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or vir·e·lai  (vîr′ə-lā′)
n. pl. vir·e·lays or vir·e·lais
Any of several medieval French verse and song forms, especially one in which each stanza has two rhymes, the end rhyme recurring as the first rhyme of the following stanza.

[Middle English virelai, from Old French, alteration (influenced by lai, lay) of vireli, song refrain.]


1. (Poetry) an old French verse form, rarely used in English, consisting of short lines arranged in stanzas having only two rhymes, and two opening lines recurring at intervals
2. (Poetry) any of various similar forms
[C14: from Old French virelai, probably from vireli (associated with lai lay4), meaningless word used as a refrain]


or vir•e•lai

(ˈvɪr əˌleɪ)

n., pl. -lays or -lais.
an old French form of short poem, composed of short lines running on two rhymes and having two opening lines recurring at intervals.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Old French virelai]
References in periodicals archive ?
Et seur ce / je vous envoie un virelay / le quel iay fait * et se il y a aucune chose a amender / si le weilliez faire * car vous le sarez mieus faire que ie ne fais * car iay trop petit engien pour bien faire une tele besongne.
As Guillaume and the woman exchange ballads, ballad songs, lays, virelays, and rondeis, it may seem they have found a harmonious means of communication within the highly codified medium of the courtly romance lyric.
For one example, see the discussion of a virelay of Guillaume de Machaut in my Chaucer and His French Contemporaries (27-28).
Guillaume de Machaut, who popularized the new lyric genres such as the rondeau, ballade, lay, and virelay in the 14th century, is considered to have been the leader of the new rhetorique, or poetic art.
The standard virelay form has three stanzas, each preceded and followed by a refrain.
By degrees they introduced greater diversity into their compositions, and formed dits (ditties or moral songs), ballads, complaints, roundelays, and virelays, of which there were many varieties, and lastly fabliaux and lays, which perhaps only diered from each other by some peculiarity in their musical accompaniments' (i, p.
25, 1949: "I hope you and Jack kept it up well into the small hours, capping carryout with carryout, besting ballade with ballade, vying in virelays and triumphing with triolets.
Du Bellay is famous for declaring that the only French poets still worth reading are Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meung, (16) and by rejecting virtually all the traditional genres of French poetry, such as the virelays, rondeaux, and ballades; Du Bellay eschews them either for purely classical, and hence nationally-neutral genres such as the epigram, ode, and elegy, or for genres such as the sonnet which originate with Italy, France's great rival on the literary scene.
Guillaume also wrote lays and virelays, and his many rondeaux and ballades were instrumental in establishing these as set forms.