Tag Archives: retrograde ballade

Imbecile Ingenuity?

Last week’s poem was able to mean two opposite things by encoding two different readings within one stanza.  This week’s choice (scroll down for text and translation) has the trick of meaning the same thing in two different ways.  At a quick glance, it looks just like any number of fifteenth-century love poems, full of praise of a lover’s lady’s virtues and beauties.  But each of the lines of the ballade proper (as opposed to the envoy) are constructed so that you can read them from left to right as usual, but also from right to left.  Cleverly the rhyme also works in reverse, with rhyme words at the beginning and end of lines.  Pick a line and try it first forwards and then backwards.

Continue reading