- tail-rhyme romances
- A tail-rhyme stanza might take many forms, but most typically it consists of a rhyming pair of long lines followed by a shorter line (the “tail”). The three-line pattern is repeated, with the third lines rhyming, to form a six-line stanza sometimes known as a “romance six.” This stanza might rhyme aabaab or aabccb, with the b-rhyme lines having three stressed syllables and the other lines having four. A stanza might also contain 12 lines, basically combining the romance sixes into a longer stanza rhyming aabaabccbddb, or aabccbddbeeb. The term “tail-rhyme” itself is an English translation of the Latin rythmus caudatus (in French it was called rime couée). Tail-rhyme stanzas were common in a large group of MIDDLE ENGLISH metrical ROMANCES from the 14th and 15th centuries. While some English romances were written in ALLITERATIVE VERSE, and others in rhymed octosyllabic (eightsyllable) couplets, many are tail-rhyme romances. A number of these seem to have been composed or circulated by wandering MINSTRELS, and so may have been intended for an audience of the middle class or the lower gentry, rather than the more courtly audience of a more sophisticated poet like CHAUCER or GOWER. Some of the better-known tail-rhyme romances are SIR ISUMBRAS, BEVIS OF HAMPTON, HORN CHILDE, and GUY OF WARWICK from the early 14th century, the last two found in the famous Auchinleck manuscript, which may once have been in the possession of Chaucer. Late 14th-century tail-rhyme romances include The EARL OF TOULOUSE, LIBEAUS DESCONUS, SIR LAUNFAL, and IPOMADON—the longest of the romances at 8,890 lines. Tail-rhyme romances from the 15th century include The TURKE AND SIR GAWAIN and The WEDDYNG OF SYR GAWEN, both from the northern part of England. Most of these are in 12-line stanzas.The best known tail-rhyme romance in Middle English is Chaucer’s parody of the genre, The TALE OF SIR THOPAS, an unfinished romance in six-line stanzas, some rhyming aabaab and others rhyming aabccb. Chaucer found much to burlesque in the genre, and made particularly effective use of the romance of Guy of Warwick, but he seems to have been familiar with all of the romances from the Auchinleck manuscript and several others as well.At least a few dozen tail-rhyme romances have survived from Middle English, and it has been suggested that there was actually a school of minstrels in 14th-century East Anglia producing tailrhyme romances. In any case, the popularity of these kinds of romances waned after the 15th century, although most modern poets have still made use of varieties of the tail-rhyme stanza, as, for example, Shelley does in his poem “To Night.”Bibliography■ Benson, Larry D., ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1987.■ Trounce, A. McI. “The English Tail-Rhyme Romances,” Medium Aevum 1 (1932), 87–108, 168–82; 2 (1933), 34–57; 3 (1934), 30–50.
Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.
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Ipomadon — (ca. 1390) The title Ipomadon refers most often to an anonymous late 14th century MIDDLE ENGLISH chivalric ROMANCE in 12 line TAIL RHYME stanzas, probably produced originally in the area of northwest Yorkshire. At 8,890 lines Ipomadon is the… … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
Tale of Sir Thopas, The — by Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1390) When the Pilgrim CHAUCER is asked by the Host to tell a tale of his own, the poet’s persona launches into a rollicking, singsong burlesque of popular English TAIL RHYME ROMANCE, a recitation so apparently… … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
Horn Childe — (ca. 1300) The Northern MIDDLE ENGLISH verse ROMANCE Horn Childe is a poem of 1,136 lines written in TAIL RHYME stanzas sometime between about 1290 and 1340. The story of Horn Childe is essentially the same as that of the better known romance… … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
lai — The term lai was originally applied to French poems of the 12th and 13th centuries. Some lais were lyric poems, but the best known were short narrative ROMANCES, also called contes. Some of the earliest lais were those of MARIE DE FRANCE, who… … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
English literature — Introduction the body of written works produced in the English language by inhabitants of the British Isles (including Ireland) from the 7th century to the present day. The major literatures written in English outside the British Isles are… … Universalium
Octavian (romance) — A page from British Library MS Cotton Caligula A.ii, in which Middle English tales of Libeaus Desconus, Sir Launfal and Saint Patrick s Purgatory are also found Octavian is a 14th century Middle English verse translation and abrid … Wikipedia
Guy of Warwick — (ca. 1300) Guy of Warwick is a ROMANCE in MIDDLE ENGLISH verse, first composed very early in the 14th century. It is one of a group of romances (including HAVELOK, BEVIS OF HAMPTON, and KING HORN) associated with what was called the “Matter of … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
Turke and Sir Gawain, The — (ca. 1500) The Turke and Gawain is a late 15th century ROMANCE in MIDDLE ENGLISH that is preserved in a 17th century manuscript called the Percy Folio, along with three other late romances focusing on Sir GAWAIN, always the favorite of King… … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
romance — (chivalric romance) The chivalric romance was the most popular literary form of the later European Middle Ages. The term romance originally referred to anything written in the Old French language, thus categorizing it as composed in a language … Encyclopedia of medieval literature
Chaucer's Tale of Sir Topas — Geoffrey Chaucer Sir Thopas is a story in Chaucer s The Canterbury Tales published in 1387. In Canterbury Tales, there is a character named Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer s portrait of himself is unflattering and humble. He presents himself as a… … Wikipedia