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Tinker

Roundelay or English Roundelay or Dryden's Roundelay

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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
English Verse

Roundelay as defined in the dictionary is a short simple song with a refrain. However as a fixed stanzaic form, the English poet John Dryden, 1631-1700, created a two rhyme, repetition of lines in a set pattern that is recognized as the Roundelay, the English Roundelay or the Dryden Roundelay. In essence the poet writes only 12 of the 24 lines.

The elements of the English Roundelay are:

  1. stanzaic, four sixains (6 line stanzas).
  2. metric, often written in trochaic tetrameter with some of the lines catalectic (one syllable short) to create a strong end rhyme. (SuSuSuSu or SuSuSuS) S = stressed, u = unstressed
  3. rhymed, only 2 rhymes are used throughout the poem, alternating rhyme scheme ababab.
  4. composed with all lines repeated in a prescribed pattern except L1, L2, L21, and L22 which are not repeated. Pattern of repetition is abA¹B¹A²B² A¹B¹A³B³A²B² A³B³A4B4A²B² A4B4abA²B² .
    Roundelay by John Dryden 1631-1700                               

    Chloe found Amyntas lying,
            All in tears, upon the plain,
    Sighing to himself, and crying,
            Wretched I, to love in vain!
    Kiss me dear before my dying;
             Kiss me once and ease my pain.

    Sighing to himself, and crying,
             Wretched I, to love in vain!
    Ever scorning, and denying
             To reward your faithful swain;
    Kiss me dear before my dying;
              Kiss me once and ease my pain.

    Ever scorning, and denying
              To reward your faithful swain;
    Chloe laughing at his crying;
              Told him that he loved in vain.
    Kiss me dear before my dying;
               Kiss me once and ease my pain.

    Chloe laughing at his crying;
              Told him that he loved in vain
    But responding and complying,
              When he kissed, she kissed again---
    Kiss me dear before my dying;
              Kiss me once and ease my pain.

     

    Roundelay: a blues variation by Rex Allen Brewer

    Through the night the wrong wind grew.
    Through the night the storm would grow.
    Morning sun would find the new.
    Come and watch the river flow.
    See the world in shades of blue.
    Dance with time and keep it slow.

    Morning sun will find the new.
    Come and watch the river flow.
    Can you find the turning screw?
    Does the fabled west-wind blow?
    See the world in shades of blue.
    Dance with time and keep it slow.

     

    Can you find the turning screw?
    Does the fabled westwind blow?
    What then, did the weather do?
    Must we live a life of woe?
    See the world in shades of blue.
    Dance with time and keep it slow.

    What then, did the weather do?
    Must we live a life of woe?
    Old man, what secrets do you rue?
    Old man, what secrets do you know?
    See the world in shades of blue.
    Dance with time and keep it slow.

  • The Rondelay, has no connection with the above Roundelay. It is an American, invented verse form patterned after the French Rondelet with only a slight variation in the syllable count. It was found in Pathways for the Poet by Viola Berg.

    The elements of the American Rondelay are:

    1. a heptastich, a complete poem in 7 lines.
    2. syllabic. Syllable count per line are 4-4-4-4-8-8-4.
    3. composed with a rentrement, the entire L1 is repeated as refrain in L3 and L7.
    4. rhymed. Rhyme scheme interlocks between the refrain AbAabbA.

      Turbulence by Judi Van Gorder

      The storm rolled in
      at eventide.
      The storm rolled in
      dark clouds swollen,
      rapacious rain catching a ride
      on wailing wind, no where to hide .
      The storm rolled in.

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