Forms of Verse, Fall 2000

The following are some student questions and answers regarding the rondeau form.  You may click on any of these topics to go right to that discussion, or you can scroll through this document and read all the commentary.

Understanding the refrain.

I just want to double check my understanding of the rondeau refrain. The refrain seems to break the "rules" of the rondeau--1. it does not have to rhyme, and 2. it does not have to fit the 8 or 10 syllable rule.
This is interesting--makes the refrain really stand out. I suppose the choices a poet makes could make the refrain more or less noticeable. I think the religious origin of this poem type is part of the reason for the highly noticeable refrain--you need to make sure people are hearing the message.
Thanks for your help.

Jennifer Dobbins

These are astute observations. And, again, these are good questions. Your assumptions are indeed correct. First, because the refrain is only part of the first line, it does not have to rhyme when it reappears; the rhyme of the first line stays in force, but not for the refrain. And no, it definitely will not have the same number of syllables, since, again, it is only part of the first line. A common length for the refrain is about half of the first line.--AR

Prosody Q & A | Rhyme | Rondeau

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Last modified on:
Tuesday, October 10, 2000
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