Praise Poem for Mistress Dorigen

It all began with Dorigen

Who taught our line the wordsmith’s skill

to sing out tales and stories spin

Her words our hearts with joy do fill

her songs chase away night’s bone chill

the tales she told became her own

to entertain us and to thrill

And thus from her we all have grown


Her words have risen o’er the din

Her voice has made full halls fall still

bright praise in royal sight did win

a sense of grace she did instill

outshone all others in her skill

when called before the eastern throne

Queen’s bard by Isabella’s will

And thus from her we all have grown


From her came those who call her kin

a line of those of stubborn will

to her give thanks to her chagrin

she taught us words our lives to fill

gave fertile fields of songs to till

a greater wordsmith rarely known

inspired many with her skill

And thus from her we all have grown


Dear Prince let none speak of her ill

Her light though all of us has shone

In her the East found unmeasured skill

And thus from her we all have grown


This was my first (and so far only) attempt to write in a ballad style. Same end rhyme for every line. The last line in the stanza is a refrain, and the stanzas are followed by a four-line concluding stanza (an envoi) usually addressed to a prince. The rhyme scheme is therefore usually ‘ababbcbC ababbcbC ababbcbC bcbC’, where the capital ‘C’ is a refrain. This was written on commission for a bardic exchange some years ago.


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