Rondeau (poetry)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

This article is about the poetry form. For other uses, see Rondeau.

A rondeau (plural rondeaux) is a form of French poetry with 15 lines written on two rhymes, as well as a corresponding musical form developed to set this characteristic verse structure. It was one of the three formes fixes (the other two were the ballade and the virelai), and one of the verse forms in France most commonly set to music between the late 13th and the 15th centuries. Variant forms may have 10 or 13 lines. A similar form is the French rondel and its English variant called roundel, devised by the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne.

The rondeau is a form of verse also used in English language poetry. It makes use of refrains, repeated according to a certain stylized pattern. It was customarily regarded as a challenge to arrange for these refrains to contribute to the meaning of the poem in as succinct and poignant a manner as possible. The rondeau consists of thirteen lines of eight syllables, plus two refrains (which are half lines, each of four syllables), employing, altogether, only three rhymes. It has three stanzas and its rhyme scheme is as follows: (1) A A B B A (2) A A B with refrain: C (3) A A B B A with concluding refrain C. The refrain must be identical with the beginning of the first line.

An example is We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar:

We wear the mask that grins and lies, (A)
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— (A)
This debt we pay to human guile; (B)
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, (B)
And mouth with myriad subtleties. (A)
Why should the world be over-wise, (A)
In counting all our tears and sighs? (A)
Nay, let them only see us, while (B)
We wear the mask. (C)
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries (A)
To thee from tortured souls arise. (A)
We sing, but oh the clay is vile (B)
Beneath our feet, and long the mile; (B)
But let the world dream otherwise, (A)
We wear the mask! (C)

Perhaps the best-known rondeau is the following World War I poem, In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Rondeau redoublé

A more complex form is the rondeau redoublé. This is also written on two rhymes, but in five stanzas of four lines each and one of five lines. Each of the first four lines (stanza 1) get individually repeated in turn once by becoming successively the respective fourth lines of stanzas 2, 3, 4, & 5; and the first part of the first line is repeated as a short fifth line to conclude the sixth stanza. This can be represented as - A1,B1,A2,B2 - b,a,b,A1 - a,b,a,B1 - b,a,b,A2 - a,b,a,B2 - b,a,b,a,(A1).

The following example of the form was written from the point of view of one of the RAF officers carrying the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales to the plane that was to carry it to England.

Guard of Honour by Paul Hansford
The burden I bear is more heavy than lead.
The physical weight is a thing that I share,
but the loss that I feel will not leave my head.
Why did you have to die? Why is death so unfair?
I am close to you now. Yes, touching my hair
the flag with its lions of gold and of red
that wraps round your coffin. I know you are there.
The burden I bear is more heavy than lead.
My comrades move with me in slow, solemn tread.
Our eyes are all fixed in an unseeing stare.
Our shoulders support you in your oaken bed.
The physical weight is a thing that I share.
As I feel the world watching I try not to care.
My deepest emotions are best left unsaid.
Let others show grief like a garment they wear,
but the loss that I feel will not leave my head.
The flowers they leave like a carpet are spread,
In the books of remembrance they have written, "Somewhere
a star is extinguished because you are dead.
Why did you have to die? Why is death so unfair?"
The tears that we weep will soon grow more rare,
the rawness of grief turn to memory instead.
But deep in our hearts you will always be there,
and I ask, will I ever be able to shed
the burden I bear?

See also

Analogous musical forms:





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rondeau (poetry)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools