Ottava Rima is an eight-line form, originally Italian, having either eleven syllables per line or a line of iambic pentameter—the commonly accepted English use of the form being iambic pentameter.
The rhyme scheme is A-B-A-B-A-B-C-C, which is a moderately rigorous rhyme scheme. This makes ottava rima an excellent stepping-stone toward writing sonnets.
The earliest known use of ottava rima is in the works of Giovanni Boccaccio, who wrote several minor poems in the form and then used it as a stanza form in several of his longer works. This act propelled ottava rima to the primary form for epic poetry in Italy for roughly two centuries.
Ottava rima is relatively unpopular in English literature ; several works have been produced by Romantic poets such as Shelly and Lord Byron.
We shall leave you to your writing after an example from Don Juan by Lord Byron :
"Go, little book, from this my solitude!
I cast thee on the waters – go thy ways!
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
The world will find thee after many days."
When Southey 's read, and Wordsworth understood,
I can't help putting in my claim to praise –
The four first rhymes are Southey's every line:
For God's sake, reader! take them not for mine.