The Literature of the Spanish People: From Roman Times to the Present Day

By Gerald Brenan | Go to book overview

A GLOSSARY OF MEDIEVAL VERSE FORMS
arte mayor: stanzas of eight lines written in a twelve-syllabled metre.
It superseded cuaderna vía at the end of the fourteenth century. See pp. 89-91.
cantar de gesta: chanson de geste, or epic poem.
cantigas de amiga: Galician-Portuguese love songs, in which the speaker is a woman. Date, thirteenth century.
cossante: the form in which many of the cantigas de amigo were written.
It consists of couplets employing alternate assonances in i and a and divided by a refrain. These pairs of couplets are parallelistic--that is, each a couplet repeats each i couplet in slightly different words-- while the poem develops by means of a device known as leixa-pren. See p. 54.
cuaderna vía: stanzas of four lines, all having the same rhyme and written in a fourteen-syllabled metre, the alexandrine. This was a learned form, practised by the school of clerical poets known as mester de clerecía. It came in from France about 1200 and lasted for two centuries.
estribillo: the theme-verse or stanza of a villancico. We first meet it in the eleventh century in the form of the Romance jarcha of a Hebrew poem and, after villancicos ceased to be written, it developed a new lease of life as the popular copla of modern times. That is to say, the estribillo is the continuous or basic element in Spanish popular lyric poetry. See villancico.
estribote: an old name for the villancico, which went out of use about 1400.
jarcha: a popular verse or stanza which comes at the end of a Spanish- Arabic or Hebrew muwassaha. It is often written in Spanish. See pp. 466 f. One may compare its function in one of these poems to that of the estribillos in the Marqués de Santillana's villancico to his three daughters. (See the Oxford Book of Spanish Verse, p. 35.)

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