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Roundel Definition

A Roundel poem is a very short poem that consists of 3 stanzas with 3 lines in each stanza. The Roundel poem uses alternate rhyming where its first words are repeated following the 1st and 3rd stanzas. The form is a version of the French Rondeau and was developed by Algernon Charles Swinburne. It is a form of English language poetry where its rhythmic scaling is abar, bab, abar, where r is referred to as the refrain. The Roundel is composed of 9 lines with each line having the same amount of syllables.

Some of the most notable Roundel poems include:"You Can Do It" by Heidi Sands, "Visions Can Come True" by Heidi Sands, "Sweet Rhapsody" by Joseph May, "Then A Rainbow Came" by Joseph May, "Lonely Blue" by Katherine Braithwaite, "The Silence is More Friendly" by Katherine Braithwaite, "A Car" by Betty Bavington, "What Happened" by Betty Bavington and "Ask Her" by Betty Bavington. 

A roundel (not to be confused with the rondel) is a form of verse used in poetry and created by Algernon Charles Swinburne. A roundel consists of nine lines each having the same number of syllables, plus a refrain after the third line and after the last line.

Roundel's have three stanzas and its rhyme scheme is as follows:

?R (refrain)


R (refrain)

Roundel Poem Example

Henry Louis Mencken

If love were all and we could cheat
All gods but Cupid of their due,
Our joy in life would be complete.
We'd only live that we might woo,
(Instead, as now, that we might eat,)
And ev'ry lover would be true,—
If love were all.
Yet, if we found our bread and meat
In kisses it would please but few,
Soon life would grow a cloying sweet,
If love were all.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne

Goodnight and goodbye to the life whose signs denote us
As mourners clothed with regret for the life gone by;
To the waters of gloom whence winds of the dayspring float us
   Goodnight and goodbye.

A time is for mourning, a season for grief to sigh;
But were we not fools and blind, by day to devote us
As thralls to the darkness, unseen of the sundawn’s eye?

We have drunken of Lethe at length, we have eaten of lotus;
What hurts it us here that sorrows are born and die?
We have said to the dream that caressed and the dread that smote us
   Goodnight and goodbye.


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Other Roundel Definition

[n] a charge in the shape of a circle; a hollow roundel
[n] round piece of armor plate that protects the armpit
[n] English form of rondeau having three triplets with a refrain after the first and third



Misc. Definitions

\Roun"del\, n. [OF. rondel a roundelay, F. rondel, rondeau, a dim. fr. rond; for sense 2, cf. F. rondelle a round, a round shield. See {Round}, a., and cf. {Rondel}, {Rondelay}.]
1. (Mus.) A rondelay. ``Sung all the roundel lustily.'' --Chaucer. Come, now a roundel and a fairy song. --Shak.
2. Anything having a round form; a round figure; a circle. The Spaniards, casting themselves into roundels, . . . made a flying march to Calais. --Bacon. Specifically: (a) A small circular shield, sometimes not more than a foot in diameter, used by soldiers in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. (b) (Her.) A circular spot; a sharge in the form of a small circle. (c) (Fort.) A bastion of a circular form.

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