Tag Archives: Blage manuscript

Dangerous form

The early sixteenth-century poem presented and translated at the foot of this blog probably needs a trigger warning, at least for those of us who’ve had such dark moments in life that we’ve thought of ending it all.  This ballade (if you use that term pretty loosely) describes a night-time vision of a murdered man who encourages the narrator, perhaps a despairing lover, to kill himself. The final stanza revamps the familiar ending of a dream vision in which an authority figure urges some action and/or some startling event occurs, the violence of which awakens the dreamer.  Here it is the speaker’s suicide which ends the dream.  The last line, flinging us into the present tense, gives a vivid picture of the speaker’s heart thumping as he wakes.

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