The Book of the Duchess and Other Poems

The Book of the Duchess and Other Poems Glossary


A story in which the characters and events serve not only as part of the narrative itself, but also stand for or illuminate ideas outside of the immediate plot.


Aquamarine or emerald, a transparent precious stone.


The term for the culture, writings, and history of the period of the ancient Greeks and Romans, covering a time from approximately 450 BC to 500 AD.


A pair of lines of verse, usually rhyming.


Also "draughts," the medieval word for the game of chess.


A type of poem in which the narrator experiences a dream or vision, usually with a guide, which enables the story to be told.


A poem written specifically for and in praise of a person who has died.

end rhyme

The rhyme occurring at the end of a line of verse, as opposed to a rhyme within the line (called internal rhyme).

foot (poetic foot)

A unit of a line of verse, such as an iamb, spondee, trochee, anapest, and so on. For instance, when a line contains five iambs it is said to be in iambic pentameter, or having five iambic feet.


A female eagle.


A poetic foot which consists of a short syllable followed by a long syllable.


An alternate name for the ancient city of Troy, the site of the Trojan war and the Trojan horse, a (now Turkish) city sacked by the Greeks. Aeneas leaves the city at the beginning of the Aeneid.


A short prayer-like introduction to a longer poem.


A book of the properties and meanings of stones and gems.


Generosity; a boon or favor granted by a noble person.


Poetry; a short poem that expresses the speaker's personal thoughts or feelings.


A small hawk.


Having eight syllables in a line of verse. This pattern is obscured in The Book of the Duchess: though Chaucer wrote most of the lines adhering to this form, the pronunciation of so many words has changed that the eight syllables are rarely counted as they were in Chaucer's day.


A line of verse having five poetic feet.


A poem which is the beginning to a longer poem; an introduction in verse.

rime royal

A poetic form introduced into English by Chaucer: a seven-line stanza with rhyme scheme ababbcc, each line in iambic pentameter.


A male bird of prey. In some species, the males are about one third the size of the females, hence the name.


The famous ancient Roman poet (70-19 BC) who wrote the Aeneid, the story retold in The House of Fame.