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Universal Elements of Poetry


ballad - From the Provencal balada "dancing song." A short sub-type of narrative poem that tells a story. believed to have been started in the Middle-Ages and still a popular form today. Ballads were originally sung. It contains elements of lyric and dramatic poetry as well as narrative and follows a simple rhyme scheme. Because they were relatively short whether sung or written, details of the event could be omitted. If sung the performer could linger over some parts of the story based on audience appeal. The writer enjoyed that same liberte. Ballads that originate through folk culture make use of repetitions, refrains, dialogue and are usually anonymous. Ballads fall into four types: historical, folk, tragic, and literary. The historical ballad follows the simple narrative progression of introduction or setting, character, rising action, climax, and conclusion. For example Dudley Randall's Ballad of Birmingham. The setting and plot taken from the incident of the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

Old English and Scottish ballads have survived mainly through writings of later poets. For example: The Friar of Orders by Thomas Gray (1765):

And how should I know your true love
From many another one?
Oh, by his cockle hat and staff,
And by his sandal shoone.
O Lady, he is dead and gone!
Lady, he's dead and gone!
And at his head a green grass turfe,
And at his heels a stone.

Quoted by William Shakespeare in Hamlet, Act iv, Scene 3.

There are traditional or indigenous folk ballads written much later such as Lord Randall, Casey Jones, and John Henry. There is no need for the poet to provide background, the hero's name and deed are instantly recognized.

The tragic ballads add another ingredient, that of symbolism and mysticism. Scott's Proud Mazie and Brignall Banks are both literary ballads and narratives. Proud Mazie is sung by the madwoman Madge Wildfire on her deathbed in chapter XL of The Heart of Midlothian (1818). The 'magical' aspects of the poem - the lonely woodland setting, and the bird dealing out prophecies of death:

Proud Masie is in the wood,
Walking so early;
Sweet Robin sits on the bush,
Singing so rarely,

"Tell me, thou bonny bird
When shall I marry me?"
"When six braw gentlemen
Kirkward shall carry ye" kirkward = churchward

"Who makes the bridal bed,
Birdie, say truly?"
"The Gray-headed sexton
That delves the grave duly. delves=digs

"The glow-worm o'er grave and stone
Shall light thee steady;
The owl from the steeple sing,
Welcome, proud lady!"

For a contemporary example look at the Australian poet John Manifold's The Griesly Wife. Read the beginning lines:

The snow lay thick, the moon was full
And shone across the floor
The young wife went with never a word
Barefooted to the door.

He up and followed sure and fast,
The moon shone clear and white
But before his coat was on his back
His wife was out of sight.

He followed fast, he followed slow,
And still he called her name
But only the dingoes of the hills
Yowled back at him again.

His hair stood up along his neck,
His angry mind was gone,
For the track of the two bare feet gave out
And a four-foot track went on.

As an example of a literary ballad, Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner loaded with symbolism and mysticism. Also Keats' La Belle Dame sans Merci The Beautiful Lady Without Pity (1819) which is loaded with mystery. In this poem a knight encounters a woman "a faery's child" whose "eyes were wild" again for some mysterious reason the "maiden" sets the knight to sleep and disappears. Most literary ballads follow a triangular patter of situation, rising action, falling action.

For the best examples of Scotch literary ballads go to The Child Ballads, a collection of 305 ballads from England and Scotland preserved by Francis James Child in the late nineteenth century. Sir Patrick Spence number fifty-eight is quite well-known and appears in a number of variations. Most of the versions follow a simple story where the King of Scotland calls for the finest sailor in the land to command a ship to bring a princess from Norway. Patrick Spens is the lucky sailor and for a royal commission he accepts the task but senses foreboding about putting to sea in the dead of winter. Predictably the voyage is his last.

Each of the examples show that ballads have four line stanzas and a simple rhyme scheme of abcb or abba. Our last example is Robert Blakes's The Shepherd:

How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot
From morn to the evening he strays.
He shall follow this sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lambs' innocent call,
And he hears the ewes' tender reply;
He is watching while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.

ballad stanza or common meter - Generally iambic quatrain with rhyme scheme of abcb or abab. The rhyme scheme is not fixed expecially in folk ballads where the story takes precedence over a fixed rhyme scheme. The ballad stanza or common meter would be tetrameter-trimeter-tetrameter-trimeter. (a)Poets frequently lengthen the meter using straight tetrameter lines.(b) A third possibiity is the trimeter-trimeter-tetrameter-trimeter.(c) To illustrate this we examing Burns three versions of his poem Bonnie Doon (1808).

a. stanza verse or common measure

Ye flowery banks o'bonnie Doon ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / tetrameter
How can ye blume sae fair? ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / trimeter
How can ye cant, ye little birds, ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / tetrameter
And I sae fu o care? ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / trimeter

b. long verse

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / tetrameter
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair? ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / tetrameter
How can ye chant, ye little birds, ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / tetrameter
And I sae weary fu o' care ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / tetrameter

c. short meter

Ye banks o" bonnie Doon ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / trimeter
How can ye blume sae fair? ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / trimeter
How can ye chant, ye little birds ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / tetrameter
And I sae fu o' care. ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / trimeter

He settled on stanza verse or common measure (a) for the final poem.

ballade - A traditional French troubadour verse form originating from Provencal. It reached its height of popularity during the 14th century. The ballade form consists of three seven line stanzas and an envoi easily identified by a refrain that appears as the last line in each stanza. The stanza rhymes are the same throughout the poem; ababbcc. However the envoi can be any length and rhyme scheme.

The most famous French balladeer was Francois Villon. Here is one of his literary ballads Ballade des dames du temps jadis (1533) Ballade of the Dead Ladies translated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti:

Tell me now in what hidden way
is Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
Neither of them the fairer woman?.
Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
Only heard on river and mere,
She whose beauty was more than human?
But where are the snows of yester-year?.

Where's Hloise, the learned nun,
For whose sake Abeillard, I ween,
Lost manhood and put priesthood on?.
(From Love he won such dule and teen!)
And where, I pray you, is the Queen.
Who willed that Buridan should steer.
Sewed in a sack's mouth down the Seine?
But where are the snows of yester-year?.

