The rondine is much the same as the rondeau, but a bit shorter. Here's one about a bird I saw on my holidays, or perhaps it's about the nerdiness of a certain kind of birdwatcher:

Fulfilment (Monticola solitarius)
The blue rock thrush is hard to spot - 
My Holy Grail, this rarity.
I've sought in Spain and Italy
And other countries where it's hot.

A birdwatcher who knows what's what
Could twitch for years, yet never see
The blue rock thrush.

The way things seem is how they're not.
Today I saw one. Woe is me!
What point to ornithology
Now that I've ticked to show I've got
The blue rock thrush?

As with the rondeau and the roundel, there is a refrain - here "the blue rock thrush" - which repeats the beginning of the first line. There are twelve lines in three stanzas, rhyming abba; abR; abbaR, where "R" denotes the refrain. (Sometimes the first two stanzas are run together.) Compared with the rondeau, each stanza is one line shorter, the "missing" line being the first in each case.

You are unlikely to see many rondines. I found one in French by Clément Marot (1496-1544) called De l'amoureux ardent. (Marot would probably have considered it a rondeau rather than a rondine.)

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© Bob Newman 2005. All rights reserved.

This page last updated 08/06/2005