The rondeau was a poetic form which was set to music in France in the 14th and 15th centuries. It has become an English language poetic form which is now written without a musical accompaniment.

A rondeau is comprised of three stanzas containing a total of 15 lines, 13 of which are eight-syllable lines. The poem also has three rhymes.

There is a refrain which appears three times—as the beginning of the first line, the entire last line in the second stanza, and the entire last line of the third stanza.

Rhyming Patterns and Stanzas in a Rondeau

Stanza 1
a (includes the refrain) – a – b – b – a

Stanza 2
a – a – b – refrain c

Stanza 3
a – a – b – b – a – refrain c