Examples of Chain verse : Poetry through the Ages

A page from the "Poetry through the Ages" exhibit...



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Resonance with other forms.

Only two examples of classic chain verse are cited in English language anthologies that concentrate on poetic influences – one for each known use of the form. Therefore, the examples below are taken from George Lansing Raymond’s Rhythm and Harmony in Poetry and Music, which was a major anthology in America’s colleges and universities in the 1890s and 1900s. The examples have a general resemblance to better-known poetic forms, such as triolet, rondeau, and villanelle.

Anonymous (France)

Nerve thy soul with doctrines noble,

Noble in the walks of time,
Time that leads to an eternal,
An eternal life sublime.

Life sublime in moral beauty,

Beauty that shall never be;
Ever be to lure thee onward,
Onward to the fountain free.

Free to every earnest seeker,

Seeker for the fount of youth;
Youth exultant in its beauty,
Beauty of the living truth.
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John Byrom

My spirit longeth for thee

Within my troubled breast,
Although I be unworthy
Of so divine a guest.

Of so divine a guest,

Unworthy though I be
Yet has my heart no rest,
Unless it comes from thee.

Unless it comes from thee

In vain I look around,
In all that I can see,
No rest is to be found.

No rest is to be found

But in thy blessed love,
Oh let my wish be crowned,
And send it from above.
 

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