Part 1
Acrostic Poetry
Aubade Poetry
Dark or Gothic Poetry
Glosa Poetry
Nocturne Poetry

Part 2

Pattern Poetry
Rhopalic Verse
Wreathed Poetry


In spite of there being a large range of poetry forms, there are times when the poet wants to create a particular mood, or describe a partincular time. In another case the poet may want to comment or expand on a smaller poem or statement.
The purpose of this site is to introduce poets to consider some of these moods or comments.

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Acrostic Poetry

Acrostic poetry is a form of short verse and constructed by a placing capitalised word or phrase vertically down the page to form the initial letters of each line of poetry. Each line is used to relate to the word, or praise the subject, if it is a ladies name for example.
The term is derived from the Greek words akros, "at the end," and stichos, "line," and was popular in Greece during the Alexandrine period and later with the Latin playwrights Ennuis and Plautus. Much later again, it became popular during the Italian Renaissance periods.
Originally the form also rhymed, and Turco in his book states this, however, in schools where poetry is taught as part of the syllabus, it states that the poem does not have to rhyme, and I suppose free verse exponents would agree with this, (and probably wrote the curriculum). So the choice is yours, Classic or Modern.
In summary:
# May use one word or a phrase, placed vertically down the page.
# One letter per line, all must be capital letters
# Each line of poetry must begin with the letter on that line and must relate to the word, or phrase using adjectives and phrases to describe that word
# Does not have to rhyme.

Edgar Allen Poe wrote this about his cousin

Elizabeth it is in vain you say
Love not" - thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe's talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth - and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love - was cured of all beside -
His follie - pride - and passion - for he died.

Maggie Cusic shows her enthusiasm for nature and the season:

Summer is beautiful
Unlike bitter winds of winter,
Making my heart glow, walking.
Midst golden fields

Impressive vista's displayed in
Showy patterns of colour.

Breathtaking to behold
Enhancing my world.
Unburdens his soul
Trilling his courtship
In a breathless dawn
Filled with wonder,
United in perfect harmony.
Lingering memories.

As an alternative it is possible to use the final letters, this is termed, telestich, again Peggy Nelson shows us a wonderful example of that:
Special family and friends bring out affectionS
Pleasures rewarding; guidance in seeking helP
Endlessly coping with good and rigorous timE
Commiserating in sorrow, fulfilling our comiC
Incoherent times of stress hoping they be minI
Allways cherish them through the alpha-omegA
Loves gift; give gratitude because you are special

Down the middle, mesostich, and Peggy Nelson gives an example of all three in her triple acrostic, Rainbows End shown below:

Rainbow kiss vibrant essences, Romantic viewed with loveR
Alluring feelings to warm you, Activating a privileged areA
It's message sent soft whispers, Ideal for views for you and I
New thought devised for loves, Needing to give away desigN
Bowed and curtseyed for your, Breathtaking look and throB
Over rainbow kisses heavenly, Others have a peacefully coO
Worth waiting for we concur, Wishing to fill yearnings floW
Substantial eternal memories, Scenic rainbows magical ahS

Exhilarating our loving times, Extra charming visions comE
Noteworthy to explore in time, New dreams exhaled flows oN
Dreams float near a sweetest, Dream, at every rainbows enD

And if you think a triple is mentaly taxing, imagine the amount of Panadol Peggy needed after this Quad Acrostic, yep four times.

Happily we walk in Holiday Happiness with a happy wisH
Abundant hopes to Address Apprehend, approach all pleA
Practice usin' each Puzzling Piece placing, seeing it sharP
Pleasures floats on Pictures Perfectly home drawn to wraP
Your will finishes a Yearnin Yesterday, outlines on fantasY

New Years precise Notions, Noteworthy also venture upoN
Express the minds Energy, Enough to succeed a pleasurE
Watch more Years Wander, Watch your love grow and floW

Your colors, shine Yellows, Your words are radiately lovelY
Expect more lavish Engages, Establish power on given freE
Astound self by the Appease Acknowledge strength in areA
Rejoice New Years Retreats, Relish Gods gift given foreveR

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Aubade Poetry

How many of you have seen the movie "City of Angels" and remember the scenes where the angels gather in the morning. Perhaps this meeting can be considered an Aubade. An Aubade is a poem or song that greets the morning, or where wild life celebrates, or lovers wake, and sometimes waking to reluctantly part.
Here is what William Shakespeare had to say.

HARK! Hark! The lark at heaven's gate sings.
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their eyes;
With everything that pretty bin,
My lady sweet arise!
Arise, arise!

