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The rondelet is a brief French form of poetry. It contains a refrain, a strict rhyme scheme and a distinct meter pattern. [1]


The roundelay is a 24 line poem written in trochaic tetrameter. What they have in common is that they both only use two rhyme sounds, and make use of refrains. [2]

Rondelet is the diminutive of rondel, a similar, longer verse form. This is the basic structure:

The refrained lines should contain the same words, however substitution or different use of punctuation on the lines has been common.

Samuel Beckett's "Roundelay"

Samuel Beckett created a contemporary roundelay in the poem of the same name. In his rigorous and original variation, he demonstrates additional potential and flexibility of this form in this extraordinarily evocative and haunting short work.

This poem is carefully built upon a palindromic structure and uses lines with slightly changed variants and exact repetitions. The use of the word "sound" 6 times significantly determines the focus of the text and adds "sonic atmosphere." Beckett's poem has 13 lines with a middle repeat in line 7 of "on all that strand"-stated three times in total-dividing the poem in two mirrored halves. Its syllables/per line vary from 3-6. The syllable count line by line is: 4/4/3/3/6/3/4/3/6/3/3/4/4 which forms a perfect palindrome split by the center, 4-syllable line 7 mentioned above.

This poem, like so many of his works, demonstrates a supreme mastery of repetition, sonic effects, and structure. Its initially simple appearance leaves astonishing complexity and mathematical/musical rigor hidden in plain sight.


The term roundelay originates from 1570, from Modern French rondelet, a diminutive of rondel meaning "short poem with a refrain," literally "small circle". From Old French rondel, a diminutive of rond meaning "circle, sphere," originally an adjective from roont. The spelling developed by association with lay (noun) "poem to be sung." [3]


Michel Barrucaud, François Besson, Eric Doumerc, Raphaelle Gosta de Beaurregard, Aurélie Guilain, Wendy Harding, Isabelle Keller-Privat, Catherine Lamone, Lesley Lawton et Sylvie Maurel, An introduction to poetry in English, Presses Universitaires du Mirail, Toulouse.

Related Research Articles

In poetry, metre or meter is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study and the actual use of metres and forms of versification are both known as prosody.

Poetry Form of literature

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and often rhythmic qualities of language − such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre − to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, a prosaic ostensible meaning.

Villanelle Fixed verse form; nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain

A villanelle, also known as villanesque, is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately at the end of each subsequent stanza until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. The villanelle is an example of a fixed verse form. The word derives from Latin, then Italian, and is related to the initial subject of the form being the pastoral.

Poetry analysis is the process of investigating a poem's form, content, structural semiotics and history in an informed way, with the aim of heightening one's own and others' understanding and appreciation of the work.

Refrain Repeated lines in music or poetry

A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in poetry — the "chorus" of a song. Poetic fixed forms that feature refrains include the villanelle, the virelay, and the sestina.

Rhyming scheme is the pattern of rhymes at the end of each line of a poem or song. It is usually referred to by using letters to indicate which lines rhyme; lines designated with the same letter all rhyme with each other.

Chain rhyme is the linking together of stanzas by carrying a rhyme over from one stanza to the next.

A triolet is almost always a stanza poem of eight lines, though stanzas with as few as seven lines and as many as nine or more have appeared in its history. Its rhyme scheme is ABaAabAB and in 19th century English triolets often all lines are in iambic tetrameter, though in traditional French triolets from the 17th century on the second, sixth and eighth lines tend to be iambic trimeters followed by one amphibrachic foot each. In French terminology, a line ending in an iambic foot was denoted as masculine, while a line ending in an amphibrachic foot was called feminine. Depending on the language and era, other meters are seen, even in French. The first, fourth and seventh lines are identical, as are the second and final lines, thereby making the initial and final couplets identical as well. In a traditional French triolet, the second and third non-repeating lines rhyme with the repeating first, fourth, and seventh lines, while the non-repeating sixth line rhymes with the second and eighth repeating lines. However, especially in German triolets of the 18th and 19th centuries, one will see this pattern often violated.

