What could be more confusing than French poetry? The poetry of the troubadour is no exception to this common belief. Developed during the time where being a poet could be a full-time job, these poems take a great deal of effort to create. They have a complex structure that can be confusing. Read on to see how to accomplish the mastery of the troubadour….
The sestina is a French form, divided into 6 sestets (six line stanzas) and 1 triplet called an envoi which is just a concluding stanza that is half the size of the rest, for a total of 39 lines. Lines may be of any length. Their length is usually consistent in a single poem. Unless you wish to make the sestina harder than already is, it is usually unrhymed and works by repeating the end words of each line. The envoi contains, in any order, all of the six end-words.
The six words that end each of the lines of the first stanza are repeated in a different order at the end of each line in each of the subsequent five stanzas. The particular pattern is given below. The first line of each sestet after the first ends with the same word as the one that ended the last line of the sestet before it.
In the closing tercet, each of the six words are used, with one in the middle of each line and one at the end.
The pattern of the word-repetition is as follow, where the words that end the lines of the first sestet are represented by the number “1 2 3 4 5 6”
123456, end words of lines in first sestet
615243, end words of lines in second sestet
364125, end words of lines in third sestet
532614, end words of lines in fourth sestet
451362, end words of lines in fifth sestet
246531, end words of lines in sixth sestet
(6 2) (1 4) (5 3) middle and end words of lines in tercet