By THLaird Colyne Stewart, February AS 49 (2015)
A shield, a sword, an axe, a lance,
He takes with him to melee’s dance,
Upon his head his crest;
In tourney leads the folk of
In war he’s known for piercing glance,
And the star upon his chest;
In battle preaux, leaves naught to chance,
To brave protect the northern manse,
Love beats within his breast.
On virtue’s anvil he would test,
While in fine raimments he is dressed,
Dischivalry his hell;
From the jaw of lose he’ll wrest
Victory for the sorely pressed,
And yet more I could tell;
He clutches favour she has blessed,
Which drives him to his very best,
All for his Adrielle.
One of the formes fixes, the virelai was often used in poetry and music (it was, in fact, one of the most common verse forms set to music from the 13th to the 15th centuries). By the mid 15th century the virelai was no longer usually set to music.
The virelai ancient had no refrain. It used an interlocking rhyme scheme between the stanzas. In the first stanza the rhyme scheme is aabaabaab (with the b lines being shorter in length). In the second stanza the b rhymes are shifted to the longer lines and a new c rhyme is introduced on the shorter ones (bbcbbcbbc).