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A villanelle (or occasionally villonelle) is a poem of nineteen lines, named for the French poet Francois Villon (1431-1474). It consists of five stanzas of three lines each (rhyme scheme A B A) with a quatrain (A B A A) at the end. In addition to the rhyme scheme, the first and third lines alternately recur throughout, and are repeated as the last two lines of the quatrain (see /Example).

Originally a French poetic form, it is not easily adaptable to English (a notable exception being Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night".)