ballade bəläd´ [key], in literature, verse form developed in France in the 14th and 15th cent. The ballade usually contains three stanzas of eight lines with three rhymes and a four-line envoy (a short, concluding stanza). Also popular was the ten-line stanza with four rhymes and a five-line envoy. The envoy is used primarily as a summary or as a dedication or direct address to an important person. Ballades of Charles d'Orléans, François Villon, and Geoffrey Chaucer are well known.

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