White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,.
With a voice like any mermaiden,
Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice,.
And Ermengarde the lady of Maine,
And that good Joan whom Englishmen.
At Rouen doomed and burned her there,
Mother of God, where are they then?
But where are the snows of yester-year?.

Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
Save with this much for an overword,
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Some of the lyrics Brecht wrote for Threepenny Opera are translations or paraphrases from ballades by Villon. For later examples there is Chauder's Ballade of Good Counsel which, said to have been written on his deathbed. The Ballade of Good Counsel is a didactic poem:

Flee from the crowd and dwell with truth;
Be happy with your possessions, though they are small,
For avarice has hate, and climbing instability,
The crowd has envy, and are blind overall.
Savor no more than you shall behold,
Rule yourself well so that other folk can see,
And truth you shall deliver, there is no reason to fear.

Dont trouble yourself with fixing things that are wrong
That are in the trust of Fortune and her wheel;
Much rest stands in little work.
Beware therefore of again kicking an awl
(that will wound your foot if you kick it),
Strive not as the crock does with the wall
(the crock will break if it strikes a wall).
Rule yourself, and overcome others deeds,
And truth you shall deliver, there is no reason to fear.

What you are sent, recieve with obedience;
The fighting over this world is for nothing.
This is not your home, this is nothing but wilderness:
Forth, pilgrim, forth! Forth, beast, out of your stall!
Stick to the high road and let your spirit lead you,
And truth you shall deliver, there is no reason to fear.

Therefore, Sir Philip de la Vache, leave your old wretchedness;
Leave this world from which you are enslaved.
Cry mercy to Him, that of his goodness
Made thee out of nothing, and especially
Draw to him, and pray in general
For yourself, and also for others, heavenly rewards;
And truth you shall deliver, there is no reason to fear.

And the Victorian poet Charles Swinburne's Ballade of Dreamland:

I hid my heart in a nest of roses,
Out of the sun's way, hidden apart;
In a softer bed then the soft white snow's is,
Under the roses I hid my heart.
Why would it sleep not? why should it start,
When never a leaf of the rose-tree stirred?
What made sleep flutter his wings and part?
Only the song of a secret bird.

Lie still, I said, for the wind's wing closes,
And mild leaves muffle the keen sun's dart;
Lie still, for the wind on the warm seas dozes,
And the wind is unquieter yet than thou art.
Does a thought in thee still as a thorn's wound smart?
Does the fang still fret thee of hope deferred?
What bids the lips of thy sleep dispart?
Only the song of a secret bird.

The green land's name that a charm encloses,
It never was writ in the traveller's chart,
And sweet on its trees as the fruit that grows is,
It never was sold in the merchant's mart.
The swallows of dreams through its dim fields dart,
And sleep's are the tunes in its tree-tops heard;
No hound's note wakens the wildwood hart,
Only the song of a secret bird.

In the world of dreams I have chosen my part,
To sleep for a season and hear no word
Of true love's truth or of light love's art,
Only the song of a secret bird.

One last comment for a related ballade form reserved exclusively for serious and stately themes see "chant royal."

The English ballade has its own distinct verse form consisting of three rhyming stanzas. The stanzas may have five, eight or ten lines. It is usually addressed to a prince. Some may be double ballades others may have double-refrains. Our best examples in English were written by G. K. Chesterton. The rhyme patterns may vary from ababbcbC; ababbcbC; ababbcbcC; the ballade royal has four stanzas of rhyme royal with a same rhyme pattern plus refrain but with no envoi. In notation, the presence of a capital C indicates a refrain. Here are some examples from Chesterton:

A Ballade of an Anti-Puritan

They spoke of Progress spiring round,
Of Light and Mrs. Humphry Ward—
It is not true to say I frowned,
Or ran about the room and roared;
I might have simply sat and snored—
I rose politely in the club
And said, "I feel a little bored;
Will someone take me to a pub?"

The new world's wisest did surround
Me; and it pains me to record
I did not think their views profound,
Or their conclusions well assured;
The simple life I can't afford,
Besides, I do not like the grub—
I wait a mash and sausage, "scored"—
Will someone take me to a pub?

I know where Men can still be found,
Anger and clamorous accord,
And virtues growing from the ground,
And fellowship of beer and board,
And song, that is a sturdy cord.
And hope, that is a hardy shrub,
And goodness, that is God's last word—
Will someone take me to a pub?

Envoi

Prince, Bayard would have smashed his sword
To see the sort of knights you dub
Is that the last of them—O Lord!
Will someone take me to a pub?

Ballade of Theatricals

Though all the critics’ canons grow
Far seedier than the actors’ own
Although the cottage-door’s too low
Although the fairy’s bwenty 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 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;
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.

Envoi

Prince, though your hair is not your own
And half your facer held on by strings,
And if you sat, you’d smash your throne
Believe me, there are real things.

Ballade d’une Grande Dame

Heaven shall forgive you Bridge at dawn,
The clothes you wear—or do not wear—
And Ladies' Leap-frog on the lawn
And dyes and drugs, and petits verres.
Your vicious things shall melt in air ...
... But for the Virtuous Things you do,
The Righteous Work, the Public Care,
It shall not be forgiven you.

Because you could not even yawn
When your Committees would prepare
To have the teeth of paupers drawn,
Or strip the slums of Human Hair;
Because a Doctor Otto Maehr
Spoke of "a segregated few"—
And you sat smiling in your chair—
It shall not be forgiven you.

Though your sins cried to Father Vaughan,
These desperate you could not spare
Who steal, with nothing left to pawn;
You caged a man up like a bear
For ever in a jailor's care
Because his sins were more than two ...
... I know a house in Hoxton where
It shall not be forgiven you.

Envoi

Princess, you trapped a guileless Mayor
To meet some people that you knew ...
When the Last Trumpet rends the air
It shall not be forgiven you.

A Ballade of a Book-Reviewer

I have not read a rotten page
Of "Sex-Hate" or "The Social Test,"
And here comes "Husks" and "Heritage"....
O Moses, give us all a rest!
"Ethics of Empire"!... I protest
I will not even cut the strings,
I'll read "Jack Redskin on the Quest"
And feed my brain with better things.

