The ballade is a verse form typically consisting of three eight-line stanzas, each with a consistent metre and a particular rhyme scheme. The last line in the stanza is a refrain, and a four-line concluding stanza (an envoi) usually addressed to a prince (in lieu of a prince, for whom ever the inspiration for the poem may come)  follows the stanzas. (The ballade should not be confused with the ballad.) The rhyme scheme is therefore usually ‘ababbcbC ababbcbC ababbcbC bcbC’, where the capital ‘C’ is a refrain.

There are many variations to the ballade, and it is in many ways similar to the ode and chant royal. There are instances of a double ballade and double-refrain ballade. Some ballades have five stanzas; a ballade supreme has ten-line stanzas rhyming ababbccdcD, with the envoi ccdcD or ccdccD. A seven-line ballade, or ballade royal, consists of four stanzas of rhyme royal, all using the same three rhymes, all ending in a refrain, without an envoi.



He fell deeply in love at first glance,
a woman with eyes like jade moons
that smoldered, saying let’s take a chance.
She floated in amber and jasmine perfume.
Bewitched, he yearned to consume
her, although he knew he was not free.
Obsessed, he quickly pursued her.
Lust burns at high degrees

He lived for those stolen moments,
without her, a painting unfinished.
In his head, a voice cried, atonement,
but his passion did not diminish.
A year passed. He was feeling skittish
as they spoke only of ‘we.’
Thoughts of divorce made him wince.
Lust burns at high degrees

She pressed him to devise a plan
that allowed them to live together.
As doubts mounted, he began
to feel like a lesser man.
Nerves pushed him to end of his tether.
Under pressure, he could not leave.
Ten years later, he wonders whether . . .
Lust burns at high degrees

© Sara McNulty – 2016



In contemplation, sat she did,
to think of futures yet unknown,
despite the sad farewells she’ll bid,
and “braverisms” that she’s shown.
Her daughters, yes, are fully grown
to carry on her beauty bright,
And so to right the love I’ve shown,
I’ll stand beside her in her fight.

Lament the battered heart and head,
such maladies should not be hers.
I’d take them on myself instead
to suffer all that it incurs.
So as for now if it gets worse
I’ll keep my precious well in sight,
and pray that nothing more occurs,
I’ll stand beside her in her fight.

My sad intent comes at a price
through indiscretions wrought, it seems.
Forgiveness given must suffice,
as life dismantles all our dreams.
Yet through it all, her smile still beams,
a beacon through this dreary night,
emotions flow from both extremes,
I’ll stand beside her in her fight.

My princess, queen – my love so true,
I’ll hold you close with all my might,
and give you all that you are due,
I’ll stand beside you in your fight.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016