Sir William Davenant (1606-1668) elaborates further on what his rumoured father had to say;

THE lark now leaves his wat'ry nest,
And climbing shakes his dewy wings.
He takes this window for the East,
And to implore your light he sings--
Awake, awake! the morn will never rise
Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.

The merchant bows unto the seaman's star,
The ploughman from the sun his season takes;
But still the lover wonders what they are
Who look for day before his mistress wakes.
Awake, awake! break thro' your veils of lawn!
Then draw your curtains, and begin the dawn!

However, in the poem below, we see Jenny Lewis take a different view of the subject. She seems more concerned with the carnal than the vista.

She thinks of bread and butter sliced thin;
a brown egg, smooth as a knuckle;
a cup of milk, slightly warmed,
already forming a brave new skin.

Then later, chocolates, sweet wine,
maraschino cherries, shiny in syrup,
reflecting squares of brash light; cream
whipped into an adolescent frenzy.

But lying here with him, the budding light
is so far painless. She waits for him to wake
with appetite refreshed by sleep - knowing
that what he enjoys most is her hunger.

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Dark or Gothic Poetry

Pause for a moment and think! Have you ever felt that you were not alone whilst walking out late at night. Have you heard the howling of a wolf, the hoot of an owl, or that sound that you just can't make out and on hearing that sound rushed to the safety of your home. Once the door is locked and bolted feeling the relief of escape.


And the word created flesh
And the flesh created fear,
But the flesh could not fear itself
And so created fear of the night.

In the redness of the full moon
You waken and remember your fear
The creaking movements in the house
Then the cold, fearful sweats start again
Breathing hardens, eyes wide in fear.

Then the moon breaks through the clouds again
You see the creature stalking you.
The silver grey shining fur, inching closer.
The bloody red eyes and slavering mouth.
It leaps at you, feel the jaws bite.


Screaming you wake up in a cold sweat
Above your pounding heart, hear the sounds

Teagan De Dannan

This mood of poetry is increasingly popular as an alternative to the sweet, white, lovey dovey of Keats and Wordsworth. The master of Blank Verse, William Shakespeare wrote some of the darkest poetry, I would refer you to his tragedies. So, if you fancy a change try Poe and Rice instead of Sugar and Spice.

Just as with Sugar and Spice poetry, there is no specific form that is prefered and even Limericks can have a dark side:
Dinner was set for three
At Dracula's house by the sea
The hors d'oeuvres were fine
But I choked on the wine
When I found out the main course was me.
In my humble opinion the master of black moods is Edger Allen Poe and his "Annabel Lee" (Pindaric Ode) is considered by some to be the epitome of Dark poetry.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Edgar Allan Poe

Nothing is sacred when it comes to dark poetry, instead humiliation of things held most sacred is the norm and defiling and degrading the sacred things are the very basis of blackness. Suicide, murder, chaos and evil creatures all form part of this wonderfull state and simple Cinquains turn into cries for help from the suicidal;
Dark Cinquains

you left
taking my soul
straight razor licks my wrists
blending blood with tepid water
life flows

you laughed
it broke my heart
steel barrel strokes my face
finger caressing the trigger
one squeeze

spurned by your love
I now patiently sit
between two shiny iron rails
horn blows

Mike Sherman

James Shields does a wonderfull job of describing death from alcoholism with this Sicilian Quintain:
Black Death

Black around the eyes, I drink more.
Slamming jealousy down my hole.
Misery's poison, taken like a whore.
The bottle demon playing it's role.
Bottle's empty, but my mind still rages war.

Drowned in sorrow, I sink quicker.
Whore eats away at my life's cords.
Depression breathes, soaking up my liquor.
Cannot sleep or forget about her words.
Prepare another bottle, I get sicker.

Sink faster, flushed with madness.
Pages are stained with alcohol.
Eyes glazed, trapped in darkness.
Running ink across the floor crawls.
Eaten away, drown the sadness.

Drifting further, I see demons dance.
Another cigarette in sorrow.
Shaken nerves, they twist my stance.
Kill the pain before tomorrow.
Need that liquid substance, my ends are frayed,

James Shields, Cryptic Visions

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Glosa Poetry

A Spanish form also known as mote or retruecano, closely related to the cantiga.
In its strict form it is a poem consisting of a line or a short stanza called cabeza (or texto), stating the theme of the poem and followed by one stanza for each line of the cabeza explaining or glossing that line and often adding a refrain as the first or last line, or both.
The cabeza may be any length or rhyme scheme and the poet is free to choose any other form.

