Onegin stanza

The Onegin stanza was devised by Alexandr Sergeevich Pushkin for his Eugene Onegin, a novel in verse. The Russian pronunciation is "An-yay-gin", with a hard "g". (This did not prevent me from reading it quite differently when seeking a subject for an example.) This form is sometimes known as the Pushkin sonnet.

Stanzas have 14 lines of iambic tetrameter rhyming ababccddeffegg. The pink letters indicate feminine rhymes (i.e. the lines in question have an extra unstressed syllable) and the blue letters are for masculine rhymes. By no means all the reference books mention the masculine/feminine rhyming aspect of the form; thanks to Richard England for pointing this out. Here's my example of the form (now with its genders sorted out):

Health warning
The perils of excessive drinking 
Are greater than most people know.
I recommend less booze, more thinking,
For alcohol brings so much woe.
That tramp exemplifies the menace -
He used to be a champ at tennis,
And could perhaps be one again
If meths were banished from his brain.
To witness his inebriation
Does make me very cross indeed.
I know the tonic that I need.
To counteract my agitation.
Relax! Thereís no cause for alarm -
Iím sure one gin can do no harm.

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This page last updated 29/10/2006