Rondel

The rondel is a shortened form of rondeau that contains thirteen lines in three stanzas: 4-4-5. It contains two rhymes and a refrain that consists of the first two lines of the first stanza. The refrain recurs at the end of the second quatrain and the concluding quintain. (When both lines of the refrain are used to complete the last stanza, the verse is called a prime rondel, or a French sonnet, and will contain fourteen lines.) If A and B are the lines of the refrain, a rondel will have a rhyme scheme of ABba abAB abbaA and contain thirteen lines. The meter is open, but typically each line has eight syllables.

The Prime Rondel

The rondel has a long refrain,
So write the first two lines with care,
Then drop the last one if you dare;
The first is always used again.

To find fit rhymes creates a strain;
The poet seeks a perfect pair.
The rondel has a long refrain,
So write the first two lines with care.

The open meter's less a pain;
Eight syllables each line will bear.
A prime has one more line to share;
The fourteenth one completes the train.
The rondel has a long refrain,
So write the first two lines with care.

Classical Rondels

A Saturnalian Rondel

Now is the time to take it slow
And leave the fields in spirits high.
Saturn's season will soon draw nigh,
A golden age from long ago.

A respite from the status quo
Merits the joyful "Io!" we cry.
Now is the time to take it slow
And leave the fields in spirits high.

Strictures are eased a bit, and so
Rules will bend, and the dice will fly;
All appetites we'll satisfy.
Too soon we'll start to plow and sow;
Now is the time to take it slow.

next

A
B
b
a

a
b
A
B

a
b
b
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A


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