Somebody wants a Wiser Age
(He also wants me to invest);
Somebody likes the Finnish Stage
Because the Jesters do not jest;
And grey with dust is Dante's crest,
The bell of Rabelais soundless swings;
And the winds come out of the west
And feed my brain with better things.

Lord of our laughter and our rage.
Look on us with our sins oppressed!
I, too, have trodden mine heritage,
Wickedly wearying of the best.
Burn from my brain and from my breast
Sloth, and the cowardice that clings,
And stiffness and the soul's arrest:
And feed my brain with better things.

Envoi

Prince, you are host and I am guest,
Therefore I shrink from cavillings....
But I should have that fizz suppressed
And feed my brain with better things.

A Ballade of Suicide

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall.
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours—on the wall—
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"
The strangest whim has seized me.... After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay—My
uncle's sword is hanging in the hall—
I see a little cloud all pink and grey—
Perhaps the rector's mother will not call—
I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way—
I never read the works of Juvenal—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H.G. Wells has found that children play.
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall;
Rationalists are growing rational—
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray,
So secret that the very sky seems small—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

Envoi

Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall—
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

A Ballade of the First Rain

The sky is blue with summer and the sun,
The woods are brown as autumn with the tan,
It might as well be Tropics and be done,
I might as well be born a copper Khan;
I fashion me an oriental fan
Made of the wholly unreceipted bills
Brought by the ice-man, sleeping in his van
(A storm is coming on the Chiltern Hills).

I read the Young Philosophers for fun
—Fresh as our sorrow for the late Queen Anne—
The Dionysians whom a pint would stun,
The Pantheists who never heard of Pan.
—But through my hair electric needles ran,
And on my book a gout of water spills,
And on the skirts of heaven the guns began
(A storm is coming on the Chiltern Hills).

O fields of England, cracked and dry and dun,
O soul of England, sick of words, and wan!—
The clouds grow dark;—the down-rush has begun.
—It comes, it comes, as holy darkness can,
Black as with banners, ban and arriere-ban;
A falling laughter all the valley fills,
Deep as God's thunder and the thirst of man:
(A storm is coming on the Chiltern Hills).

Envoi

Prince, Prince-Elective on the modern plan
Fulfilling such a lot of People's Wills,
You take the Chiltern Hundreds while you can—
A storm is coming on the Chiltern Hills.

bard - Originally referred to Celtic minstrels i.e. from early Britain, Welsh, Irish and Scotland. They were called upon to sing at celebrations. Many of their songs are still available and go back as far as the 5th century. Since this early time several poets have been anointed with the title “bard”:

Bard of Prose: title given to Boccaccio (1313-1375) by Byron in Book IV of Childe Harod. “The Bard of Prose, creative spirit! He of the Hundred Tales of Love.”

Bard of Twickenham: title given to Alexander Pope (1688-1744). Critics changed the title to read the “wasp” of Twickenham . Pope’s home was in Twickenham.

Bard of Avon: most familiar title of Shakespeare (1564-1616). He was born and is buried at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Bard of Olney: given to William Cowper (1731-1800) who resided in Olney.

Bard of Ayrshire: given Robert Burns (1759-1796) also his home.

Bard of the Imagination: for Mark Akenside (1721-1770) after his work Pleasures of the Imagination.

Bard of Hope: Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) who wrote The Pleasures of Hope.

Bildungsroman - in translation “novel of development.” This term refers to novels that follow the life of a young protagonist as he encounters characters who suggest paths to follow in life. Some of the novels are believed to mirror the life of the author. This form of story line is found throughout literature. Although Goethe’s (1749-1832) Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship (1794) was the first to fall under this new form, Henry Fielding’s (1707-1754) Joseph Andrews (1742) did precede it. After that came Charles Dickens’ (1812-1870) David Copperfield; J. D. Salinger’s (1919-2010) Catcher in the Rye (1951); Mark Twain’s (1835-1910) Huckleberry Finn (1884); Thomas Wolfe’s (1900-1938) Look Homeward Angel (1929); Thomas Mann (1875-1955) for The Magic Mountain (1924) Some literarians prefer the term “kunstleroman” when the story concerns the life an artist. Examples would be James Joyce (1882-1941) for A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Henry Miller (1891-1980) with Tropic of Capricorn (1939 in France, in U.S. 1961).

blank verse - Blank verse is unrhymed verse in iambic pentameter. Lines may be of any length, with or without stanzas, with no fixed rhythm. A poet is free to use any other poetic device: alliteration, assonance, or consonance, but not rhyme. Most of Shakespeare is blank verse. An example from Henry IV, Act III, Scene ii:

So common hackneyed in the eyes of men.
So stale and cheap to vulgar company,
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had still kept loyalty of possession
And left me in reputeless banishment
A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.

For an example of what is allowed in blank verse see Charles Lamb's Old Familiar Faces (1798). This verse uses tercets and a stanza last line rhyming pattern of abc dec fgc hic ...

I have had playmates, I have had companions,
In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have been laughing, I have been carousing,
Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies,
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I loved a love once, fairest among women;
Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her --
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.

I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man;
Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly;
Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.

Ghost-like, I paced round the haunts of my childhood.
Earth seemed a desart I was bound to traverse,
Seeking to find the old familiar faces.

Another quite different example is Tennyson's from the Princess, Tears, Idle Tears in five foot blank verse:

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail,
That brings our friends up from the underworld,
Sad as the last which reddens over one
That sinks with all we love below the verge;
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

Blank verse is a favorite of many modern poets who have abandoned the constraints of rhyme. Here are lines from Nemerov's Storm Windows:

People are putting up storm windows now.
Or were, this morning, until the heavy rain
Drove them indoors. So, coming home at noon,
I saw storm windows lying on the ground.

Blank Verse with heroes as subjects is called Heroic Blank Verse. For this we look at Milton's Paradise Lost:

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death in the world and all out woe,
With loss of Eden, till one geater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat.

Milton gives us this explanation for his choice of heroic verse:

"The measure is English heroic verse without rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil, in Latin rime being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame meter; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse, than else they woulld have expressed them." Later he speaks of rime as "the jingling sound of like endings."

bob and wheel - From the alliterative revival period of late middle English, where each prior alliterative not rhymed stanza finished with a line much shorter: usually two syllables followed by four lines rhymed among themselves. This example of wheels from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which is written in North West Midland dialect of Middle English:

Quen thay | hade play | ed in halle,
As long | as her wyll | e hom last,
To cham | bre he con | hym calle
And to | the chem | ne thay past.

