Tag Archives: roundel


roundel (noun)

This English term describes the sixteen-line form which is known in French as the chanson.  The form usually begins with a four-line refrain ABAB which is followed by two further lines bc and the first two lines of the refrain AB.  There are then four more lines abba, followed by the repetition of all four lines of the refrain ABAB.  Lydgate uses this French chanson form for the roundel in his version of Henry VI’s Triumphal Entry into London and for a roundel in celebration of Henry VI’s coronation, and Charles d’Orleans writes English lyrics in this form which he calls ‘rundell’ in his English writing and chanson in his French autograph manuscript.  Hoccleve, however, uses the term to refer to poems in the form of a rondeau tercet, also calling this form a ‘cha(u)nceon’.

Larks and Quails

Today is ‘Whan That Aprille Day’, a celebration of ‘oold bokes yn sondrye oold tonges’ and languages which are Old, or Middle, or Ancient, or Dead.  I’d like to celebrate Charles of Valois, duke of Orleans, who wrote first in one language, French, and then another, English (and later still had his French poems translated into Latin).  Charles was taken prisoner at Agincourt in 1415 and was then held captive in England for twenty-five years.  During this time he translated some of his French poetry into English, and then wrote more English poetry, creating a long work (edited by Mary-Jo Arn as Fortunes Stabilnes) which combines lyric sequences and narrative sections.

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