couplet

couplet
/kup"lit/, n.
1. a pair of successive lines of verse, esp. a pair that rhyme and are of the same length.
2. a pair; couple.
3. Music. any of the contrasting sections of a rondo occurring between statements of the refrain.
[1570-80; < MF; see COUPLE, -ET]

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Two successive lines of verse.

A couplet is marked usually by rhythmic correspondence, rhyme, or the inclusion of a self-contained utterance. Couplets may be independent poems, but they usually function as parts of other verse forms, such as the Shakespearean sonnet, which concludes with a couplet. A couplet that cannot stand alone is an open couplet; a couplet whose sense is relatively independent is a closed couplet.

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▪ poetic form
      a pair of end-rhymed lines of verse that are self-contained in grammatical structure and meaning. A couplet may be formal (or closed), in which case each of the two lines is end-stopped (end stop), or it may be run-on (or open), with the meaning of the first line continuing to the second (this is called enjambment). Couplets are most frequently used as units of composition in long poems, but, since they lend themselves to pithy, epigrammatic statements, they are often composed as independent poems or function as parts of other verse forms, such as the Shakespearean sonnet, which is concluded with a couplet. In French narrative and dramatic poetry, the rhyming alexandrine (12-syllable line) is the dominant couplet form, and German and Dutch verse of the 17th and 18th centuries reflects the influence of the alexandrine couplet. The term couplet is also commonly substituted for stanza in French versification. A “square” couplet, for example, is a stanza of eight lines, with each line composed of eight syllables. The preeminent English couplet is the heroic couplet, or two rhyming lines of iambic pentameter with a caesura (pause), usually medial, in each line. Introduced by Chaucer (Chaucer, Geoffrey) in the 14th century, the heroic couplet was perfected by John Dryden (Dryden, John) and Alexander Pope (Pope, Alexander) in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. An example is

Then share thy pain, allow that sad relief;
Ah, more than share it, give me all thy grief.

(Alexander Pope, “Eloisa to Abelard”)

      Couplets were also frequently introduced into the blank verse of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama for heightened dramatic emphasis at the conclusion of a long speech or in running dialogue, as in the following example:

Think what you will, we seize into our hands
His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.

 

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Universalium. 2010.

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Synonyms:
(especially that rhyme), ,


Look at other dictionaries:

  • couplet — [ kuplɛ ] n. m. • v. 1360; provenç. cobla « couple de vers »; 1340 « pièces métalliques réunies par des charnières »; de couple 1 ♦ Chacune des parties d une chanson comprenant généralement un même nombre de vers, et séparées par le refrain. ⇒… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • couplet — COUPLET. s. m. Certain nombre de vers, espèce de Stance qui fait le tout ou quelque partie d une chanson. Un couplet de chanson. Cette chanson n a qu un couplet, est de quatre couplets.Couplet, en termes de Serrurerie, se dit De deux pates de fer …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Couplet — Sn Liedchen mit gereimten Strophen per. Wortschatz fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. couplet m. gereimte Strophe(n), Reimpaare , einem Diminutivum zu frz. couple m. Paar, Vereinigung , aus l. cōpula f. Vereinigung (vgl. l. cōpulāre… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Couplet — Coup let ( l?t), n. [F. couplet, dim. of couple. See {Couple}, n. ] Two taken together; a pair or couple; especially two lines of verse that rhyme with each other. [1913 Webster] A sudden couplet rushes on your mind. Crabbe. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • couplet — 1570s, in poetry, from Fr. couplet (mid 14c.), a dim. of couple (see COUPLE (Cf. couple)). In music, from 1876 …   Etymology dictionary

  • couplet — Couplet. s. m. Certain nombre de vers, espece de stance qui fait le tout, ou partie d une hymne, ou d une chanson. Cette chanson n a qu un couplet. cette autre est de quatre couplets. les couplets de cette hymne sont chacun de quatre vers …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Couplet — (fr., spr. Kupläh), 1) im französischen Kunstlied die Verbindung zweier gleicher Verse zu einer Strophe mit epigrammatischem Charakter; daher C. spirituel (spr. K. spiritüell), pasquillartiges Sinngedicht od. Arie in der Komischen Oper; C. de… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Couplet — (franz., spr. kuplē, v. lat. copula), ursprünglich in der Musik und Poesie die Verbindung zweier paralleler rhythmischer Sätze zu einer Strophe; jetzt gewöhnlich die Bezeichnung für gewisse, in modernen Possen und Vaudevilles vorkommende komische …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Couplet — (frz., spr. kupleh), Strophe; in der franz. komischen Oper kleines Lied witzigen Inhalts; in Vaudevilles und Possen Lied, dessen Strophen nach gleicher Melodie gesungen werden, meist mit Refrain …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Couplet — (frz. Kuplä), Strophe eines Liedes; in der Musik eine Art von Variationen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • couplet — (fr.; pronunc. [cuplé]) m. Cuplé …   Enciclopedia Universal

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