Chant Royal Poetry Form

A French poetic form and variation of the ballad form,
it consists of five (or three) 11-line stanzas
(there are variations, and some sources allow 8-16 lines)
and an envoi of 5 or 7 lines. The meter is not determined.
Each line should be of the same length.  The form uses a refrain at the end of each stanza and the end of the envoi.
The rhyme scheme is
 ababccddedE with ccddedE or ddedE for the envoi.
The poet may aim to avoid repeating a rhyme word throughout the poem’s length. The form is traditionally used for
stately or heroic subjects.
The envoi  traditionally addresses a “Prince”.
Have seen in both in Tetrameter and Pentameter so take your choice.
Related forms: Ballade, Ballade StanzaBallade Supreme, Double Ballade, Canzone II, Chanso, Double Ballade Supreme, Double Refrain Ballade, Double Refrain Ballade Supreme, Grand Ballade or Chant Royal.

Example Poem
Foolish Quests (Chant Royal) (Version 2)
I wooed and won a girl more bold than I.
She led the way, resolving mutual lust.
She urged my hand to feel her velvet thigh
and revel in the softness of her bust.
In focused fascination we’d convene
in what without our love might seem obscene.
A call to duty meant I had to leave;
to think she’d wait would simply be naive.
I married her and bound her with my name
For each of us, out minds now felt relieved.
The future will be what our now became.
I sought success and things success could buy
A house, a boat, income that one could trust.
The babies came, we didn’t have to try,
and diligence at work became my thrust.
I placed my love in virtual quarantine
and let my chase for money intervene.
My wife, neglected home alone, felt peeved;
her urges, often times, I’d not perceived.
Her burning passion rose above a game
and my ineptness she could not believe.
The future will be what our now became.
Her figure beckoned, pleasing to the eye
her manner teased and oft left men non-plussed,
but when she chose, she’d exit with a guy,
and quenched a thirst we’d really not discussed.
My toiling for a future still unseen
had painted me as coldly philistine.
Forsaking beauty that we might have weaved
my tunnel-vision left us both aggrieved.
I thought she knew my love remained the same,
(I should have worn my heart upon my sleeve).
The future will be what our now became.
Oh Prince! prithee, praise, please, and bliss your queen
and growl in lust should she show sultry mien.
One’s love needs nurturing to be believed,
with passion often given and received.
Mere years ought not allow your spark to tame;
it’s grand what frequent ardor can achieve.
The future will be what our now became.
© Lawrence Eberhart – Feb 1, 2016
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3-Stanza, pentameter version


Foolish Quests (Chant Royal) (Version 4)

We both were under Hebe’s*sway
the day I took a slight detour
and found a road-side hide-away
where she was their delight du jure.
Her ample bust and winsome smile
made eating there each day worthwhile.
Curvaceousness was her domain;
testosterone’s a young man’s bane .
Our fascination thereby excused
her repartee was our champagne.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
With her I had fun things to say
I teased and told her jokes galore
we both enjoyed the interplay.
My friend said, “I think you can score.”
Without a scheme and lacking guile
I doubted that, that’s not my style.
The notion was almost profane
that surely was not my campaign
of such you must be disabused.
We simply flirted while we schmoozed.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
‘Ere long I brought her a bouquet
since we’d established great rapport;
she thought a date would be okay
her “Yes.” set my young heart to soar.
With tactics measured to beguile
she put to me a carnal trial;
I certainly would not abstain
nor did my consciousness complain;
we neither of us felt misused
not once or twice or yet again.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
To bind her so she would not stray,
when Navy sent me from this shore
we wed before I went away;
we were betrothed forevermore.
Though often gone for quite a while,
my need to serve, we’d reconcile.
To propagate, we both were fain
so mostly pregnant she’d remain.
when children came we were enthused.
(The husband doesn’t feel the pain.)
A future’s bought with minutes used.
The creed caused her dismay;
(I worked all day, then worked some more
to business greed I’d fallen prey
but then it seemed a needed chore.)
I thought my effort to stockpile
more cash and toys was nothing vile.
A loss of passion was no gain,
so she sought out another swain
to take that which I’d disabused.
(Which here and now, I can explain.)
A future’s bought with minutes used.
The queen, the king must not exile,
a part of love must be tactile.
To strive for gold’s to strive in vain
when you have love and lust to reign
and even if you’re not accused
relationships will still be bruised.
A future’s bought with minutes used.
© Lawrence Eberhart – February 5, 2016
Reworked with assistance from
Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Iambic Tetrameter Visual Template
chant royal3




Structure, Metrical Requirement, Rhyme Scheme Requirement, Isosyllabic, Simple


A complete poem composed of one ballade stanza: eight or ten-syllable isosyllabic lines rhyming ababbcbc.

Also known as the Monk’s Tale Stanza.





Rhythm/Stanza Length:


Line/Poem Length:


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My Thanks to Charles Weatherford for the fine resource above.

  • Huitain, is an octastich, a poem in 8 lines. It is made up of a single Ballade stanza without an envoy. The verse form was most popular in the 16th century and was often used for epigrams in the 18th century. One source suggests the Hutain may have begun in Spain with the simple 8 syllable by 8 line frame which is typical of early Spanish verse. Which came first and who influenced who, who knows. The French were sometimes known to use the frame for a collaborative poem between 2 or more poets. Each poet contributing a hutain around a central theme.The Huitain is an octastich written in octasyllabic lines, the most common rhyme scheme ababbcbc.


