M for Madrigal


The Madrigal originated as an Italian form. It was also a form of music (Read here). The Italian Madrigals have a wide set of complex rules and even in those rules there’s so much variability that it is hard to define the elements and the structure of a Madrigal in just a few points.

So we should probably move on to the English-version of the Madrigal which was developed by Geoffrey Chaucer. (There is another form of Madrigal which was developed by Scot Poet William Drummond)

Let’s go over the rules laid out by Chaucer:
1) The poem has three stanzas: a tercet, a quatrain, and a sestet with the following rhyme pattern- abb abab abbabb.
2) All three of the lines in the opening tercet are refrains. So with the refrains the poem looks like this- 123 xx12 xxx123

Combining rules (1) and (2), we have

Line 1: A
Line 2: B1
Line 3: B2

Line 4: a
Line 5: b
Line 6: A
Line 7: B1

Line 8: a
Line 9: b
Line 10: b
Line 11: A
Line 12: B1
Line 13: B2

Here’s my example poem:

Yet another day as I lay in my bed
Hard to earn a bread, hard to make a wage
I am stranded deep in my own cage

I stare at a screen all day and it hurts my head
Seems like my life has become a blank page
Yet another day gone as I lay in my bed
Hard to earn a bread, hard to make a wage

I clasp onto a smile, but from inside I am dead
All this frustration, all this rage
I wonder why no damn soul was able to gauge
Yet another day gone as I lay in my bed
Hard to earn a bread, hard to make a wage
I am stranded deep in my own cage

2 thoughts on “M for Madrigal

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