Ballade

As distinct from Ballad

This normally consists of three stanzas of eight lines rhyming ababbcbc followed by an envoi rhyming bcbc. There is often a refrain after each of the stanzas and the envoi. The envoi conventionally begins with an address to a princeling or some other high-placed person. Variations are six stanzas, or a ballade with three stanzas of ten lines followed by a a five line envoi.

The Chant Royal may be thought of as an extension of the ballade. This is an example from Austin Dobson. Despite the title, it's a ballade and not a ballad:

The Ballad of Imitation

"C'est imiter quelqu'un que de planter des choux." - Alfred de Musset

                   If they hint, O Musician, the piece that you played
                   Is nought but a copy of Chopin or Spohr;
                   That the ballad you sing is but merely 'conveyed'
                   From the stock of the Arnes and the Purcells of yore;
                   That there's nothing, in short, in the words or the score
                   That is not as out-worn as the 'Wandering Jew',
                   Make answer - Beethoven could scarcely do more -
                   That the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!

                   If they tell you, Sir Artist, your light and your shade
                   Are simply 'adapted' from other men's lore;
                   That - plainly to speak of a 'spade' as a 'spade' -
                   You've 'stolen' your grouping from three or from four;
                   That (however the writer the truth may deplore),
                   'Twas Gainsborough painted your 'Little Boy Blue';
                   Smile only serenely--though cut to the core -
                   For the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!

                   And you too, my Poet, be never dismayed.
                   If they whisper your Epic - 'Sir Eperon d'Or' -
                   Is nothing but Tennyson thinly arrayed
                   In a tissue that's taken from Morris's store;
                   That no one, in fact, but a child could ignore
                   That you 'lift' or 'accommodate' all that you do;
                   Take heart - though your Pegasus' withers be sore -
                   For the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!

                   POSTSCRIPTUM - And you, whom we all so adore,
                   Dear Critics, whose verdicts are always so new! -
                   One word in your ear. There were Critics before . . .
                   And the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!


A Note on Formal and Free Verse
Chant Royal
Literary Terms
Metre
Triolet

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