minstrel: Tom O'Bedlam

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Sun Feb 9 09:32:36 PST 1997

On Fri, 7 Feb 1997, Heather Rose Jones wrote:
> > Does anyone else feel this way?  Tangwystl, can you document the meter?
> As I note above, late-period English meters aren't my strong point. With
> the exception of the line-internal rhyme in the third line, it's a basic
> ballad meter. If you take the ballad meter as:
> 	- four lines
> 	- 2 & 4 obligatorily rhyme; 1 & 3 _may_ rhyme
> 	- 1 & 3 have four main stresses
> 	- 2 & 4 may have either three or four main stresses
> 	- may have chorus or refrain of other meter
> Then there are copious examples of this type of lyric in Middle English

Actually, whern you are referring to late period (16th cent.) English
balladry, you aren't referring to any specific meter.  In the preceding
centuries, a "ballad" was a verse form with a very specific meter.  And, I
suppose, as late as the 16th century a ballad may have had specific meter
in certain courtly circles.  But by and large , by this time the word
"ballad" meant (to the majority of the public) a song, usually a low-brow
sort of song.  The kind of thing that "sophisticated society" in the 16ht
cent. would have scoffed at, but the public liked enough to purchase
readily on broadsides.  No specific meter was used by this time.

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