Loosely the glosa is any poem expanding in the theme presented at the opening stanza and usually repeating one or more of the lines of that stanza.

As I sleep alone in this distant town.
An ethereal blanket keeps me safe and sound.

The lonely night draw swiftly down
Covering the world in a deep black gown
Creeping softly in without a sound
As I sleep alone in this distant town.

I close my eyes, but sleep can't be found
Till your loving spirit wraps itself around
Then I'm covered and warm wrapped in love
An ethereal sheet keeps me safe and sound.

Ryter Roethicle

In the example above the glossing has been done by means of a short Rubaiyat. In the example below, Court uses an Envelope Sestet and repeats the glossing as the first line as well as the last line.

Western Wind

Western wind, when wilt thou blow,
That the small rain down shall rain?
Christ! that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again.


Western wind, when wilt thou blow?
When shall the rivers begin to flow
Over this ice toward the sea?
When will the branches of the tree
Drop their mantles of rime and snow?
Western wind, when wilt thou blow,

That the small rain down shall rain?
Then may the willows in their train
Loosen their limbs upon the stream;
Then may birdsong burst this dream
Of winter to seek the sprouting grain,
That the small rain down shall rain.

Christ! that my love were in my arms
Where the grass greens and the bee swarms!
She is fair as the mountain heather,
Comely and kind as Maytime's weather
Over the land after April storms--
Christ! that my love were in my arms,

And I in my bed again
Where gladly I have slept and lain
Upon the pillow of her hair.
When shall I once more come there,
Her breast beneath the counterpane,
And I in my bed again.

Wesli Court

More examples of Glosa forms,

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Nocturne Poetry

As the name subjects the Nocturne is poetry suggestive of the moods of night, pre-eminently romance as is depicted by the wonderful Sonnet XLIII by William Shakespeare;

Sonnet XLIII

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow's form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

In the Classical period, the form used was usually the Italian Notturno, and there is a plethora of inspirational work with musical accompaniment, perhaps intended for late-evening soirée's. However, there are other moods that a Nocturne can convey, the Gothic mood comes to mind immediately, but there are other moods and here is Walter Wingate's evocative picture of a magical walk at midnight.


A sense of stolen joy is mine
To leave the village sleeping,
And with the music of my feet
To wake the echoes down the street,
Where ne'er a light is peeping.

'Tis fine to hear the steeple clocks
With weary voice and hollow
Discharge their conscientious twelves
As if they knew within themselves
Of easier hours to follow.

Beneath the dim poetic moon
The houses seem enchanted;
Their unromantic yesterday
Is charmed a thousand years away,
And each is beauty-haunted.

And even the thoughts that come to me
The strangest shapes are taking,
And smack of dream and shadow too
As if the night would claim her due
From slumber or from waking!

Far from being magical is this one, perhaps even whimsical is more the mood.

Nocturne in a Deserted Brickyard

STUFF of the moon
Runs on the lapping sand
Out to the longest shadows.
Under the curving willows,
And round the creep of the wave line,
Fluxions of yellow and dusk on the waters
Make a wide dreaming pansy of an old pond in the night

Carl Sandburg

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Part 2
(Mathematical and Pattern Poetry)


A very popular five-line stanza. Originally it was a very casual French form where the lines could be of any length, and the form could have either any rhyme scheme or no rhyme.
Now, however, when anyone refers to a Cinquain, they usually mean the version of form set out by Adelaide Crapsey.
This form still consists of five lines, but now has a specific syllable count starting with a two syllable line, and followed by three lines which increase by two syllables each time and the final line reverting to a two syllable line again. The example below might explain it better.
In addition, the lines are usually iambic, that is, the stresses fall on every other syllable, eg:
First two
And two make four
And two to four is six
And two and two to four is eight
The end.

Ryter Roethicle

For more information and examples of Cinquains, Cinquian Chains and Swirls go here....

Rictameter Verse

Due to the inspiration of the movie "Dead Poets Society," Jason Wilkins and his cousin Richard formed their own Society of Poets and from their challenges the Rictameter was created by Rich in 1990-91.
The Rictameter form is based on the idea of the Cinquain, and its popularity has spread simply because of its functionality without any restrictions apart from its format.
There is no need for rhyme with this form, only a strict adherence to syllable count. Like the Cinquain the Rictameter has a two syllable increment with each line, and a two syllable closure. However, unlike the Cinquain, the Rictameter does not stop at eight, it continues with a line of ten syllables, and instead of a two syllable closure, it decreases each line by two syllables per line until the closure. The closure being a repeat of the first line, so it is advisable to make it eye catching and definitive.
The syllable count is as follows . .2R. 4. 6. 8. 10. 8. 6. 4. 2R.