And later on:

“A’ mon | how may | thou slepe,
This mor | ning es | so clere?”
He watz | in droup | ing depe
But thenne | he con | hir here.

Another example is Chaucer’s elegaic poem written in stanzaic form in alliterative verse. The Pearl according to the Encylopedia of Literature is considered one of the most complex analogies in the English language:

Fro spot | my spyryt | ther sprang | in space,
My bo | dy on balk | e ther bod | sweven,
My gost | e is gon | in God | es grace,
In a | ventur | e ther mer | vayles meven.

Also see from The Awyntyrs (Adventures) of Arthur:

Mone | makeles | of mighte,
Here co | mes one er | rant knighte,
Do him | reson | e and righte
For thi | manhead.

Bollingen Prize - This prize ws originallyawarded anually for achievement in poetry. It was administered through the Library of Congress with the Paul Mellon Funds. The firstaward wasgiven to Ezra Pound for his The Pisan Cantos.

Complications arose because the poet was under indictment for anti-Semitic and pro-fascist broadcasts. In 1949 a congressional committee required the Library of Congress to disassociate itself from the prize and the funds were transferred to Yale University, the present administrators. The award is for the best volume of poetry composed in a lifetime. In 1963 the amount of the award was increased to $5,000 and expanded to translations. Beginning in 1968 it has been given every other year. It is currently funded in perpetuity by the Mellon Foundation and administered by Yale University. The name was the choice of Paul Mellon who wished to acknowledge the psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Bollingen, Switzerland was Doctor Jung's summer home.

Some notable winners are: e e cummings, Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, Robert Penn Warren, and William Carlos Williams.

bottled moonshine – The term was first characterized in literature by Johnathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels meaning an appearance without substance, something unsubstantial or unreal, foolish, visionary talk, ideas, plans; a utopia. In Swift’s Travels the last is the utopian land of Houyhnhnms, where friendship and benevolence reign and an equality is achieved where no two members are “any closer to each other than to anybody else”. The actual concoction was described as:

“had been eight years upon a project of extracting sunbeams our of cucumbers, which were to be put into phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers.”

The term was picked up in the September, 1773 Spectator “As for all this talk about Federalism; it is moonshine. It means nothing practical at all.” There is also Coleridge’s failed Pantisocracy. And DeQuincy’s comments from Reminiscences of a Poet: “Coleridge’s entire statement upon the subject is perfect moonshine.” About that same time the movement Fourierism, founded by the Frenchman Francois Fourier, was so labeled as every attempt failed.

bouts-rimes - A French word meaning "rhymed endings." A parlor game which was popular among literary circles in the late 17th early 18th century. Frequently attributed to a Frenchman with a single name "Dulot" only through evidence based on an extended satirical poem in 1654 by Jean-Francois Sarasin, entitled "La defaite des bouts-rimes." Whether Dulot was a poet is still in question. The game is played by drawing up a list of words that rhyme with one another. The list is given to the participants to create a poem of the rhymed words. There were two directives: words must be kept in their place on the list and the verse must make sense. Bouts-rimes lay in disuse until the 19th century when Alexandre Dumas père invited French poets and versifiers to try their skill with given sets of rhymes. He published the results in 1865. The Academy of Toulouse held annual contests during the reign of Louis XIV of France using words to extol the King's achievements in sonnet form. The winner was awarded a medal. See a portion of Commire's winning sonnet:

Tout est grand dans le Roi, l'Aspect seul de son buste
Rend nos fiers Ennemis plus froids que des Glacons :
Et Guillaume n'attend que le Tems des Moissons,
Pour se voir Soccomber sous un bras si robuste.
Qu'on ne nous vante plus les Miracles d'Auguste;
Louis de bien regnir lui feroit des Lecons:
Horace en vain l'egale aux Dieux dans ses Chansons.
Moins que mon Heros il etoit sage et juste, etc.

There are numerous examples from the Rossettis. In the memoirs of William Rossetti he mentions that he and his broter practised writing timed sonnets in bouts-rimes. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82) and his brother William tested their ingenuity and improved their rhyming facility by filling in verses from bouts-rimés. Most of William's poems published in the Pre-Raphaelite magazine The Germ were bouts-rimés experiments. Most famous is this sonnet by Christina:

Methinks the ills of life I fain would shun;
But then I must shun life, which is a blank.
Even in my childhood oft my spirit sank,
Thinking of all that had still to be done.
Among my many friends there is not one
Like her with whom I sat upon the bank
Willow-o'ershadowed, from whose lips I drank
A love more pure than streams that sing and run.
But many times that joy has cost a sigh;
And many times I in my heart have sought
For the old comfort and not found it yet.
Surely in that calm day when I shall die
The painful thought will be a blessed thought
And I shall sorrow that I must forget.

John Keats Petrarchan sonnet On the Grasshopper and Cricket (1816) was written in a bouts-rimés competition with his friend Leigh Hunt:

The poetry of earth is never dead:
   When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
   And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's--he takes the lead
   In summer luxury,--he has never done
   With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
   On a lone winter evening, when the frost
   Has wrought silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
   And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
   The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

Today we find a variation of bouts-rimes in classrooms where an opening sentence is given and passed from student to student with the challenge to add a rhyming phrase or sentence.

boyisms - Trivialities or sillies in thought and words. First appearance in Dryden’s Chaucer as a Poet from Preface to Fables Ancient and Modern.

“Chaucer makes Arcite violent in his Love, and unjust in the Pursuit of it: Yet when he came to die, he made him think more reasonably: He repents not of his Love, for that had altered his Character; but acknowledges the Injustice of his Proceedings, and resigns Emilia to Palamon. What would Ovid have done on this Occasion? He would certainly have made Arcite witty on his Death-bed. He had complained he was farther off from Possession, by being so near, and a thousand such Boyisms, which Chaucer rejected as below the Dignity of the Subject.”

