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Ballade - Definition

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Definition of: Ballade

Poetry Definition

The ballade is a verse form typically consisting of three eight-line stanzas, each with a consistent metre and a particular rhyme scheme. The last line in the stanza is a refrain, and the stanzas are followed by a four-line concluding stanza (an envoi) usually addressed to a prince. (The ballade should not be confused with the ballad.) The rhyme scheme is therefore usually 'ababbcbC ababbcbC ababbcbC bcbC', where the capital 'C' is a refrain. There are many variations to the ballade, and it is in many ways similar to the ode and chant royal. There are instances of a double ballade and double-refrain ballade. Some ballades have five stanzas; a ballade supreme has ten-line stanzas rhyming ababbccdcD, with the envoi ccdcD or ccdccD. A seven-line ballade, or ballade royal, consists of four stanzas of rhyme royal, all using the same three rhymes, all ending in a refrain, without an envoi.

A form of French versification, sometimes imitated in English, in which three or four rhymes recur through three stanzas of eight or ten lines each, the stanzas concluding with a refrain, and the whole poem with an envoy.

Example

A Ballade Of Theatricals by G.K. Chesterton (1912)
 Though all the critics' canons grow—
Far seedier than the actors' own—
Although the cottage-door's too low—
Although the fairy's twenty stone—
Although, just like the telephone,
She comes by wire and not by wings,
Though all the mechanism's known—
Believe me, there are real things.
Yes, real people— even so—
Even in a theatre, truth is known,
Though the agnostic will not know,
And though the gnostic will not own,
There is a thing called skin and bone,
And many a man that struts and sings
Has been as stony-broke as stone…
Believe me, there are real things
There is an hour when all men go;
An hour when man is all alone.
When idle minstrels in a row
Went down with all the bugles blown—
When brass and hymn and drum went down,
Down in death's throat with thunderings—
Ah, though the unreal things have grown,
Believe me, there are real things.
Prince, though your hair is not your own
And half your face held on by strings,
And if you sat, you'd smash your throne—
Believe me, there are real things.

Standard Definition

[n] a poem consisting of 3 stanzas and an envoy

See Also...

poem, verse form

Misc. Definitions

\Bal*lade"\, n. [See {Ballad}, n.] A form of French versification, sometimes imitated in English, in which three or four rhymes recur through three stanzas of eight or ten lines each, the stanzas concluding with a refrain, and the whole poem with an envoy.

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