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The word is from the diminutive of rondel, meaning round. This is the basic structure:
Line 1 :: A -- four syllables
Line 2 :: b -- eight syllables
Line 3 :: A -- repeat of line one
Line 4 :: a -- eight syllables
Line 5 :: b -- eight syllables
Line 6 :: b -- eight syllables
Line 7 :: A -- repeat of line one
The refrained lines should contain the same words, however - substitution or different use of punctuation on the lines has been common.
In addition to being a literary term, Rondelet is also the name of an annual formal dance at Rice University, traditionally held in the spring.