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 My Thanks to Judi Van Gorder for the fine resource above.
The true Huitain is a single verse, eight line poem with eight syllables per line.
The French form began as the Spanish with eight lines of eight syllables, but it also allowed for the continuation of the poem in additional eight line stanzas. It was even accepted as a form of collaborative poetry with several poets each contributing their own eight line stanza.
The English, with their fondness for iambic pentameter, also accepted ten syllable lines, but to me this strays too far from the original intent of the form. Myself, I stuck to the original, Spanish rules. My example is eight lines of eight syllables each. 🙂

Various rhyme schemes that have been accepted:
French/English #1: ababbcbc
French/English #2: abbaacac
Spanish #1: ababacac
Spanish #2: abbaacca 
Example Poem
Today’s Press Too (Huitan – French/English # 2)
“First get your facts said young Mark Twain,
then …distort them as you (may) please,”
an editorial newsprint tease.
The politicians all do feign
to patiently their points explain,
but facts seem bothersome at best,
when asked details they will abstain.
They give just “views” then let you guess.
Lawrencealot – November 12, 2012
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A Kyrielle is a French form of rhyming poetry written in quatrains (a stanza consisting of 4 lines),
 and each quatrain contains a repeating line or phrase as a refrain.
Each line within the poem  consists of only eight syllables.
There is no limit to the amount of stanzas a Kyrielle may have, but three is considered the accepted minimum.
Some popular rhyming schemes for a Kyrielle are: aabB ccb, ddbB (aabBccbddbB),
or abaB, cbcB, dbdB (abaBcbcBdbdB) with B being the refrain.
Related Forms: KyrielleDouble Refrain KyrielleLaiLai Nouveau, Viralai Ancien, Viralai, Virelet

Example Poem
Til the Earless Bunny
Til was a bunny born earless
but that mattered not, still fearless
he played in the hay, and  was  spry.
Sometimes things happen- we wonder why.
Genetic change, says Darwin cause
species to  evolve, now just pause
and consider, penquins can’t fly.
Sometimes things happen- we wonder why.
With ears Til might have heard the threat,
Of near by feet and be here yet
Til lived until he was to die.
Sometimes things happen- we wonder why.
Author Note:
The fate of 17-day-old Til, a bunny with a genetic defect,
was plastered across German newspapers on Thursday,
the same day a small zoo in Saxony was to have presented him
to the world at a press conference.
The cameraman told Bild newspaper he hadn’t seen Til,
who had buried himself in hay, when he took the fateful
step backward Wednesday.
© Lawrencealot – April 8, 2012
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The Quatern is a French form that consists of four quatrains (4-line stanzas),
with 8 syllables in each line.
The first line of stanza 1 is repeated as a refrain line as the second line of stanza 2,
the third line of stanza 3 and the last line of stanza 4.
There is no set meter or rhyme scheme.
Possible rime schemes  –  virtually any are ok
i. Abab, cAca, adAd, eaeA
ii. Aabb, aAbb, bbAa, bbaA
iii. Axax, xAxa, axAx, xaxA
Example Poem
Write a Quatern
This line shall serve as a refrain.
Each stanza moves it down again.
This form is in tetrameter,
but may be done pentameter
Though that does go against the grain.
This line shall serve as a refrain.
The first two lines were fine iambs,
But in the next, that meter scrams.
No meter is required at all
which makes choosing good words, a ball.
This line shall serve as a refrain.
Rhyming with refrain is no strain.
Just two more lines will do the trick.
Then we are finished pretty quick
You’re forced to “a” rhyme once again.
This line shall serve as a refrain.
© Lawrencalot – April 1, 2012
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There is some confusion online as to the meaning of the term “roundelay,” with some references confusing it with the French “rondelet” and others describing it as any poem with a refrain. Actually, the roundelay, rondelet, rondeau, rondel, and other similar sounding poems all spring from a common French origin, but are all very different in contemporary use. The roundelay’s many repeating couplets and limited rhymes can make it a difficult form to write, but as with many successful poems with refrains, can also make for profound or esoteric poetry.
The roundelay consists of four sestets (six-line stanzas) made up of twelve repeating couplets (two-line stanzas, one of which repeats as each stanza’s last two lines. The stanzas’ couplets A,B,C,D ,E and R (the continuing refrain) combine in the following pattern:
A B R … B C R … C D R … D E R
So, in the second stanza, “B C R” represents six-lines (three couplets), with couplet “B” repeating from the first stanza, couplet “C” repeating in the following stanza, and its last couplet “R” repeating as every stanza’s last two lines. In addition, each couplet’s first line rhymes with other couplets’ first lines and all second lines rhyme with each other as well, making the rhyme scheme:
a-b-a-b-a-b … a-b-a-b-a-b … a-b-a-b-a-b … a-b-a-b-a-b
Remember that in a rhyming pattern, lines ending in a sound designated by “a” only rhyme with other “a” lines, “b” lines only with other “b” lines, and so on.
Trochaic tetrameter (four feet of “DUM-dah” per line, see “Meter”) is a requirement, but it is permissible for some of the lines to be one syllable short.

Related forms: Dryden’s Roundelay, Rondelet, Roundelay, Termelay

Example Poem
Write a Roundelay
Write in Trochees, DUM da sounding.
Search for words with good rhyme rating.
Rhymes once used will be compounding.
Words that fit will be elating.
Couplets through the verse, go bounding.
stuck together as though dating.
Rhymes once used will be compounding.
Words that fit will be elating.
Doubters now you’ll be confounding.
Roundelays you’re now creating.
Couplets through the verse, go bounding.
stuck together as though dating.
Doubters now you’ll be confounding.
Roundelays you’re now creating.
Couplets you composed.. astounding.
Each of them adds their own weighting.
Couplets through the verse, go bounding.
stuck together as though dating.
Couplets you composed.. astounding.
Each of them adds their own weighting.
I’m glad this poem is abating.
This is getting aggravating.
Couplets through the verse go bounding.
stuck together as though dating.
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