common measure

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A form of verse quatrain (also called the ‘hymnal stanza’) often used in hymns. Like the ballad metre, its first and third lines have four stresses, and its second and fourth have three; but it tends to be more regularly iambic, and it more often rhymes not only the second and fourth lines (abcb) but the first and third too (abab). A variant form is long measure or long metre, in which all four lines have four stresses, and in which the rhyme scheme aabb is sometimes also used. See also short measure.

Subjects: Literature.

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