Form of short narrative folk song. Its distinctive style crystallized in Europe in the late Middle Ages as part of the oral tradition, and it has been preserved as a musical and literary form. The oral form has persisted as the folk ballad, and the written, literary ballad evolved from the oral tradition. The folk ballad typically tells a compact tale with deliberate starkness, using devices such as repetition to heighten effects. The modern literary ballad recalls in its rhythmic and narrative elements the traditions of folk balladry.
The Ballad of the Fox Hunter
'Lay me in a cushioned chair;
Carry me, ye four,
With cushions here and cushions there,
To see the world once more.
'To stable and to kennel go;
Bring what is there to bring;
Lead my Lollard to and fro,
Or gently in a ring.
'Put the chair upon the grass:
Bring Rody and his hounds,
That I may contented pass
From these earthly bounds.'
His eyelids droop, his head falls low,
His old eyes cloud with dreams;
The sun upon all things that grow
Falls in sleepy streams.
Brown Lollard treads upon the lawn,
And to the armchair goes,
And now the old man's dreams are gone,
He smooths the long brown nose.
And now moves many a pleasant tongue
Upon his wasted hands,
For leading aged hounds and young
The huntsman near him stands.
'Huntsmam Rody, blow the horn,
Make the hills reply.'
The huntsman loosens on the morn
A gay wandering cry.
Fire is in the old man's eyes,
His fingers move and sway,
And when the wandering music dies
They hear him feebly say,
'Huntsman Rody, blow the horn,
Make the hills reply.'
'I cannot blow upon my horn,
I can but weep and sigh.'
Servants round his cushioned place
Are with new sorrow wrung;
Hounds are gazing on his face,
Aged hounds and young.
One blind hound only lies apart
On the sun-smitten grass;
He holds deep commune with his heart:
The moments pass and pass:
The blind hound with a mournful din
Lifts slow his wintry head;
The servants bear the body in;
The hounds wail for the dead.
-William Butler Yeats
Stadtfotograph at German Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons
"A poem of lament or of grave meditation."
From: "Poetry Handbook" (1969)
Elegy in a Country Churchyard
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share,
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
A species of Oriental lyric poetry, generally of an erotic nature, distinguished from other forms of Eastern verse by having a limited number of stanzas and by the recurrence of the same rhyme. The poem is made up of a collection of two line stanzas called "shers."
radif: (repeating refrain)
kaafiyaa: (internal rhyme before repeating refrain)
takhallus: (the author's pen name)
Separation from companions is unwise
Treading the path without light is unwise.
If the throne and scepter have been your prize
Descent from prince to pauper is unwise.
For Beloved, the you in you is disguise
To focus on the you in you is unwise.
If once to heavenly abundance you rise
Desperation and impotence is unwise.
Hear the thief’s greedy and fearful cries
Fraudulent deception too is unwise.
To you, phoenix, demise is mere lies
Phoenix running from fire is unwise.
-Rumi (translated by Shahriar Shahriari)
Unrhymed Japanese poetic form. It consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, respectively. The form expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible words. It gained distinction in the 17th century, when Basho elevated it to a highly refined art. Haiku remains Japan's most popular poetic form and is widely imitated in English and other languages.
In all this cool
is the moon also sleeping?
There, in the pool?
Popular form of short, humorous verse, often nonsensical and frequently ribald. It consists of five lines, rhyming aabba, and the dominant metre is anapestic, with two feet in the third and fourth lines and three feet in the others. The origin of the term is obscure, but a group of poets in County Limerick, Ire., wrote limericks in Irish in the 18th century. The first collections in English date from c. 1820.
The Test Pilot
A Plane builder needed a pilot,
So Bob told the guy, he would try it.
When Bob took to the air,
Plane parts fell everywhere.
Bob radioed “where shall I pile it?”
Stanzic Ode: a series of stanzas similar in form and effect to the Latin Odes written by Horace.
Ode to Evening
If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
Like thy own solemn springs,
Thy springs and dying gales;
O nymph reserved, while now the bright-hair'd sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,
O'erhang his wavy bed:
Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,
Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn...
Pindaric Ode: tripartite in form consisting of two stanzas identical in form and a third stanza which differes in form from the preceding two. This pattern can then be repeated.
Irregular Ode: lacks a repetition of the patters used in a Pindaric Ode. The rhyme is found irregularly throughout the poem and the lines are not of equal length. It is also often called the Romantic Ode.
"stephen wilkes - photograph - Day to night new york" by cattias.photos is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Ode on Intimations of Immortality
HERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell'd in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe'er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where'er I go,
That there hath pass'd away a glory from the earth.
"An elaborate form... consists of six stanzas, of six lines each, with a concluding tercet (three lines of verse that form a group). It is usually unrhymed but by the end words of the first stanza." With the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 representing the end words of the initial stanza, and each line representing a stanze, the scheme" would be as follows:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
6, 1, 5, 2, 4, 3
3, 6, 4, 1, 2, 5
5, 3, 2, 6, 1, 4
4, 5, 1, 3, 6, 2
5, 3, 1
"We have brought you," they said, "a map of the country;
Here is the line that runs to the vats,
This patch of green on the left is the wood,
We've pencilled an arrow to point to the bay,
No thank you, no tea; why look at the clock.
Keep it? Of course. It goes with our love."
From: "Poetry Handbook" (1969)
Fixed verse form having 14 lines that are typically five-foot iambics rhyming according to a prescribed scheme. The sonnet is unique among poetic forms in Western literature in that it has retained its appeal for major poets for five centuries. It seems to have originated in the 13th century among the Sicilian school of court poets. In the 14th century Petrarch established the most widely used sonnet form. The Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnet characteristically consists of an eight-line octave, rhyming abbaabba, that states a problem, asks a question, or expresses an emotional tension, followed by a six-line sestet, of varying rhyme schemes, that resolves the problem, answers the question, or resolves the tension.
As fast as thou shalt wane so fast thou grow'st,
In one of thine, from that which thou departest,
And that fresh blood which youngly thou bestow'st,
Thou mayst call thine, when thou from youth convertest,
Herein lives wisdom, beauty, and increase,
Without this folly, age, and cold decay,
If all were minded so, the times should cease,
And threescore year would make the world away:
Let those whom nature hath not made for store,
Harsh, featureless, and rude, barrenly perish:
Look whom she best endowed, she gave thee more;
Which bounteous gift thou shouldst in bounty cherish:
She carved thee for her seal, and meant thereby,
Thou shouldst print more, not let that copy die.
Martin Droeshout, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Example: One Art The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn't hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn't hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster. --Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster. -Elizabeth Bishop
Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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