Sir Walter Scott

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What is the rhyme scheme and form of Sir Walter Scott's poem "Patriotism"?

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The rhyme scheme of the poem "Patriotism" by Sir Walter Scott is aabccbddeeffgghh. The form is a slightly modified one of rhyming couplets.

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The rhyme scheme of Sir Walter Scott's poem "Patriotism" is one of simple rhyming couplets, with a slight variation in lines 3–6. This scheme could be represented in the following manner: aabccbddeeffgghh.

The rhymes in lines 3–6 (land, burn'd, turn'd, strand) work as half rhymes in couplets as well as full rhymes in the structure bccb, and they are sufficiently similar that they do not disrupt the flow of rhyme.

"Patriotism" does not adhere to any freestanding verse form, such as the sonnet or sestina. Poets like Hopkins and Meredith have adapted the sonnet so that specific types of sonnet are sometimes held to have more or less than fourteen lines. However, it would stretch the definition of a sonnet unnecessarily to apply the label to any poem of about fourteen lines.

There is a freestanding form of sixteen lines, the quatern, but this requires a refrain, which Scott's poem does not have. The form, therefore, is the same as the rhyme scheme, that of the rhyming couplet. This form had its heyday in the eighteenth century, when it was used to devastating satirical effect by Pope. It was rather old-fashioned by the time Scott wrote "Patriotism" but provides an effective vehicle for the fierce invective against the man who finds no patriotism in his soul.

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