Which Type Of Poem Has Rhyme As One Of Its Characteristics?

by Amy

Rhyme is a fundamental element in poetry that enriches its musicality, rhythm, and overall aesthetic appeal. This article delves into various poetic forms known for their use of rhyme schemes, exploring their historical context, literary techniques, and providing examples that illustrate how rhyme enhances poetic meaning and emotional impact.

Definition and Explanation

Rhyme in poetry refers to the repetition of similar sounding words, typically at the end of lines, creating a pattern that enhances the poem’s rhythm and musicality. Rhyme contributes to the structural integrity of a poem and can reinforce its thematic coherence and emotional resonance.

Types of Poetic Forms with Rhyme

Poetic forms commonly utilizing rhyme include:


Definition: A sonnet traditionally consists of 14 lines, often written in iambic pentameter, with a specific rhyme scheme.

Examples: Shakespearean (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG) and Petrarchan (ABBAABBACDCDCD) sonnets.

Characteristics: Sonnets explore themes of love, mortality, and philosophical reflections, utilizing rhyme to structure complex arguments or emotional revelations.


Definition: Narrative poems that often tell a story of folklore or legend, employing alternating rhyme and a refrain.

Examples: Traditional ballads like “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Characteristics: Ballads use rhyme to maintain narrative coherence and create a musical quality that aids in oral transmission and memorization.


Definition: Humorous poems with a specific rhyme scheme (AABBA), traditionally featuring witty or nonsensical content.

Examples: “There once was a man from Nantucket…”

Characteristics: Limericks use rhyme and rhythm to create a playful, light-hearted tone, often concluding with a punchline or unexpected twist.


Definition: Poems of praise or reflection, often addressed to a person, place, or abstract concept, structured with rhymed stanzas.

Examples: “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats.

Characteristics: Odes employ rhyme to elevate their subject matter, celebrating beauty, inspiration, or philosophical insights with lyrical grace.

Rhyme Scheme Variations

Different rhyme schemes such as AABB, ABAB, ABCB, etc., impact the poem’s:

Tone: Establishing a mood that ranges from playful to melancholic.

Pacing: Influencing the rhythm and flow of verses.

Thematic Development: Reinforcing key ideas or contrasting themes through structured repetition.

Historical and Cultural Context

The evolution of rhyme in poetry reflects:

Classical Influences: Ancient Greek and Roman poets used rhyme in various forms of lyrical and epic poetry.

Medieval and Renaissance Periods: Rhyme became integral to troubadour songs, medieval ballads, and the development of sonnet sequences.

Modern Adaptations: Poets from diverse cultures and movements continue to innovate rhyme schemes, adapting them to reflect contemporary themes and societal changes.

See also: Which Type Of Poem Is Most Likely To Be Set To Music?

Literary Techniques

Poets employ rhyme alongside:

Meter: Establishing rhythmic patterns that enhance oral delivery and auditory engagement.

Symbolism and Imagery: Amplifying thematic motifs and sensory descriptions through structured repetition.

Sound Devices: Utilizing consonance, assonance, and alliteration to complement rhyme and enrich textual resonance.

Examples and Analysis

Examples of well-known poems demonstrate how rhyme contributes to:

Aesthetic Appeal: Enhancing the poem’s beauty and memorability.

Coherence: Structuring narrative arcs or thematic explorations.

Emotional Depth: Evoking reader empathy or introspection through rhythmic unity and poetic resonance.


Rhyme is a cornerstone of poetic expression, enriching verses with its musicality and thematic reinforcement. Through centuries of literary tradition and cultural evolution, poets have utilized rhyme schemes to craft enduring works that resonate across time and space. By understanding the diverse forms and techniques of poems with rhyme, readers appreciate the artistry and enduring appeal of structured verse in conveying human experiences and universal truths.

FAQs about poems that rhyme

1. What are poems that rhyme called?

Poems that rhyme are commonly referred to as rhyming poems. Rhyme adds a musical quality to poetry, enhancing its rhythm and aesthetic appeal. Various poetic forms utilize rhyme to structure verses and reinforce thematic coherence.

2. What is an example of an ABAB poem?

An ABAB poem follows a specific rhyme scheme where the ending words of the first and third lines rhyme with each other, and the ending words of the second and fourth lines rhyme with each other. An example of an ABAB poem is:

Roses are red (A)
Violets are blue (B)
Sugar is sweet (A)
And so are you (B)

This rhyme scheme (ABAB) creates a balanced and rhythmic pattern throughout the poem.

3. Do sonnets have to rhyme?

Traditionally, sonnets do have rhyme schemes. The two most common types of sonnets, the Shakespearean and Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnets, both have specific rhyme schemes:

Shakespearean Sonnet: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG

Petrarchan Sonnet: ABBAABBACDCDCD

These rhyme schemes help structure the sonnet’s 14 lines, contributing to its musicality and thematic development. However, modern poets may sometimes use variations or free verse for sonnets, departing from strict rhyme schemes.

4. What is an alternate rhyme poem?

An alternate rhyme poem, also known as alternate rhyme scheme, is a poetic form where the rhyme pattern alternates between lines. The most common alternate rhyme scheme is ABAB, where the first line rhymes with the third, and the second line rhymes with the fourth, and so on. This rhyme scheme creates a balanced and structured pattern that enhances the poem’s rhythmic flow and thematic coherence.

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