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Rondel (poem)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A rondel is a verse form originating in French lyrical poetry of the 14th century (closely related to the rondeau, as well as the rondelet).[1] Specifically, the rondel refers to "a form with two rhymes, three stanzas, and a two-line refrain that repeats either two and a half or three times: ABba abAB abbaA(B)."[1]


Scholars have observed that the rondel is a relatively fluid construction, not always adhering to strict formal definitions. J.M. Cocking wrote that "the reader who comes across a poem bearing the title rondel by Banville, Rollinat, Dobson or Bridges and is curious enough to look for a definition of this form is likely to be more confused than enlightened."[2] Jeremy Butterfield, writing for Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, goes so far as to state that "there is no fixed metre" for the rondel.[3]

Origins and evolution[edit]

The origins of the rondel, however, are not so mysterious as its definition. The rondel first rose to prominence as a monophonic song in the 13th century and was associated with "round" folk dances. [4]

Later, famed Middle English poet Geoffrey Chaucer would adapt the French Rondel to serve as the basis for The Knight's Tale.[5] In the Chaucerian Rondel, two tercets followed by a quatrain comprise each stanza. Later, English poet and critic Algernon Charles Swinburne would devise the roundel, a form based on the rondeau rather than Chaucer's Rondel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Greene, Roland, ed. (2017). "Rondel". The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (4th Online ed.). Princeton, New Jersey.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780190681173.
  2. ^ Cocking, J..M. (1951). "The "Invention of the Rondel". French Studies. V (1): 49–55. doi:10.1093/fs/v.1.49. ISSN 0016-1128.
  3. ^ Butterfield, Jeremy, ed. (2015). "Rondel.". Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage (4nd ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom.: Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Bjork, Robert E., ed. (2010). "Rondel". Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
  5. ^ Eberhart, Lawrence (2014). "Chaucerian Roundel". Poets Collective.

External links[edit]