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The Rondelet (or roundelay) is a brief verse form that originated in French poetry.


The Rondelet consists of one stanza, made up of seven lines. It contains a refrain, a strict rhyme scheme and a distinct meter pattern.

The word is the diminutive of rondel, a similar, longer verse form. This is the basic form:

Line 1 :: A—dimeter (two feet )
Line 2 :: b—tetrameter (four feet)
Line 3 :: A—repeat of line one
Line 4 :: a—tetrameter
Line 5 :: b—tetrameter
Line 6 :: b—tetrameter
Line 7 :: A—repeat of line one

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


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."[1]

See alsoEdit


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