Blason is a genre of poetry committed to the praise or blame of something through the use of a series of images that support the theme. It is a variation of the ancient Catalogue Poem. From French heraldry, blason translates as "the codified description of a coat of arms" Originally French poet, Clement Marot, wrote a poem praising a woman by listing parts of her body with metaphors to compare with them. Parts of the female body became a recurring topic of the Blason and continues to be the focus, although other subjects could be adapted.
Although the concept of the Blason can be applied to any verse form such as the sonnet or Blank Verse, the Blason often takes the form of octosyllabic or decasyllabic verse that ends with an epigraphic conclusion.
The Blason is often
- framed at the discretion of the poet, although lines are often syllabic, 8 or 10 syllables long.
- composed with a list of different images of the same thing with accompanying metaphors.
- written with a sharp conclusion.
Sonnet CXXX: by William Shakespeare
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks,
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.