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For the surname, see Rondelet (surname).

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

The roundelay [2] 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. Both can be found documented on the , where Lawrence Eberhart, a director of the International Poetry Fellowship has spent the past two years cross-referencing specifications and examples found on the World Wide Web. For most poetry forms so identified, conflicts are pointed out, and visual template examples are provided.

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

Line 1 :: A—four syllables
Line 2 :: b—eight syllables
Line 3 :: A—repeat of line one
Line 4 :: a—eight syllables
Line 5 :: b—eight syllables
Line 6 :: b—eight syllables
Line 7 :: A—repeat of line one

The refrained lines should contain 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]


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.