A page from the "Poetry through the Ages" exhibit...

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The triolet consists of eight lines, with two rhymes and two repeating lines. The opening line repeats itself in the fourth and seventh lines, while the second and eighth lines repeat.

The triolet resembles and precedes the rondeau as a written form, in part because rondeaux were exclusively performed as courtly folk songs until the 14th century. Conversely, triolet was purely literary and spoken. In a sense, the triolet is the poetic cousin of the rondeau, since both derived from the rondel.

Rhyme: abaaabab
Structure: Eight lines; opening line repeats in fourth and seventh lines; second and eighth lines repeat
Measure/Beat: Iambic tetrameter
Common Themes: Human folly, relationship, triumph, journey
Other Notes:
  • One of the most tight-knit structures of the Provencal poet-musician movement
  • Often dealt with light-hearted subjects