Brahmins - Several poets of the 19th century from New England country and based in Boston. Most were educated in Europe and were from the upper class. They followed democratic ideals, were conservative in style, dedicated to the work ethic and personal responsibility. As humanists, they were optimistic, focused on doing good and contributing to a better world. The nature of the Brahmins is summarized in thus doggerel:

And this is good old Boston,
The home of the bean and the cod,
Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots,
And the Cabots talk only to God."

They dominated the literary era of the American Renaissance and the Transcendental movement until the 1890's. Their membership
included: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau, James Russell Lowell, Walt Whitman, outside the circle but highly influential was Edgar Allan Poe.

breu-doble - French meaning double-short. Invented by Guiraut Riquier, one of the last of the troubacours (1230-1300). A curious little form on three rhymes, two of which are repeated twice in three four-lined stanzas and given once in a concluding couplet, while the third finishes each quatrain. Riquier is the only user of this form as he explains it in speaking of the cruelty of his lady "As she will not accept my canzos at their worth, I write thie breu-doble." The meaning is puzzling. Some scholars, particularly Raynouard, take the literal meaning explaining the characteristic shortness of the poem. However, this ignores the "doble." Another more rigorous meaning references the last verse of each stanza: short and different in rhyme. Thus the last verse of each stanza although not exactly half the length, is at least shorter than the remaining lines. Also see retroenza, a Portuguese dance song.

burlesque - Before television burlesque performances took place in the music halls of European and American cities and were the principal sources of entertainment. In literature a burlesque eddies around a character or characters, fictional or real-life. The operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan particularly H.M.S. Pinafore:

“In serving writs I made such a name
That an articled clerk I soon became;
I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit
For the Pass Examination at the Institute.
...
Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into partnership,
And that junior partnership I ween,
Was the only ship that I ever had seen:
but that kind of ship so suited me,
That now I am the Ruler of Queen’s Navee!”

Most famous of early English burlesques is John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Written in 1728 this three act opera the characters are thieves and prostitutes of 18th century London and the public officials under King George who first as they extol the work of highwaymen and then send them to the hangman. In 1928 German writers Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill based their Three Penny Opera on this same theme.

There is “high burlesque” and “low burlesque” High burlesque is “serious treatment of the trivial” while low burlesque is “tivial treatment of the serious.” Hudibrastic is frequently given for low burlesque after Samuel Butler’s Hudibras, a poem in octo-syllabic couplets that ridicules the adventures of a Presbyterian knight and his squire, Ralpho, in an attempt to mimic the Spanish Cervantes’ Don Quixote.

Around the late 17th century England was still in the period of militant Puritanism, (effects of Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth) where “fanatacism, pretentiousness, pedantry, and hypocrisy” reigned. Taking a step-up from the complaint, the burlesque or burlesque epic became one of the characteristic literary forms of that century. Don’t confuse burlesque with the mock epic. The word “burlesque” is derived from Italian “burlesco” meaning a joke, or prank. However it’s a bit more baudy and risque, and today would probably be X-rated. This is an important distinction between the two terms. Thus in the “mock epic” a trivial incident is clothed in all the pomp and circumstance of epic style according to Boileau “in the burlesque Dido and Aeneas talk like a fish-wife and a porter, in the mock-epic a clock-maker’s wife and clock-maker talk like Dido and Aeneas.”

In France there was Paul Scarron (1610-1660); in England it was Samuel Butler (1612-1680) in the octo-syllabic burlesque poem Hudibras, of rebellion, nonsense, and hypocrisy. Hudibras, along with his traveling companion Ralpho, is an ignorant, cowardly, pig-headed, humpbacked, potbellied, yellow-haired knight riding an aged, overworked nag, falling out of his saddle upon a startled bear, and mauled by a shrew. Hudibras goes about the countryside enforcing laws that suppress enjoyments. Sound like Don Quixote? All nurtured by the restoration of King Charles II where “those who were at the helm, were more minding money more than merit.” That is the content but what of the poem. Recalled most are the comic similes.

“Like a lobster boiled, the morn
From black to red began to turn”

“For breaking of an oath and lying
Is but a kind of self-denying
A saint-like virtue; and from hence
Some have broke oaths by Providence.”

Here are some lines from Part I, Hudibras and the Presbyterians:

...He was in logic a great critic,
Profoundly skilled in analytic:
He could distinguish and divide
A hair ‘twixt south and south-west side.
On either which he would dispute,
Confute, change hands, and still confute:
He’d undertake to prove, by force
Of argument, a man’s no horse;
He’d prove a buzzard is no fowl,
And that a lord may be an owl,
And rooks committee-men and trustees,
He’d run in debt by disputation,
And pay with ratiocination.
All this by syllogism, true
In mood and figure, he would do...

However bawdy or risque. the burlesque made a strong entry into all forms of French and English writing in the late 17th century and early 18th century. It reached its peak in the neo-classical period. There several notable burlesques.
In the 14th century there was Chaucers medieval romance "The Tale of Sir Thopas". In this episode from Canterbury Tales the pilgrim is some pious, retiring dolt who attempts to tell a story of "knighthood-in-the-flowers" and becomes so inept at it that he is stopped mid tale "for Goddes dignitee" having given the listener an earache; "the filthy tale itself is nat worth a toord!"

What old MENALCAS at his Feast reveal'd
I sing, strange Feats of ancient Prowess, Deeds
Of high Renown, while all his listening Guests
With eager Joy receiv'd the pleasing Tale.

O Thou! who late on VAGA'S flowery Banks
Slumbering secure, with Stirom well bedewed,
Fallacious Cask, in sacred Dreams wert taught
By ancient SEERS, and MERLIN Prophet old,
To raise ignoble Themes with Strains sublime,
Be thou my Guide! while I thy Tract pursue
With Wing unequal, thro' the wide Expanse
Advent'rous Range, and emulate thy Flights.

