Kyrielle Definition

A kyrielle is written in rhyming couplets or quatrains. It uses the phrase "Lord have mercy", or a variant on it, as a refrain as the second line of the couplet or last line of the quatrain. In less strict usage, other phrases like "O God, be merciful to me", and sometimes single words, are used as the refrain.


A kyrielle is a poem type that is made of quatrains. Quatrains are four stanza poems. A kyrielle is actually a French form of poetry. The kyrielle is also a rhyming poem so the quatrains must, in fact, rhyme in some way. Each line of a kyrielle poem must consist of eight syllables. The rhymes in a kyrielle occur in couplets, meaning every two lines rhyme with one another. A kyrielle poem can be as short or as long as the writer wishes, so long as it contains the original rhyming quatrain, it is a kyrielle. 

Kyrielle Poem Example

This kyrielle is by Thomas Campion.

A Lenten Hymn

With broken heart and contrite sigh,
A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry:
Thy pard’ning grace is rich and free:
O God, be merciful to me.
I smite upon my troubled breast,
With deep and conscious guilt oppress,
Christ and His cross my only plea:
O God, be merciful to me.
Far off I stand with tearful eyes,
Nor dare uplift them to the skies;
But Thou dost all my anguish see:
O God, be merciful to me.
Nor alms, nor deeds that I have done,
Can for a single sin atone;
To Calvary alone I flee:
O God, be merciful to me.
And when, redeemed from sin and hell,
With all the ransomed throng I dwell,
My raptured song shall ever be,
God has been merciful to me.

Top 5 Kyrielle Poem Examples

PMPoem TitlePoetFormCategories
Premium Member Poem Angel in Your Eyes Dietrich, Andrea Kyrielleangel,
Premium Member Poem At Summer's End Dietrich, Andrea Kyrielleautumn,
The Ghost of My Lonely Ryerson, Tim Kyrielledream, me, mystery,
Premium Member Poem Hear Oh L-rd Guzzi, Debbie Kyriellefaith, family, happiness, universe,
Premium Member Poem A Stalker's Love Poem Dietrich, Andrea Kyriellelove hurts,

Other Kyrielle Definition


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Misc. Definitions

\Kyr`i*elle\, n. [Cf. F. kyrielle.] A litany beginning with the words. ``Kyrie eleison.'' --Shipley.

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