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A structural device in poetry, by which a line or stanza is repeated either identically or with little variation so as to enclose between its two appearances the rest (or part) of the poem: a stanza may begin and end with the same line, or a poem may begin and end with the same line or stanza. A well-known example is Blake's poem ‘The Tiger’, in which the opening stanza is repeated as the last with only one change of wording. The effect of an envelope pattern is subtly different from that of a refrain. The term envelope stanza has also been applied to stanzas not involving repeated lines but having a symmetrical rhyme scheme (almost always abba) which encloses one set of rhymes within another, as in the In Memoriam stanza.

Subjects: Literature.

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