Qasida is a type of formal ode believed to have originated in the 6th c., and used by Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu poets. The themes were varied: elegy, eulogy, panegyric, or satire. The length varied also – between thirty and two or three hundred lines. The form was imitated by Alfred Lord Tennyson in Locksley Hall, using couplets in octameters, for the most part, trochaic. It is also used by Flecker in his poetic drama Hassan (published 1922).
In Spanish verse, the qasida is probably of Bedouin Arab origin and was a kind of elegy in which the meter might vary whereas the subjects (and their order) were fixed. The poet began with a nostalgic reference to a re-discovery of a place which recalled his love; then dwelt on this love; then on the ensuing sufferings it caused. There followed a lengthy account of the various journeys he had undertaken. Finally, he sang the praises of one who, he hoped, would become the patron of his efforts. The verses were transmitted orally at first; later they were written down.
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