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* A note: In my studies of these forms (Rondeau, Rondel, Rondelet, Roundel, Rondine, etc) it becomes increasingly clear that there is little accurate information. To the best of my knowledge, this is accurate although I had to wade through acres of mislabeled works and forms to accumulate this much. Keep in mind that most definitions of these forms are rather broad and ambiguous due to the fact most people think the forms are all interchangeable or there is only one or two forms for all these different names. The truth, as I have discovered it, is rather drastically different.


          The Rondel is a French style of lyrical poetry that is made up of two quatrains followed by a quintet. This gives us a total of 13 lines (that can be of any length) to contain the two rhymes that follow a scheme of: ABba abAB abbaA where A and B are the refrains.
          The following is an example of a Rondel by the famous Anglo-Norman poet, Charles d'Orleans (1391 - 1465):

The Seige

(To his Mistress, to succour his heart that is beleaguered by jealousy)

Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid,
For Jealousy, with all them of his part,
Strong siege about the weary tower has laid.

Nay, if to break his bands thou art afraid,
Too weak to make his cruel force depart,
Strengthen at least this castle of my heart,
And with some store of pleasure give me aid.

Nay, let not Jealousy, for all his art
Be master, and the tower in ruin laid,
That still, ah Love! thy gracious rule obeyed.
Advance, and give me succour of thy part;
Strengthen, my Love, this castle of my heart.

          This poem was found at:…

Rondel Prime:

          This form is also known as "Rondel Supreme" and is different from it's companion form by one line only. Also, some say that where the Rondel's lines have no set length, the Rondel Prime's must all be the same. The second refrain is seen again at the end of the poem thus making the final stanza a sestet instead of a quintet. This is how the Rondel Prime would appear: ABba abAB abbaAB once again, A and B are the refrains. The following example is also by Charles d'Orleans:


My ghostly father, let me confess,
First to God and then to you,
That at a window - do you know how? -
I stole a kiss of great sweetness.

It was donw without advisedness,
But it is done, not undone now.
My ghostly father, let me confess,
First to God and then to you.

But it shall be restored, doubtless,
For kisses one should rebestow,
And that to God I make this vow,
Otherwise, I ask forgiveness
My ghostly father, let me confess,
First to God and then to you.

          This poem was found in Lewis Turco's book: "The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics" Third Edition. Page 242, if you're interested.
A write up on the Rondel and Rondel Prime by

Thank you!
goodygumdrops Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2005
great link
SparrowSong Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2005  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. I've used this, linked back as well. ;P
RebeccaA Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2004
Very informative and well written. Easy to understand.
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November 25, 2004
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