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Wedding Odes


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The Ode

Wedding Odes

  • Epithalamion or Epithalamium (from Greek "at the bridal chamber") is an ode celebrating marriage. Sappho (7th-6th century B.C.) may have been the first to use the genre but it was revived during the Renaissance and Sir Edmund Spencer, John Donne, and Dryden are a few of the poets to write verse within the genre. This ode was originally written in 3 strophes. One to be sung at the bedroom door, lusty in nature, urging the newlyweds to enjoy their wedding night and designed to muffle the sounds that came from the room. The second strophe to refresh or encourage the couple to continue their conjugal efforts and the third strophe was saved for the next morning, congratulating the couple and instructing them in their duties to one another.

    Other than the 3 divisions of this genre, the frame is at the discretion of the poet. However, it is written there are a few elements that generally appear:

    1. The poem is usually about a specific marriage, not marriage in general.
    2. The event of the wedding is included.
    3. Often something from the bride and groom's past is mentioned.
    4. There are blessings and good wishes.

      Sir Edmund Spencer wrote 23 18 line stanzas each made up of 4 quatrains and ending in a declamatory rhymed couplet which is a linking refrain that changes slightly from stanza to stanza, the poem ending with a 7 line envoi, metered primarily iambic pentameter, variable rhyme scheme slightly changing with each stanza S1 ababccbcbddeffeegg, S2 hihijjkjkllmmnngg etc. The 3 parts are present but not specifically identified.
                          Epithalamion by Sir Edmund Spenser.

      ee cummings writes one in 3 parts made up of 7 iambic pentatmeter octaves each, rhyme scheme abcadcbd efgehgfh etc. (similar to writing 3 Double Ballades with a slightly skewed rhyme scheme without a refrain and adding a 7th stanza)
                       Epithalamion by ee cummings
  • Prothalamium or Prothalamiumis(from Greek "before the wedding") is an ode celebrating an upcoming wedding. It is usually lighter than the Epithalamium and is specifically sung for the bride. The structure is at the discretion of the poet.

    Prothalamium by Aaron Kramer

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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