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POETIC TRIFLES.                           245
The Rondeau has gradually grown out of the
older form given above, and became popularised
by Voltaire, who wrote many charming specimens
of it. The first example we quote is a clever
adaptation of one of the great Frenchman's best.
The poem consists of thirteen octosyllabic lines,
arranged in three stanzas of five, three, and five
verses each, with two rhymes only throughout, and
a refrain recurring at the end of the second and
third group.
You bid me try, Blue-eyes, to write
A Rondeau. What! forthwith ?—To-night ?
Reflect. Some skill I have, 'tis true ;
But thirteen lines !—and rhymed on two I— " Refrain," as well. Ah, hapless plight! Still there are five lines—ranged aright. These Gallic bonds, I feared, would fright
My easy Muse. They did, till you— You bid me try!
" That makes them eight.—The port's in sight:
'Tis all because your eyes are bright! Now just a pair to end in ' 00,'— When maids command, what can't we do!
Behold ! The Rondeau—tasteful, light—
You bid me try ! "
Without one kiss she's gone away, And stol'n the brightness out of day;
With scornful lips and haughty brow
She's left me melancholy now, In spite of all that I could say.