is a fifteenth-century Italian form that shares the same meter, rhyme and structure as a terza rima. It came into being when terza rimas became more didactic. By the nineteenth century it evolved to be a term used for light or satirical terza rimas. A later variation invented by Edward Lowbury (1913–2007) is the piccola, which restricts lines to six syllables.
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