In that rich Vale, where with Dobunian Fields
Cornavian Borders meet, far fam'd of old
For MONTFORT'S hapless Fate undaunted Earl;
Where from her fruitful Urn AVONA pours
Her kindly Torrent on the thirsty Glebe,
And pillages the Hills t' enrich the Plains;
On whose luxuriant Banks, Flow'rs of all Hues
Start up Spontaneous; and the teeming Soil
With hasty Shoots prevents its Owner's Pray'r;
The pamper'd wanton Steer, of the sharp Ax
Regardless, that o'er his devoted Head
Hangs menacing, crops his delicious Bane,
Nor knows the Price is Life, with envious Eye
His lab'ring Yoke-fellow beholds his Plight,
And deems him blest, while on his languid Neck
In solemn Sloth he tugs the lingring Plough.
So blind are Mortals, of each others State
Misjudging, self-deceiv'd. Here as Supreme
Stern HOBBINOL in rural Plenty reigns
O'er wide-extended Fields, his large Domain.
Th' obsequious Villages, with Look submiss
Observant of his Eye, or when with Seed
T' impregnate Earth's fat Womb, or when to bring
With clam'rous Joy the bearded Harvest home.
Here, when the distant Sun lengthens the Nights,
When the keen Frosts the shiv'ring Farmer warn
To broach his mellow Cask, and frequent Blasts
Instruct the crackling Billets how to blaze,
In his warm Wicker-Chair, whose pliant Twigs
In close Embraces joyn'd, with spacious Arch
Vault the thick-woven Roof, the bloated Churl
Loiters in State, each Arm reclin'd is prop'd
With yielding Pillows of the softest Down.
In Mind compos'd, from short coeval Tube
He sucks the Vapours bland, thick curling Clouds
Of Smoak around his reeking Temples play;
Joyous he sits, and impotent of Thought
Puffs away Care, and Sorrow from his Heart.
How vain the Pomp of Kings! look down, ye Great,
And view with envious Eye the downy Nest
Unbrib'd by Wealth, and unrestrain'd by Pow'r.
One Son alone had bless'd his bridal Bed,
Whom good CALISTA bore, nor long surviv'd
To share a Mother's Joy, but left the Babe
To his paternal Care. An Orphan Niece
Near the same Time his dying Brother sent,
To claim his kind Support: The helpless Pair
In the same Cradle slept, nurs'd up with Care
By the same tender Hand, on the same Breasts
Alternate hung with Joy; 'till Reason dawn'd,
And a new Light broke out by slow Degrees;
Then on the Floor the pretty Wantons play'd,
Gladding the Farmer's Heart, with growing Hopes,
And Pleasures erst unfelt. When e'er with Cares
Oppress'd, when wearied, or alone he doz'd,
Their harmless Prattle sooth'd his troubled Soul.
Say, HOBBINOL, what Extasies of Joy
Trill'd thro' thy Veins, when climbing for a Kiss
With little Palms they strok'd thy grizly Beard,
Or round thy Wicker whirl'd their ratt'ling Cars?
Thus from their earliest Days bred up, and train'd,
To mutual Fondness, with their Stature grew
The thriving Passion. What Love can decay
That roots so deep! Now rip'ning Manhood curl'd
On the gay striplings Chin; her panting Breasts,
And trembling Blushes glowing on her Cheeks
Her secret Wish betray'd: She at each Mart
All Eyes attracted; but her faithful Shade,
Young HOBBINOL, ne'er wander'd from her Side.
A Frown from him dash'd ev'ry Rival's Hopes.
For he, like PELEUS Son, was prone to Rage,
Inexorable, swift like him of Foot
With Ease cou'd overtake his dastard Foe,
Nor spar'd the suppliant Wretch. And now approach'd
Those merry Days, when all the Nymphs and Swains,
In solemn Festivals and rural
Sports,Pay their glad Homage to the blooming Spring.
Young HOBBINOL by joynt Consent is rais'd
T' imperial Dignity, and in his Hand
Bright GANDERETTA tripp'd, the jovial Queen
Of MAIA'S gaudy Month, profuse of Flow'rs.
From each enamel'd Mead th' attendant Nymphs
Loaded with od'rous Spoils, from these select
Each Flow'r of gorgeous Die, and Garlands weave
Of party-colour'd Sweets; each busy Hand
Adorns the jocund Queen: In her loose Hair,
That to the Winds in Wanton Ringlets plays,
The tufted Cowslips breath their faint Perfumes.
On her refulgent Brow, as Crystal clear,
As Parian Marble smooth, Narcissus hangs
His drooping Head, and views his Image there,
Unhappy Flow'r! Pansies of various hue,
Iris, and Hyacinth, and Asphodel,
To deck the Nymph, their richliest Liv'ries wear,
And lavish all their Pride. Not FLORA'S self
More lovely smiles, when to the dawning Year
Her op'ning Bosom heav'nly Fragrance breaths.

