Week Forty-Two: English Madrigal

The English Madrigal is one of many varieties of the Italian madrigal, an early lyric form that began as a pastoral song. Medieval author and poet Geoffrey Chaucer (The Cantebury Tales) defined the rules of the madrigal in English, which include a number of formal requirements, including meter, end rhyme, and several repeated refrains. Some of the best-regarded English language madrigals are those of Scottish poet William Drummond, who wrote eighty madrigals in his collection Poems (1616).

Key Features of the English Madrigal

Content: Often includes a theme of love

Form: A thirteen-line form in three stanzas:
Stanza 1] Three lines
Stanza 2] Four lines
Stanza 3] Six lines

Rhyme and Refrain: See example below

Meter: Often written in iambic pentameter

Example

An English Madrigal, by author

[L1] A (refrain 1)
[L2] B1 (refrain 2)
[L3] B2 (refrain 3)

[L4] a
[L5] b
[L6] A (refrain 1)
[L7] B1 (refrain 2)

[L8] a
[L9] b
[L10] b
[L11] A (refrain 1)
[L12] B1 (refrain 2)
[L13] B2 (refrain 3)

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An Original English Madrigal

Staying

For now, we are content to stay inside.
The troubles of the world will wax and wane,
But as each season ends, our love remains.

Sometimes the storms of early May will hide
the sun and send a sudden rush of rain.
For now, we are content to stay inside.
The troubles of the world will wax and wane.

Although we’ve had to set some plans aside,
The garden will be waiting and will gain
As all of life will strengthen by our pains.
For now, we are content to stay inside.
The troubles of the world will wax and wane,
But as each season ends, our love remains.

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Want to Learn More? Start Here:

Madrigal – Writer’s Digest
Madrigal (Poetry) – Wikipedia
English Madrigal – Poet’s Collective

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Come back every Friday for a new form!

~ Creative works are owned by the author and subject to copyright laws ~

Write your own English Madrigal and share in the comments!

One thought on “Week Forty-Two: English Madrigal

  1. Pingback: Staying – Adam Astra

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