Definition of Couplet, Triplet and Quatrain and its examples


A couplet consists of a pair of riming verses.


1. All human things are subjects to decay,
And when Fate summons-Monarchs must obey. —Dryden
(Here the syllables’-cay’ and ‘—-bey’ rime with each other),

2. Blessed are you whose worthiness gives scope,
Being had, to triumph; being lacked, to hope. – Sonnet 52, William Shakespeare

3. Be thou the first true merit to befriend;
His praise is lost, who stays till all commend. – An Essay on Criticism

4. Not half so fixed the Trojan could remain.
While Anna begged and Dido raged in vain.
(The syllable— ‘main’ rimes with ‘vain’).
N.B. When a couplet conveys a complete sense, it is called a distich.


A triplet is the group of three consecutively riming verses.

It is monorhyme aaa, bbb

1. Here are cool mosses deep,
And thro the moss the ivies-creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep. —Tennyson
(‘Deep’, ‘creep’ and ‘weep’ rime with one another).

2. When as in silks my Julia goes,

Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows

The liquefaction of her clothes.

Next, when I cast mine eyes, and see

That brave vibration, each way free,

O, how that glittering taketh me! (Upon Julia’s Clothes by Robert Herrick)

( ‘goes’, ‘flows’ and ‘cloths’ rime with one another and ‘see’ , ‘free’ and ‘me’ rime with one another


This means the group of four verses, riming in various combinations.

Quatrain poetry is a poem of four lines that alternate in rhyme. So, the first and third lines have a word rhyming with each other at the end, as do the second and fourth lines. The quatrain poem can also be written with two different rhythms, either 1,2,1,2 or as 1,1,2,2

There are two primary “rules” that traditionally constitute this poetic form:

  • A quatrain must have four lines. If a poetic stanza has more or fewer than four poetic lines, it is not a quatrain.
  • A quatrain must feature a rhyme scheme in some way. There are 15 possible rhyme schemes for this form, and slant rhyme (words that have similar but not identical sounds) is considered acceptable.

1. When to the sessions of sweet silent thought,
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear times’ waste-
(Here the first verse rimes with the third, while the second verse and
the fourth rime together i.e, abcb).

2. When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep. ( The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake)
Hwere the first and second line rhyme and third and fourth line rhyme i.e, aabb
3. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
         The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
         And leaves the world to darkness and to me. (Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Grey)