Last updated

The cywydd (IPA:  [ˈkəwɨ̞ð] ; plural cywyddau) is one of the most important metrical forms in traditional Welsh poetry (cerdd dafod).

There are a variety of forms of the cywydd, but the word on its own is generally used to refer to the cywydd deuair hirion ("long-lined couplet") as it is by far the most common type.

The first recorded examples of the cywydd date from the early 14th century, when it is believed to have been developed. This was the favourite metre of the Poets of the Nobility, the poets working from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, and it is still used today.

The cywydd consists of a series of seven-syllable lines in rhyming couplets, with all lines written in cynghanedd. One of the lines must finish with a stressed syllable, while the other must finish with an unstressed syllable. The rhyme may vary from couplet to couplet, or may remain the same. There is no rule about how many couplets there must be in a cywydd.

The cywydd deuair hirion and the related cywydd deuair fyrion, cywydd llosgyrnog and the awdl-gywydd all occur in the list of the twenty four traditional Welsh poetic meters adopted in the later Middle Ages.

See also

Related Research Articles


Alexandrine is a name used for several distinct types of verse line with related metrical structures, most of which are ultimately derived from the classical French alexandrine. The line's name derives from its use in the Medieval French Roman d'Alexandre of 1170, although it had already been used several decades earlier in Le Pèlerinage de Charlemagne. The foundation of most alexandrines consists of two hemistichs (half-lines) of six syllables each, separated by a caesura :

o o o o o o | o o o o o o  o=any syllable; |=caesura

A couplet is a pair of successive lines of metre in poetry. A couplet usually consists of two successive lines that rhyme and have the same metre. A couplet may be formal (closed) or run-on (open). In a formal couplet, each of the two lines is end-stopped, implying that there is a grammatical pause at the end of a line of verse. In a run-on couplet, the meaning of the first line continues to the second.

In poetry, metre or meter is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study and the actual use of metres and forms of versification are both known as prosody.

Poetry Form of literature

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre − to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, a prosaic ostensible meaning.

A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounds in the final stressed syllables and any following syllables of two or more words. Most often, this kind of perfect rhyming is consciously used for a musical or aesthetic effect in the final position of lines within poems or songs. More broadly, a rhyme may also variously refer to other types of similar sounds near the ends of two or more words. Furthermore, the word rhyme has come to be sometimes used as a shorthand term for any brief poem, such as a nursery rhyme or Balliol rhyme.

Alliterative verse

In prosody, alliterative verse is a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal ornamental device to help indicate the underlying metrical structure, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. The most commonly studied traditions of alliterative verse are those found in the oldest literature of the Germanic languages, where scholars use the term 'alliterative poetry' rather broadly to indicate a tradition which not only shares alliteration as its primary ornament but also certain metrical characteristics. The Old English epic Beowulf, as well as most other Old English poetry, the Old High German Muspilli, the Old Saxon Heliand, the Old Norse Poetic Edda, and many Middle English poems such as Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the Alliterative Morte Arthur all use alliterative verse.

Syllabic verse is a poetic form having a fixed or constrained number of syllables per line, while stress, quantity, or tone play a distinctly secondary role — or no role at all — in the verse structure. It is common in languages that are syllable-timed, such as French or Finnish — as opposed to stress-timed languages such as English, in which accentual verse and accentual-syllabic verse are more common.

<i>Ghazal</i> Form of poetry of many languages, originating in Arabic

The ghazal is a form of amatory poem or ode, originating in Arabic poetry. A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain.

Terza rima is a rhyming verse form, in which the poem, or each poem-section, consists of tercets with an interlocking three-line rhyme scheme: The last word of the second line in one tercet provides the rhyme for the first and third lines in the tercet that follows. The poem or poem-section may have any number of lines, but it ends with either a single line or a couplet, which repeats the rhyme of the middle line of the previous tercet.


Englyn is a traditional Welsh and Cornish short poem form. It uses quantitative metres, involving the counting of syllables, and rigid patterns of rhyme and half rhyme. Each line contains a repeating pattern of consonants and accent known as cynghanedd.

In early Welsh literature, an awdl is any long poem on a single end-rhyme, using cynghanedd. Such early awdlau are associated with the Cynfeirdd such as Aneirin and Taliesin, and the poetry is found in manuscripts such as the Book of Taliesin, the Black Book of Carmarthen, the Hendregadredd Manuscript or The Red Book of Hergest.

In Welsh-language poetry, cynghanedd is the basic concept of sound-arrangement within one line, using stress, alliteration and rhyme. The various forms of cynghanedd show up in the definitions of all formal Welsh verse forms, such as the awdl and cerdd dafod. Though of ancient origin, cynghanedd and variations of it are still used today by many Welsh-language poets. A number of poets have experimented with using cynghanedd in English-language verse, for instance Gerard Manley Hopkins. Some of Dylan Thomas's work is also influenced by cynghanedd.

Tail rhyme is a family of stanzaic verse forms used in poetry in French and especially English during and since the Middle Ages, and probably derived from models in medieval Latin versification.

In poetry, a fourteener is a line consisting of 14 syllables, which are usually made of seven iambic feet for which the style is also called iambic heptameter. It is most commonly found in English poetry produced in the 16th and 17th centuries. Fourteeners often appear as rhymed couplets, in which case they may be seen as ballad stanza or common metre hymn quatrains in two rather than four lines.

This glossary of literary terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in the discussion, classification, analysis, and criticism of all types of literature, such as poetry, novels, and picture books, as well as of grammar, syntax, and language techniques. For a more complete glossary of terms relating to poetry in particular, see Glossary of poetry terms.

This is a glossary of poetry.

Political verse, also known as decapentasyllabic verse, is a common metric form in Medieval and Modern Greek poetry. It is an iambic verse of fifteen syllables and has been the main meter of traditional popular and folk poetry since the Byzantine period.

The traethodl is a Welsh verse form consisting of couplets in which seven-syllabled lines rhyme with alternate accented and unaccented rhyming syllables. It is first attested in medieval Welsh literature. With the addition of cynghanedd, it was elaborated in the 14th century and developed into the cywydd.

Vietnamese poetry originated in the form of folk poetry and proverbs. Vietnamese poetic structures include six-eight, double-seven six-eight, and various styles shared with Classical Chinese poetry forms, such as are found in Tang poetry; examples include verse forms with "seven syllables each line for eight lines," "seven syllables each line for four lines", and "five syllables each line for eight lines." More recently there have been new poetry and free poetry.

Classical Chinese poetry forms

Classical Chinese poetry forms are poetry forms or modes which typify the traditional Chinese poems written in Literary Chinese or Classical Chinese. Classical Chinese poetry has various characteristic forms, some attested to as early as the publication of the Classic of Poetry, dating from a traditionally, and roughly, estimated time of around 10th–7th century BC. The term "forms" refers to various formal and technical aspects applied to poems: this includes such poetic characteristics as meter, rhythm, and other considerations such as vocabulary and style. These forms and modes are generally, but not invariably, independent of the Classical Chinese poetry genres. Many or most of these were developed by the time of the Tang Dynasty, and the use and development of Classical Chinese poetry and genres actively continued up until the May Fourth Movement, and still continues even today in the 21st century.