See on yon verdant Lawn, the gath'ring Crowd
Thickens amain; the buxom Nymphs advance
Usher'd by jolly Clowns; Distinctions cease
Lost in the common Joy, and the bold Slave
Leans on his wealthy Master, unreprov'd:
The Sick no Pain can feel, no Wants the Poor.
Round his fond Mother's Neck the smiling Babe
Exulting clings; hard by, decrepit Age
Prop'd on his Staff, with anxious Thought revolves
His Pleasures past, and casts his grave Remarks
Among the heedless Throng. The vig'rous Youth
Strips for the Combat, hopeful to subdue
The Fair one's long Disdain, by Valour now
Glad to convince her coy erroneous Heart,
And prove his Merit equal to her Charms.
Soft Pity pleads his Cause; blushing she views
His brawny Limbs, and his undaunted Eye,
That looks a proud Defiance on his Foes.
Resolv'd, and obstinately firm he stands,
Danger, nor Death he fears; while the rich Prize
Is Victory and Love. On the large Bough
Of a thick-spreading Elm TWANGDILLO sits:
One Leg on Ister's Banks the hardy Swain
Left undismay'd, Bellona's Light'ning scorch'd
His manly Visage, but in Pity left One Eye secure.
He many a painful Bruise
Intrepid felt, and many a gaping Wound,
For brown Kate's Sake, and for his Country's Weal.
Yet still the merry Bard without Regret
Bears his own Ills, and with his sounding
Shell,And comic Phyz, relieves his drooping Friends.
Hark, from aloft his tortur'd Cat-gut squeals,
He tickles ev'ry String, to ev'ry Note
He bends his pliant Neck, his single Eye
Twinkles with Joy, his active Stump beats Time.
Let but this subtle Artist softly touch
The trembling Chords, the faint expiring Swain
Trembles no less, and the fond yielding Maid
Is tweedled into Love. See with what Pomp
The gaudy Bands advance in trim Array!
Love beats in ev'ry Vein, from ev'ry Eye
Darts his contagious Flames. They frisk, they bound:
Now to brisk Airs, and to the speaking Strings
Attentive, in Mid-way the Sexes meet;
Joyous their adverse Fronts they close, and press
To strict Embrace, as resolute to force
And storm a Passage to each others Heart:
'Till by the varying Notes forewarn'd, back they
Recoil disparted: Each with longing Eyes
Pursues his Mate retiring, 'till again
The blended Sexes mix; then Hand in Hand
Fast lock'd, around they fly, or nimbly wheel
In Mazes intricate. The jocund Troop
Pleas'd with their grateful Toil, incessant shake
Their uncouth brawny Limbs, and knock their Heels
Sonorous; down each Brow the trickling Balm
In Torrents flows, exhaling Sweets refresh
The gazing Croud, and heav'nly Fragrance fills
The Circuit wide. So danc'd in Days of Yore,
When ORPHEUS play'd a Lesson to the Brutes,
The list'ning Savages; the speckled Pard
Dandled the Kid, and with the bounding Roe
The Lion gambol'd. But what heavn'ly Muse
With equal Lays shall GANDERETTA sing,
When Goddess-like, she skims the verdant Plain
Gracefully gliding? Ev'ry ravish'd Eye
The Nymph attracts, and ev'ry Heart she wounds,
Thee most, transported HOBBINOL! Lo, now,
Now to thy op'ning Arms she skuds along,
With yielding Blushes glowing on her Cheeks,
And Eyes that sweetly languish; but too soon,
Too soon, alas! she flies thy vain Embrace,
But flies to be pursu'd; nimbly she trips,
And darts a Glance so tender, as she turns,
That with new Hopes reliev'd, thy Joys revive,
Thy Stature's rais'd, and thou art more than Man.
Thy stately Port, and more majestic Air,
And ev'ry sprightly Motion speaks thy Love.

Forthwith in hoary Majesty appears
One of gigantic Size, but Visage wan,
MILONIDES the Strong, renown'd of old
For Feats of Arms, but, bending now with Years,
His Trunk unwieldy from the verdant Turf
He rears deliberate, and with his Plant
Of toughest Virgin Oak in rising aids
His trembling Limbs; his bald and wrinkled Front,
Entrench'd with many a glorious Scar, bespeaks
Submissive Rev'rence. He with Count'nance grim
Boasts his past Deeds, and with redoubled Strokes
Marshalls the Croud, and forms the Circle wide.
Stern Arbiter! like some huge Rock he stands,
That breaks th' incumbent Waves; they thronging press
In Troops confus'd, and rear their foaming Heads
Each above each, but from superior Force
Shrinking repell'd, compose of stateliest liquid Theatre.
With Hands uplift, And Voice Stentorian, he proclaims aloud
Each rural Prize. "To him whose active Foot
Foils his bold Foe, and rivets him to Earth,
This Pair of Gloves, by curious Virgin Hands
Embroider'd, seam'd with Silk, and fring'd with Gold.
To him, who best the stubborn Hilts can wield,
And bloody Marks of his Displeasure leave
On his Opponent's Head, this Beaver white
With Silver Edging grac'd, and Scarlet Plume.
Ye taper Maidens! whose impetuous Speed
Outflies the Roe, nor bends the tender Grass,
See here this Prize, this rich lac'd Smock behold,
White as your Bosom, as your Kisses soft.
Blest Nymph! whom bounteous
Heav'n's peculiar Grace
Allots this pompous Vest, and worthy deems
To win a Virgin, and to wear a Bride.
"The Gifts refulgent dazle all the Croud,
In speechless Admiration fix'd, unmov'd
Ev'n he, who now each glorious Palm displays,
In sullen Silence views his batter'd Limbs,
And sighs his Vigour spent. Not so appall'd
Young PASTOREL, for active Strength renown'd:
Him Ida bore a Mountain Shepherdess;
On the bleak Woald the new-born Infant lay,
Expos'd to Winter Snows, and Northern Blasts
Severe. As Heroes old, whom from great Jove
Derive their proud Descent, so might he boast
His Line paternal: But be thou, my Muse!
No leaky Blab, nor painful Umbrage give
To wealth Squire, nor doughty Knight, or Peer
Of high Degree. Him ev'ry shouting Ring
In Triumph crown'd, him ev'ry Champion fear'd,
From Kiftsgate to remotest Henbury.
High in the midst the brawny Wrestler stands,
A stately tow'ring Object; the tough Belt
Measures his ample Breast, and shades around
His Shoulders broad; proudly secure he kens
The tempting Prize, in his presumptuous Thought
Already gain'd; with partial Look the Croud
Approve his Claim; but HOBBINOL enrag'd
To see th' important Gifts so cheaply won,
And uncontested Honours tamely lost,
With lowly Rev'rence thus accosts his Queen.
"Fair Goddess! be propitious to my Vows;
Smile on thy Slave, nor HERCULES himself
Shall rob us of this Palm: That Boaster vain
Far other Port shall learn." She with a Look
That pierc'd his inmost Soul, smiling applauds
His gen'rous Ardour, with aspiring Hope
Distends his Breast, and stirs the Man within.
Yet much, alas! she fears, for much she loves.
So from her Arms the Paphian Queen dismiss'd
The Warriour God, on glorious Slaughter bent,
Provok'd his Rage, and with her Eyes inflam'd
Her haughty Paramour. Swift as the Winds
Dispel the fleeting Mists, at once he strips
His Royal Robes; and with a Frown, that chill'd
The Blood of the proud Youth, active he bounds
High o'er the Heads of Multitudes reclin'd:
But as beseem'd one, whose plain honest Heart,
Nor Passion foul, nor Malice dark as Hell,
But Honour pure, and Love divine had fir'd.
His Hand presenting, on his sturdy Foe
Disdainfully he smiles; then quick as Thought,
With his Left-hand the Belt, and with his Right
His Shoulder seiz'd fast-gripping; his right Foot
Essay'd the Champion's Strength, but firm he stood,
Fix'd as a Mountain-Ash, and in his Turn
Repaid the bold Affront; his horny FistFast
on his Back he clos'd, and shook in Air
The cumb'rous Load. Nor Rest, nor Pause allow'd,
Their watchful Eyes instruct their busy Feet;
They pant, they heave, each Nerve, each Sinew's strain'd.
Grasping they close, beneath each painful Gripe
The livid Tumours rise, in briny Streams
The Sweat distills, and from their batter'd Shins
The clotted Gore disdains the beaten Ground.
Each Swain his Wish, each trembling Nymph conceals
Her secret Dread; while ev'ry panting Breast
Alternate Fears, and Hopes, depress or raise.
Thus long in dubious Scale the Contest hung,
'Till PASTOREL impatient of Delay,
Collecting all his Force, a furious Stroke
At his left Ancle aim'd; 'twas Death to fall,
To stand impossible. O GANDERETTA
What Horrors seize thy Soul! On thy pale Cheeks
The Roses fade. But wav'ring long in Air,
Nor firm on Foot, nor as yet wholly fall'n,
On his Right Knee he slip'd, and nimbly scap'd
The foul Disgrace. Thus on the slacken'd Rope
The wingy-footed Artist, frail Support!
Stands tott'ring; now in dreadful Shrieks the Crowd
Lament his sudden Fate, and yield him lost:
He on his Hams, or on his brawny Rump
Sliding secure, derides their vain Distress.
Upstarts the vig'rous HOBB'NOL undismay'd,
From Mother-Earth like old ANTAEUS rais'd,
With might redoubled. Clamour and Applause
Shake all the neighb'ring Hills, Avona's Banks
Return him loud Acclaim: With ardent Eyes
Fierce as a Tyger rushing from his Lair,
He grasp'd the Wrist of his insulting Foe.
Then with quick Wheel oblique, his Shoulder
PointBeneath his Breast his fix'd, and whirl'd aloft
High o'er his Head the sprawling Youth he flung:
The hollow Ground rebellow'd as he fell.
The Croud press forward with tumultuous Din;
Those to relieve their faint expiring Friend,
With Gratulations these. Hands, Tongues, and Caps,
Outragious Joy proclaim, shrill Fiddles squeak,
Hoarse Bagpipes roar, and GANDERETTA smiles.