A rondeau is a form of medieval and Renaissance French poetry, as well as the corresponding musical chanson form. Together with the ballade and the virelai it was considered one of the three formes fixes, and one of the verse forms in France most commonly set to music between the late 13th and the 15th centuries. It is structured around a fixed pattern of repetition of material involving a refrain. The rondeau is believed to have originated in dance songs involving alternating singing of the refrain elements by a group and of the other lines by a soloist. The term "Rondeau" is today used both in a wider sense, covering several older variants of the form – which are sometimes distinguished as the triolet and rondel – and in a narrower sense referring to a 15-line variant which developed from these forms in the 15th and 16th centuries. The rondeau is unrelated with the much later instrumental dance form that shares the same name in French baroque music, which is an instance of what is more commonly called the rondo form in classical music.

This glossary of literary terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in the discussion, classification, analysis, and criticism of all types of literature, such as poetry, novels, and picture books, as well as of grammar, syntax, and language techniques. For a more complete glossary of terms relating to poetry in particular, see Glossary of poetry terms.

This is a glossary of poetry.

A rondel is a verse form originating in French lyrical poetry of the 14th century. It was later used in the verse of other languages as well, such as English and Romanian. It is a variation of the rondeau consisting of two quatrains followed by a quintet or a sestet. It is not to be confused with the roundel, a similar verse form with repeating refrain.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to poetry:


Childlore is the folklore or folk culture of children and young people. It includes, for example, rhymes and games played in the school playground. The best known researchers of the field were Iona and Peter Opie.

Utenzi or utend̠i is a form of narrative poetry in Swahili. Its name derives from the fact that it usually describes heroic deeds, like the medieval European gesta. Utendi, plural tendi, meaning "act" or "deed", is derived from the Swahili verb ku-tenda "to do". Well-known examples of utenzi are the Utendi wa Tambuka by Bwana Mwengo, the Utenzi wa Shufaka, and the Utenzi wa vita vya Uhud compiled around 1950 by Haji Chum. Reciting utenzi is a popular pastime on weddings and other ceremonies and feasts; often, specialized narrators are invited to do this.

A roundel is a form of verse used in English language poetry devised by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909). It is the Anglo-Norman form corresponding to the French rondeau. It makes use of refrains, repeated according to a certain stylized pattern. A roundel consists of nine lines each having the same number of syllables, plus a refrain after the third line and after the last line. The refrain must be identical with the beginning of the first line: it may be a half-line, and rhymes with the second line. It has three stanzas and its rhyme scheme is as follows: A B A R ; B A B ; A B A R ; where R is the refrain.

A line is a unit of language into which a poem or play is divided. The use of a line operates on principles which are distinct from and not necessarily coincident with grammatical structures, such as the sentence or single clauses in sentences. Although the word for a single poetic line is verse, that term now tends to be used to signify poetic form more generally. A line break is the termination of the line of a poem and the beginning of a new line.

Vietnamese poetry originated in the form of folk poetry and proverbs. Vietnamese poetic structures include six-eight, double-seven six-eight, and various styles shared with Classical Chinese poetry forms, such as are found in Tang poetry; examples include verse forms with "seven syllables each line for eight lines," "seven syllables each line for four lines", and "five syllables each line for eight lines." More recently there have been new poetry and free poetry.

Classical Chinese poetry forms

Classical Chinese poetry forms are poetry forms or modes which typify the traditional Chinese poems written in Literary Chinese or Classical Chinese. Classical Chinese poetry has various characteristic forms, some attested to as early as the publication of the Classic of Poetry, dating from a traditionally, and roughly, estimated time of around 10th–7th century BC. The term "forms" refers to various formal and technical aspects applied to poems: this includes such poetic characteristics as meter, rhythm, and other considerations such as vocabulary and style. These forms and modes are generally, but not invariably, independent of the Classical Chinese poetry genres. Many or most of these were developed by the time of the Tang Dynasty, and the use and development of Classical Chinese poetry and genres actively continued up until the May Fourth Movement, and still continues even today in the 21st century.

Poetic devices are a form of literary device used in poetry. Poems are created out of poetic devices composite of: structural, grammatical, rhythmic, metrical, verbal, and visual elements. They are essential tools that a poet uses to create rhythm, enhance a poem's meaning, or intensify a mood or feeling.


  1. "Rondelet". 5 November 2013.
  2. "Roundelay". 14 January 2013.
  3. "Roundelay | Etymology, origin and meaning of roundelay by Etymonline".