Here is the very first one by Rich Wilkins;

Placed in your view
So close but out of reach
Torturous to all your senses
For they each cry aloud to possess it
Their desires forever unquenched
For the things some want most
They cannot have

Richard Wilkins

and his cousins response

As your lips are
Pressed to mine as velvet
Soft and full with rounded sweetness
Two gentle petals alive with the night
Misted in the summer beauty
Of rains that shower love
'Pon your lips of

Jason Wilkins

As you will see from the examples posted below, there are no restrictions on the genre and it can swing from a simple love note to the blackness of Gothic poetry. In this example you can see how Dera Cymreiges ignores the Refrain so that she can carry on telling a story.

I am the dreamer

is a strange world
where the weavers conspire,
exchange tall tales, preposterous
lies and inside straights; each thread is woven
into their looms, creating the
tapestries on which we
feed our muse in

This is
the place where priests,
thieves and lovers gather
at the same trough; this is where large
black cats chase slo mo runners, where stones of
intent are thrown in jest, where a
perfect rose crumbles on
touch, shows off its

Dera Cymreiges

For the story teller there is a certain freedom. Whist trying to achieve some kind of meter there are no rhyme restrictions. You are only limited to the 60 syllable stanza.


Like the Cinquain and Rictameter, the Diatelle is another mathematical or numbers form. However, in this form there is a rhyme pattern of:
a. b. b. c. b. c. c. a. c. c. b. c. b. b. a.
The line syllable count is;
1. 2. 3. 4. 6. 8. 10. 12. 10. 8. 6. 4. 3. 2. 1.
When presented it is usually expected to be centred to form a diamond shape. Here is a lovely example by Maggie Cusick:

Natures Nest

of dreams
silver streams
tinkling along
ever to my mind it seems
lost in deep early morning light
dancing in summer, singing a sweet song
watching men of the land their golden harvest yeild
suckling fledglings hungry for their food gleens
as nests are bulging at the seams
parents working in so long
sunset from sky teems
shining bright
sun beams

Maggie Cusick

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Similar to the Cinquain and the Rictameter, the Etheree is a ten line form ascending in syllable count for ten unrhymed lines. It's attributed to an American poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong of Arkansas. An Etheree should focus on one idea or subject. Confirming what has been said:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.


One look
Was needed
Before I fell
In love with this form.
The challenge of writing
Ten lines of absolute crap
Or Metaphysical magic
Depends on the poets writing skills
Not on the Hallmarker types approval.

Maggie Cusick

The Etheree is a very flexible poetry form and lends itself to the writer's creativity. One alternative is the Reverse Etheree where there is a reverse count down;
10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

Further to that is the Double Etheree starting with a Normal Etheree, then adding a Reverse. An alternative to that, is the double starting with a Reverse Etheree creating a wine glass or sand timer effect, and so the permutation grows. You must agree this promises to be a very interesting and challenging form.

Clover Days

of our youth
were dreams hidden
in the green of our
innocence. Wishes were
three leafs in abundance and
every now and then we found a
four in the luck of our dreams come true
and the green clovers tinged gold as we grew.
Nature's first green was a clover of dream
in innocence of childhood wonder.
We searched for four and found something
more in the gold of our dreams
come true and as we grow
though we went separate
ways, we recall
the green of

Karen Davies

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The renowned mathematician Fibonacci (c.1175 - c.1240) is responsible for this poetry form. He is responsible for the concept of a series of numbers produced from the sum of the two previous numbers.
1. 1. 2. 3. 5. 8. 13. 21. 34. etc…

Poets who chose to use this form, need only decide whether to use syllables, (like the cinquain, etc) or words. Whichever is chosen it is an extremely impressive visual poem as Karen Davies shows below:

Autumn Leaves

the breeze in a storm
of crimson symbolize changing
seasons. Summer fades and falls soft as autumn catches
her death in falling crimson leaves swirling to their grave on a magic breeze ride to peace.
Their their little brown spirits battle on the breeze like little soldier leaves fighting WW3 until the white angels fall to take them home.

Karen Davies

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Pattern Poetry

Although it would appear a pretty modern idea Pattern poetry has been around as long as poetry itself and quite naturally exists where there is a desire to combine visual and literary ideas and probably the best way of defining it is that it's visual poetry. It is not unique to Western culture either There are examples of Chinese poetry well before the Christian era. The purpose here is not to describe every Pattern Poem I can find, rather it is to say, "Yes, there is a form called pattern poetry and here is an example:"

Read Dracula's Face

I hope Halloween night brings you
Many haunting and surprisingly spooky things.
What will your costume be this most haunting night ?
Will you be daring and pick something frightfully scaring?
I've been hanging 'round a long, long time waiting just for you!
My name is Count Dracula, I've come to Educate you with the past.
After I'm through with a short history, I'll be handing you over to Boo!
Did you ever wonder where it came from and whom started Halloween?
It came from afar land, Ireland is the Name, about 2 thousand years ago.
They believed ghosts of the dead returned this day to Honor the Dead.
Now with this information you can now share with your spooky friends.
Hell-o my name is Boo I'm a friendly and playful ghost to scary you
I live in the Haunted Mansion, high above the your city is where I live.
Flying throughout the Mansion, playfully scare anyone who enters .
I remember the day your Grandma and grandpa came to visit
the Mansion. They opened the creaking gate, the one where
Ghost and Witches hang out. They stopped and talked to
the witches who give them some love potions. Then
headed up the pathway where R.I.P headstones rest
along the side the pathway. When they opened
the door to the Haunted Mansion I greeted
Them with my most, frightening BOO,
you should have seen their faces!!
all of a sudden they ran all over the place, upstairs and down.
Grandma got wrapped up in cob webbings, "Boy did she
look like a Mummy"! Grandpa helped her out
of the cob web mess. I Gave them a scary
Boo and out the front door they went.
I peeked out the window
They jumped in their car
and sped away, not knowing;
they had taken five of my friendly ghost friends with them.
They told me they live in the guest room of Grandma and Grandpa's house.
If you see them will you tell them I'll see them again next…

Happy Halloween

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Rhopalic Verse

A very deceptive form that at first appears simple but in fact it requires a lot of hard work to accomplish a satisfactory piece. The rules are simple, with each line the first word is monosyllabic the second word has two syllables the third three syllables and so on.

Turco in his Book of Forms gives the following example:

Come lover, hastily violently
And gather everything gatherable.

Leny Roovers takes a far different approach to love and gives this as her example.


As petals awaken expectantly,
dawn's dewdrop reflection-
a silken temptation;
lips linger, lusciously satisfying.

Leny Roovers

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Wreathed and Un-wreathed Poetry

The basic idea was created by George Herbert in 1633. George Herbert was born in Montgomery Wales in 1593 into a wealthy and artistic family. He was educated in Trinity College Cambridge and after an academic and political career he died as a Parish Priest in Wiltshire England aged 39 of Tuberculosis.
On his death he gave his Poetic work to Nicholas Ferrar, the founder of a semi-monastic Anglican religious community at Little Gidding asking him to publish the poems if he thought they might "turn to the advantage of any dejected poor soul", or otherwise, to burn them. One wonders what was burned out of religious zeal?
It is believed that the basis for this poem was taken from Welsh poetry (Englyn cyrch and similar),which uses an external rhyme followed by an internal rhyme on the following line. This gives a basic rhyme scheme of:
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. a.
x. a. x. x. x. x. x. b.

The red in the second line indicates that the internal rhyme can be anywhere in the first part of second line. Un-wreathed poetry is simply the reverse of Wreathed in that the first line starts with an internal rhyme giving that a basic rhyme scheme of:
x. a. x. x. x. x. x. b.
x. x. x. x. x. x. x. a.

In Eastern poetry the Luc Bat is another example of this type of poetry although Herbert would not have been aware of that form and leaves us with 4 basic forms, the Wreathed Quatrain, , Sestet, , Ottave, , and Sonnet, , or similarly Un-wreath poetry. It is more likely that Un-wreath poetry was inspired by Irish poetry.
Here is the poem that started it all

A Wreath

A Wreathed garland of deserved praise,
Of praise deserved, unto thee I give,
I give to thee, who knowest all my wayes,
My crooked winding wayes, wherein I live,
Wherein I die, not live: for life is straight,
Straight as a line, and ever tends to thee,
To thee, who art more farre above deceit,
Then deceit seems above simplicitie.
Give me simplicitie, that I may live,
So live and like, that I may know, thy wayes,
Know them and practise them: then shall I give
For this poore wreath, give thee a crown of praise.

from The Temple (1633) by George Herbert

I would like to thank Jem Farmer for his assistance in compiling this article.

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