The rondel is one of several French verse forms with confusingly similar names and rather similar natures. To make matters worse, the recipe is not completely fixed; a rondel can have either 13 or 14 lines. Here's a mischievous example with 13 lines - unlucky for some:

Honey Trap
Some pages are set up as traps
For those who surf in search of sex -
The ones whose conscience never checks
Their naked lust. They're mostly chaps.

This rondel's like that, so perhaps
The hits will rain in, multiplex.
Some pages are set up as traps
For those who surf in search of sex.

We should forgive them their sad lapse
As onward, far from gay, each treks
Through "nipples, latex, XXX".
For sucking in such sex-crazed saps
Some pages are set up as traps.

I have a feeling this is going to quickly become my most visited page - don't you, boys and girls? Be that as it may, the rhyming scheme of the first 12 lines is fixed: abba/abab/abba, with the first two lines forming a refrain. The refrain is repeated as lines 7 and 8. In a 14-line rondel, or rondel supreme, the climax comes when the whole of the refrain is repeated again, as lines 13 and 14. In a 13-line rondel, as above, one line of the refrain - it doesn't matter which - is repeated as line 13.  


There's always something... I found a poem (in French) by Tristan Corbière (1845-1875) called Rondel, and another by him called Mirliton. Neither of them quite conforms to the recipe above - they have 12 lines each, and slightly different rhyming schemes. Then I found a poem by Swinburne called Rondel which has a quite different form again.  It turns out that, as with "rondeau", the term "rondel" was originally used for a variety of fixed forms. Chaucer's Rondel of Mysterious Beauty is in yet another different form - it has 13 lines with a 3-line refrain. Spenser used the spelling rondle, but who knows what he meant by it? We are entitled to be confused by all this, in my opinion.  

See also rondeau, rondine, rondeau redoublé, roundel, Chaucerian roundel, and even triolet.


This page was visited recently by someone looking for "crazed nipples". On the whole though it's not pulling in much of the porn market. The competition is too stiff. 

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This page last updated 03/01/2007