In poetry, a tercet
is a stanza in a poem made up of how many lines?
In translating Dante, Sayers had followed his terza rima scheme, in which the sound of the last word of the middle line of each tercet
provides the rhyme for the first and last lines of the next.
His focus in these chapters fixes on Heaney's use and development of the tercet
form out of the example given by Dante in The Divine Comedy.
The first thirteen-line poem--with its short lines; sharp stanza breaks into a septet, tercet
, and two couplets; variable meter; and complex rhyme scheme--appears like individual poems hastily thrown together from separate "loose" pages.
The first tercet
demonstrates the way the Infanta's fragility is linked to her family's declining influence in Europe: "Italia, Flandes, Portugal .
Critics have also proposed a literal interpretation of the final tercet
, as reflected in the Fosters' judgment that it is "anticlimactic and merits attention only for the complexity of its syntax" (92); a viewpoint which, on a surface level, does have some validity.
On the left side in a different hand, there is also a sonnet whose last tercet
is indecipherable, but which has been identified, at least in part, as the work of the Spanish Golden-Age poet Pedro Linan de Riaza (d.
Terza rima follows a pattern in which each verse, or tercet
, connects with the following verse through an unfailing rhyme.
In the final line of the third tercet
the poet introduces the comparison to Virgil, "as if.
The poem's dynamic owes much to the use of the tercet
form and the recurrent use of enjambement, driving the reader on from one stanza to the next.
I thought that I could not do it so easily And now I'm midway through the second quatrain, And once I find myself in the first tercet
, There will be nothing in the quatrains to fear.
On a technical level, it is striking how the spiraling ghazal structure, both open and concentrated, also led Bly into the tightest poetic form he has ever written in: tercets
in even lines, in which each self-sufficient tercet
offers a new configuration or variation on a theme.