Poetry Kaleidoscope: Guide to Poetry

Virelai ancien

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The virelai ancien is a poetic form originating in France in the Middle Ages. It uses a tercet of two long lines and one short line rhyming a-a-b to build stanzas. Each stanza can have any number of tercets. It uses a form of chain rhyme with the long lines of each new stanza rhyme with the long lines of the preceding one and the short lines of the final stanza rhyme with the long lines of the first one. A simple virelay ancien rhyme scheme might be: a-a-b-a-a-b, b-b-c-b-b-c, c-c-d-c-c-d, d-d-a-d-d-a.


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