What remains of his verse mostly takes the form of quatrains
, yet for originality of thought, wealth of imagery and style, they have seldom been excelled.
In his sonnets he abandoned the form followed by Wyatt and adopted (still from the Italian) the one which was subsequently used by Shakspere, consisting of three independent quatrains followed, as with Wyatt, by a couplet which sums up the thought with epigrammatic force, thus:
Wyatt, it should be observed, generally departs from the Petrarchan rime-scheme, on the whole unfortunately, by substituting a third quatrain for the first four lines of the sestet.
Much I remembered, possibly two-thirds of the quatrains, and I managed to piece out the remainder without difficulty.
I was interested as to which quatrain he would like best, and was not surprised when he hit upon the one born of an instant's irritability, and quite at variance with the Persian's complacent philosophy and genial code of life:
Some will perhaps think that they detect in the first quatrain an indication of a lost line, which later rhapsodists, failing in imaginative vigour, have supplied by the feeble device of iteration.
During the first and second quatrain, sung decidedly forte, no can was filled.
But now, immediately before the third quatrain or chorus, sung fortissimo, with emphatic raps of the table, which gave the effect of cymbals and drum together, Alick's can was filled, and he was bound to empty it before the chorus ceased.
He thought he had caught Pellisson, but the latter escaped him; he turned towards Sorel, who had, himself, just composed a quatrain
in honor of the supper, and the Amphytrion.
The idea of the last quatrain
is also very effective.
Two other very plausible explanations exist: First, the great flaming star, a foot broad, and a cubit high, which fell from heaven, as every one knows, upon the law courts, after midnight on the seventh of March; second, Théophile's quatrain
The proportion of folly stressed lines in figure 2 reveals the underlying structure of the stanza, which consists of three quatrains
and a couplet (AbAb+CCdd+EffE+gg).