Rondel - Encyclopedia


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RONDEL, a form of verse closely allied to the rondeau but distinguished from it by containing fourteen instead of thirteen lines, and by demanding a slightly different arrangement of rhymes. Moreover, the initial couplet is repeated in the middle and again at the close. The arrangement of rhymes is as follows: a, b b, a; a b, a b; a, b, b, a, a, b. This form, which was invented in the 14th century, was largely used in later medieval French poetry, but particularly by Charles d'Orleans (1391-1465), the very best of whose graceful creations are all rondels. One of the most famous of this prince's rondels may be given here as a type of their correct construction: " Le temps a laissie son manteau De vent, de froidure et de pluye, Et s'est vestu de brouderie De souleil luisant, cler et beau. 11 n'y a beste ne oyseau Qu'en son jargon ne chante ou crie: Le temps a laissie son manteau De vent, de froidure et de pluye. Riviere, fontaine et ruisseau Portent, en livree jolie, Gouttes d'argent d'or faverie; Chascun s'abille de nouveau; Le temps a laissie son manteau De vent, de froidure et de pluye." The rondel, in French, may begin with either a masculine or a feminine rhyme, but its solitary other rhyme must be of the opposite kind. The rondel was introduced into English in the 15th century, but the early specimens of it are very clumsy. It was revised in the 19th century, but it appears to suit the French better than any other language. Correct examples are found in the poems of Robert Bridges, Dobson, Gosse and Henley. The following, by Austin Dobson, gives an exact impression of what an English rondel should be in all technical respects: - Love comes back to his vacant dwelling, - The old, old Love that we knew of yore ! We see him stand by the open door, With his great eyes sad, and his bosom swelling. He makes as though in our arms repelling He fain would lie as he lay before; - Love comes back to his vacant dwelling, - The old, old Love that we knew of yore ! Ah ! who shall help us from over-spelling That sweet, forgotten, forbidden lore ? E'en as we doubt, in our hearts once more, With a rush of tears to our eyelids welling, Love comes back to his vacant dwelling, The old, old Love that we knew of yore !" Theodore de Banville remarks that the art of the rondel consists in the gay and natural reintroduction of the refrain, which should always seem inevitable, while slightly changing the point of view of the reader. If this is not successfully achieved, " on ne fera que de la marqueterie et du placage, c'est-a-dire, en fait de poesie, - rien ! " In Germany, the rondel was introduced, in the 18th century, under the name of ringel-gedicht, by Johann Nikolaus Gotz (1731-1781), and was occasionally used, in the course of the 9th century, by German poets.

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