John Donne’s “Go and catch a falling star” is a three-stanza poem with nine lines per stanza. As a whole, the lines have an ABABCCDDD rhyme scheme that is maintained throughout.
In addition, the lines adhere to a consistent syllable pattern that shifts among the various rhyme schemes. The first four lines, for instance, all have the same number of syllables (seven).
The following two lines also have eight syllables each, and then there are two lines with only two syllables each. This stanza concludes with a line of seven syllables.
This is a highly unconventional pattern that is best experienced through oral reading. Donne’s choice of word “song” for title of this work indicates that he intended for it to be performed orally.
The poem is a bit of an outlier when compared to the rest of John Donne’s poetry. Despite its lack of extended metaphors that characterize some of Donne’s best poetry...