The Triolet

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Literature Text

Triolet- Write-Up


The triolet (pronounced as tree-oh-lay) is one of the many fixed forms of verses we have today. It was invented in medieval France, and has been preserved through modern literature.

Back in the medieval ages, the triolets were short witty poems that had a ten-syllable meter to it. It was perhaps due to the lightness of this structure that the triolet was often used to express humour, although it has been said that some of the first English triolets were of spiritual content.


A triolet is a French verse of eight lines and two rhymes. Out of these eight lines, five of them are repeated or refrained lines. In the following illustration, these five lines are represented by the alphabet A/a:

A – first line of the poem
B – second line of the poem
a – rhymes with the first line
A – identical to the first line
a – rhymes with the first line
b – rhymes with the second line
A – identical to the first line
B – identical to the second line

Thus, it is seen that the first line is repeated at the fourth and seventh line, while the second line is repeated in the eighth line.

The rhyme scheme of the triolet is abaaabab thereby portraying just two rhymes in the whole of the poem.

Starting Out:

It is often best to begin a triolet with a good couplet, which is suitable for use in any part of a poem, be it the opening, closing, or mid-way.

This couplet could be a statement or an observation. It plays the main key role for connecting the whole poem together. In setting aside words to form a couplet, one must remember that because it forms the \'A\' and the \'B\', it does not need a rhyme.


To A Fat Lady Seen From the Train -Frances Cornford

O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
Missing so much and so much?
O fat white woman whom nobody loves,
Why do you walk through the fields in gloves
When the grass is soft as the breast of doves
And shivering sweet to the touch?
O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
Missing so much and so much?

I believe it was written in jest, and not in the form of personal insult. This triolet, true to its original nature, shows forth humour from a simple event, and thus I have selected it for this write-up.

Of course, there are many other triolets, both humourous and non-humourous. I am sure yours would be good too, if you\'d just pick up your pen, put on your thinking cap, and get cracking.

I look forward to reading your triolets.


A write up on the triolet. Thanks ~chiroptera!
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vgaer's avatar
I wrote some! Thanks for this! I'm trying out some formal poetry, it's weird though.
AlexanderFrost's avatar
Much obliged for the lesson in verse. I'm eager to try it in lieu of my usual style. :)
chiroptera's avatar
and i'm glad that you have tried it.. i cant remember how to spell his nick, but he pointed you out to me, will be going over to read your triolet ~~
tessuraea's avatar
I believe you! My original source was just wrong. No clue, now, who that was. :) (Smile)
chiroptera's avatar

those sources that i listed said it was an 8-liner..

other than those you wrote, i've not seen a 7-liner yet..

erm.. to each his/her own i guess.. =p (Razz)
tessuraea's avatar
Odd... the version of the triolet I know has seven lines, not eight. Your fifth line simply isn't there.


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