Greek and Latin metrical foot consisting of short, long, and long syllables / ~ ' ' /.
A popular song, often recited aloud, narrating a story, and passed down orally. Over 300 traditional English ballads, in up to 25 versions each, were edited as the so-called "Child ballads" (named after the editor, F. J. Child) 1882-98. Examples of the form include "Sir Patrick Spence," "Twa Sisters o' Binnorie," "The Three Ravens," "The Lyrical Ballads" by William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, and "La Belle Dame sans Merci" by John Keats. See also Broadside ballads.
Poem with three seven-, eight-, or ten-line stanzas and refrain. Respectively, these have the rhyme schemes and envoys ababbcC bcbC (cf. Chaucer's "Ballade of Good Counsel"), ababbcbC bcbC (Dorothy Parker's "Ballade at Thirty-five"), and ababbccdcD ccdccD (cf. Swinburne's "A Ballad of François Villon"). The refrains appear at the end of each stanza and of the concluding envoy. Other examples are Chaucer's "To Rosemounde" (which lacks an envoy), Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "Ballad of Dead Ladies," Algernon Charles Swinburne's A Ballad of Burdens," William Ernest Henley's "Ballade of Dead Actors," and Austin Dobson's seven-line-stanza "Ballad of Imitation."
- Ballad stanza
Quatrain rhyming abcb and alternating four-stress and three-stress lines.
Originally a Celtic name for a poet-singer.
Alexander Pope's Peri-Bathous, or the Art of Sinking in Poetry (1728) describes bathos as a poet's fall, in a work of some seriousness, into an unintentionally comic pathos.
- Beat poets
A San Francisco-based group of counter-culture poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Kenneth Rexroth.
- Black Mountain Poets
Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and Robert Duncan, all associated with Black Mountain College, North Carolina, and all promoting a non-traditional poetics.
- Blank verse
Unrhyming iambic pentameter, also called heroic verse, a ten-syllable line and the usual rhythm of English dramatic and epic poetry from its introduction by Henry Howard, earl of Surrey, in his translation of Books II and IV of Virgil's Certain Books of Virgil's Æneis. Shakespeare's Hamlet II.2.339: "The Lady shall say her minde freely; or the blanke Verse shall halt for't." Poems such as John Milton's Paradise Lost, Robert Browning's dramatic monologues, and
Oral black American folk or popular melancholic songs of the early twentieth century.
A one-foot line in certain stanzaic forms of medieval alliterative poetry, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Hyperbolic or wildly exaggerating speech, so-called after a kind of cotton stuffing.
- Bouts rimés
A French name, meaning "rhymed ends," for a popular 18th-century game where poems had to be built around previously selected rhymes. See John Addison's essay no. 60 in the Spectator.
- Bretan lay
Brief narrative poems about Arthurian subjects. E.g., Chaucer's Franklin's Tale.
- Broadside ballads
Poems printed on one side of a single sheet during the Renaissance period.
- Broken rhyme
Sir Thomas Elyot's Latin-English dictionary (1538) explains "Bucolicum carmen, a poeme made of herdmen." See also. Eclogue, Idyll, and Pastoral.
The choric line or lines that signal the end or the beginning of a stanza in a carol or hymn.
A work caricaturing another serious work. An example is Samuel Butler's Hudibras.
- Burns stanza or meter
Six-line stanza with the rhyme scheme aaabab (where a is a tetrameter line, and b is a dimeter line).