Zejel Verse

The zejel, pronounced "seh-HELL," is a Spanish verse form, and it was made popular by the Andalusian poet Ibn Quzman. The opening stanza, called the cabeza, presents the theme and is either a rhymed couplet (AA) or a rhymed tercet (AAA). Successive stanzas are quatrains that consist of a tercet called a mudanza and a line called a vuelta that rhymes with the cabeza. Thus, successive quatrains rhyme BBBA, CCCA, DDDA, and so forth. The lines are usually eight syllables long and often employ colloquial language. Common themes include love, drink, and friendship.

A Zejel Verse

A verse form from Spain called zejel
Begins with a tercet to tell
The subject and rhyme scheme as well.

In writing successive quatrains,
Or vueltas to use other names,
A line with eight beats often reigns
And ends as before to excel.

The theme might be friendship or love,
And authors who write the above
Use language that fits like a glove
And charms like a magical spell.

Classical Zejel Verse

A Saturnalian Zejel

Rejoice, for Saturn's feast is here!
We eagerly await all year
Those cries of "Io!" we long to hear.

We're free for now from tilling loam
And gladly spend our time at home,
Or on the farm not far from Rome,
With guests and neighbors who live near.

The slave and master switch around
As fun and merriment abound
With princeps pranks that might astound,
But never dampen festive cheer.

Too soon we'll end our carefree play
And put the dice and games away
For Saturn's season doesn't stay,
But its return we still hold dear.

Aelia: a Zejel Verse

A
A
A

B
B
B
A

C
C
C
A

D
D
D
A


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