There is Jonathan Swift, our greatest English satirist, although he preferred “humorist” and certainly master of the caricature distorts the physical size of various characters in Gulliver’s Travels to emphasize their absurdity. Thus in To a Lady:

“Bastings heavy, dry, obtuse,
Only dulness can produce;
While a littel gentle jreking
Sets the spirits all a-working.

With the growth of religion in the Church, especially during the Renaissance, the burlesque in blank verse is eclipsed, but satire remains. Harte’s 1730 Essay on Satire made a clear distinction between the burlesque and satire. Here are some lines from that Essay:

As Cynthia’s orb excels the gems of night
So epic satire shines, distinctly bright.

...Since in mock-epic none succeeds but he,
Who tastes the whole of epic poesy.
...As unities in epic works appear,
So must they shine in full distinction here.

Then about “burlesque” he writes:

We grant that Butler ravishes the heart,
As Shakespeare soared beyond the reach of art;
...What burlesque could, was by that genius done;
Yet faults it has, impossible to shun...
The unchanging strain for want of grandeur cloys,
And gives too oft the horse-laugh mirth of boys:
The short-legged verse, and double-jingling sound,
So quick surpise us, that our heads run round.

His argument is based on the date of the last known burlesque i.e. 1789 at the beginning of the Romantic Period. The satire will continue into the modern age.

BURLESQUES SATIRE Mock Epics

Penelope and Ulysses Smith, Sydney 1658
Hudibras Part one Butler, Samuel 1658
Hudibras Part two Butler, Samuel 1664
Scarronides Cotton, Charles 1664
Homer a la mode Scudamore, from Faerie Queen
"Shield of Love" 1664


Typhoon 1665 Phillips, Ambroise
Maronides 1672 Phillips, Ambroise
Ovid Travestie Anon. 1673


Butler's Ghost D'Urfey, Tom 1682


Walk Through London & Westminister D'Urfey, T 1690


Pendragon D'Urfey


Vulcus Brittanicus Ward, Edward 1710
The Republican Procession Ward, Edward 1714


The Knight Meston, ? 1723
Durgen Ward, Edward 1729
Joe Millar's Jests Mottley, John 1739

Le Lutrin-1st Canto Oldham, John 1678
Dryden Flecknoe, Mac 1682
City Mouse and the Country Mouse Prior, Matthew 1687
Daeneids Crowne, John 1692


The Dispensary Garth, Samuel 1699
The Farmetary King, Henry? 1699
A Poem upon Tea Tate, Nahum 1700
Homer In a Nutshell Parker, ?
Farnscomb Barn Winchilsea, Ann 1701
Rape of the Lock Pope, Alexander 1713
The Petticoat Breval, 1716
The Irish Fortune-Hunter Breval 1717
Apple Pye King, Henry? 1717
Battle of Frogs and Mice Parnell, Thomas 1717


Rubbinol Sommerville 1740


Harlequin Horace 1741 Miller,Joaquin
Schoolmistress 1742 Shenstone, Wm. (1714-1763)
Arachne Hawkesworth, John (1715-1773)
The Gymnisiad Whitehead, Wm. (1715-1785)
Panegyric on Oxford Ale Warton, Thomas (1728-1790)


The Scribleriad 1751 Cambridge, Richard (1717-1802


The Hiliad 1753 Smart, Christopher (1722-1771)
Battle of Pyggies and Cranes 1762 Beattie, James (1735-1803)
Battle of the Wigs 1768 Thornton, ?
The Consulted 1770 Chatterton, Thomas (1752-1770)


Triumphs of Temper 1761 Hayley Wm. (1745-1820)


The Lousiad 1786 Wolcot, John ((Peter Pindar) (1738-1819)
The Hasty Pudding 1796 Barlow, Joel (1754-1812)
400 Cantos on Corn Meal Mush.

The burlesques ended with Mottley’s Joe Millar's Jests. Satires, both Horatian and Juvenalian continue to be written. (The table is adapted from F. Clark, 1925)


A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


Appendix