• Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Virelay An ancient French song, or short poem, wholly in two rhymes, and composed in short lines, with a refrain.☞ “The virelay admitted only two rhymes, and, after employing one for some time, the poet was virer, or to turn, to the other.” "Of such matter made he many lays,
      Songs, complains, roundels, virelayes ."
      "To which a lady sung a virelay ."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n virelay An old French form of poem, in short lines, running on two rimes; also, a succession of stanzas on two rimes, and of indeterminate length, the rime of the last line of each becoming the rime of the first couplet in the next, thus: a, a, b, a, a, b, a, a, b; b, b, c, b, b, c, b, b, c; c, c, d, c, c, d, c, c, d; etc. In a nine-line lay the rime-order is as follows: a, a, b,a,a, b, a, a, b. The virelai nouveau is written on two rimes throughout; and the lines of the first couplet reappear alternately at irregular intervals throughout the poem, concluding it in reverse order. No rime should be re peated. [This form has been written in English but sparingly. Except by example, it is difficult to explain it. Here is the beginning of one:
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Virelay vir′e-lā an ancient kind of French poem in short lines, and consisting of only two rhymes, their order as well as the length of the verses being arbitrary.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. virelai,; virer, to turn + lai, a song, a lay
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. virelaivirer, to turn, lai, a song.


In literature:

A virelay or a triolet.
"Patty's Success" by Carolyn Wells
He took much delight in minstrelsy, and at his midnight supper songs and virelays were chanted to him.
"The Red True Story Book" by Various
In the lines which have been quoted he speaks of the "ballades, roundels, and virelayes" which he had composed.
"Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 9" by Various