Discuss about Rhyme Royal: Definition, Form and Examples

The Chaucerian Stanza or Rhyme Royal


The Chaucerian stanza is called Rhyme Royal  because it was first used in England by Geoffrey Chaucer, “the father of English poetry.” Most probably he borrowed it from France. It is also called Rhyme Royal because it was used by King James I of Scotland in the 15th century for his well-known poem King’s Quair.


The Chaucerian Stanza is a stanza of seven lambic Pentametre lines. In this stanza, the first line rhymes with the third, the second with the fourth and fifth, and the last two lines rhyme together, thus forming a couplet. The rhyme- schme is ab, abb, cc. The stanza is particularly suited for narrative verse.


Chaucer used it for several stories in The Canterbury Tales. Shakespeare used it for his poem The Rape of Lucrece, and in the Victorian Age, it was used by William Morris for his The Earthly Paradise.

A famous example of the Chaucerian Stanza is:

Then, childish fear, avaunt! debating, die!(A)
Respect and reason, wait on wrinkled age!(B)
My heart shall never countermand mine eye;(A)
Sad pause and deep regard beseem the stage;(B)
My part is youth, and beats these from the stage;(B)
Desire my pilot is, beauty my prize;(C)
Then who fears sinking where such treasure lies?(C)

Another famous example is from Thomas Wyatt poem:

They flee from me that sometime did me seek(A)

With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.(B)

I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,(A)

That now are wild and do not remember(B)

That sometime they put themself in danger(B)

To take bread at my hand; and now they range,(C)

Busily seeking with a continual change.(C)

Also read: Discuss about Blank Verse: Definition and Examples