Rondeau

The rondeau is a French verse form that contains thirteen lines in three stanzas: 5-3-5. It operates on two rhymes and a refrain that begins the first line and ideally rhymes with the end word of the first line. The refrain, or rentrement (R), is repeated at the end of the second and third stanzas. Each line should contain eight or ten syllables. There is no set meter. The rhyme scheme is aabba aab(R) aabba(R).

The Rondeau

To write a rondeau's quite a feat all right;
Its thirteen lines with just two rhymes seems tight.
At least the meter's not a thing to dread...
Not bad when everything's been done and said.
Please think it through before you start to write...

Follow this French form's features like a rite
To save yourself from what could be a plight
And prize the verse to which you have been led
To write.

The rentrement's not something you can slight;
Its prominence is one thing you can't fight.
The subject's easy... What pops in your head?
Eight syllables too few? Use ten instead!
Once tried, you'll find a rondeau's not a fright
To write.

Classical Rondeaux

A Saturnalian Rondeau

With cries of "Io!" at dawn's first ray,
They welcome Saturn's holiday.
Both slave and master hail the feast
With joy because all toil has ceased,
But know full well it cannot stay.

The master serves the slave today,
Reversing roles in life's great play,
And plays along awhile at least
With cries of "Io!"

The slave who rules the roost today
May call the tune the pipers play,
But knows for sure the crown is leased
And not to goad a docile beast...
All hail the king with feet of clay
With cries of "Io!"

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