English Madrigal

English Madrigal
Type: Structure, Metrical Requirement, Repetitive Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Isosyllabic
Description: Three verses of iambic pentameter: a triplet, a quatrain, and a sestet with the following rhyme and repetition scheme: AB1B2 abAB1 abbAB1B2.
Attributed to: Geoffrey Chaucer
Origin: English
Schematic: Rhyme and Repetition: AB1B2 abAB1 abbAB1B2

Meter: Iambic pentameter = xX xX xX xX xX

Rhyme alone: abb abab abbabb

Repetition alone: 123 xx12 xxx123
Line/Poem Length: 13

Pasted from <http://www.poetrybase.info/forms/001/108.shtml>
My Thanks to Charles L. Weatherford for his work on the wonderful poetrybase resource.

English Madrigal is a short lyrical verse with a love theme. The tone is almost always complimentary. There have been several structures associated with the Madrigal through its history from Italy where it began, to France, Spain and England, but most sources agree that no specific frame has been dominant. Although most are short poems there are also long madrigals that have nothing to do with love. 

According to the NPEOPP the only Madrigals in England before 1588 were simply translations of Italian Madrigals and the earliest true English Madrigal was by Philip Sidney, a 15 line poem with mixed 6 and 10 syllable rhymed lines. There have been many other forms used by English poets since then. 

One of the most important collections of English Madrigals without music was written by William Drummond, a Scot poet who wrote 80 Madrigals in hisPoems of 1616. The frame used is loose but does show some consistencies. There is also a stricter verse form recorded in Lewis Turco’s Book of Forms and on-line at Poetry Base that attributes the English Madrigal to 14th century English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer. I include both below.
• The English Madrigal as written by Drummond is:
○ a poem in 6 to 14 lines.
○ syllabic, written with mixed 6-10 syllable lines. The 1st line is always 6 syllables.
○ rhymed, rhyme schemes are variable, one scheme is abcabddccee.
○ a complimentary love poem. 

Her Passing from Poems of 1616 by William Drummond (1585-1649) an English Madrigal 

THE beauty and the life 
— Of life’s and beauty’s fairest paragon 
—O tears! O grief!—hung at a feeble thread 
To which pale Atropos had set her knife; 
— The soul with many a groan 
— Had left each outward part, 
And now did take his last leave of the heart: 
Naught else did want, save death, ev’n to be dead; 
When the afflicted band about her bed, 
Seeing so fair him come in lips, cheeks, eyes,
Cried, ‘Ah! and can Death enter Paradise?’
• The English Madrigal as inspired by Chaucer (sometimes called a Short English Madrigal) is:
○ a poem in 13 lines, a tercet, quatrain, and sixain in that order.
○ metered, iambic pentameter.
○ rhymed with refrain, rhyme scheme AB1B2 abAB1 abbAB1B2 Caps are repeated lines.

A Unicorn for Allexa by Rex Allen Brewer

Please Allexa, do dream of Unicorns. 
Like fantasy magic they come at night, 
love and innocence painted in star light. 

Seldom seen on clear days or sunlit morns, 
but night or day, they know what’s wrong or right. 
It’s a good thing to dream of Unicorns. 
Like fantasy magic they come at night. 

In life you shall find both roses and thorns, 
even the good at times are forced to fight. 
Stand tall Allexa don’t give in to fright, 
and remember, do dream of Unicorns. 
Like fantasy magic they come at night, 
love and innocence painted in star light.

Pasted from <http://www.poetrymagnumopus.com/index.php?/topic/671-english-madrigal/>
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource


My example poem

What I Should Have Told My Daughter (English Madrigal)

Remember Suzy, lovely dreams come true
so dream of love and settle not for less.
Be not so anxious for that first caress.

The kind of man you get depends on you.
A fallen apple does not much impress.
Be patient dear, for lovely dreams come true.
So dream of love and settle not for less.

The pressing, selfish man you must eschew
though urges will be strong, I shall confess.
Your prince will come and you’ll not have to guess.
You need not rush, for lovely dreams come true.
So dream of love and settle not for less.
Be not so anxious for that first caress.

© Lawrencealot – August 9, 2014

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I have chosen to present the stricter Chaucer version, and interpreting from the poem A Unicorn for Allexa by Rex Allen Brewer shall allow the ending half of line 1 to suffice for the refrain requirement.

English Madrigal

Ballade Stanza

A Ballade Stanza or Monk’s Tale Stanza (So named because it was used in  the Monk’s Tale in The Canterbury Tales (1386–1400) by Geoffrey Chaucer )
Is an ten syllable isosyllabic octave, usually written in conjunction with other stanzas (formally five stressed syllables)
Rhyme Scheme: ababbcbc
Example Poem
Reprieve      (Ballade Stanza)
My puppy wasn’t there when I got home
which was unusual in every way.
He’d always wait to play; he’d never roam.
“Honey- my grandma had sad things to say,
“Hit chasing car… then they took him away.”
I’d never cried the way I cried that night.
Surprise! His leg was in a cast next day;
the driver smiled and made my life alright.
© Lawrencealot – January 16, 2014


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