What Is It Called When A Poem Rhymes?

by Amy

Rhyme in poetry refers to the repetition of similar sounds at the ends of lines or within lines of a poem. It is a fundamental element of poetic structure that enhances rhythm, musicality, and overall aesthetic appeal.

Types of Rhyme

End Rhyme

End rhyme occurs when words at the ends of lines rhyme with each other. For example:

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…”

Internal Rhyme

Internal rhyme involves rhyming words within the same line or between lines within a stanza. For instance:

“I drove myself to the lake and took a brake”

Slant Rhyme

Slant rhyme (or half rhyme) consists of words that have similar but not identical sounds. An example would be:

“Lake” and “break” or “shape” and “keep”

Eye Rhyme

Eye rhyme refers to words that look like they should rhyme because of their spelling, but do not sound alike. For example:

“Love” and “move”

Purpose and Effect of Rhyme

Rhythm and Musicality: Rhyme patterns create a rhythmic flow in poems, guiding the reader through the lines and adding a musical quality.

Emphasis: Rhyme emphasizes certain words or ideas, drawing attention to key themes or emotions within the poem.

Aesthetic Appeal: Rhyme enhances the aesthetic beauty of poetry, making it more pleasing to the ear and memorable for the reader.

Examples of Rhyme

Example 1 – End Rhyme: From Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”:

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary…”

Here, “dreary” and “weary” form an end rhyme, creating a rhythmic closure at the end of each line.

Example 2 – Internal Rhyme: From William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”:

“From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life…”

In this excerpt, “foes” and “loins” create an internal rhyme within the same line, enhancing the poetic flow.

Analysis: Rhyme in these examples contributes to the poems’ emotional impact by reinforcing the themes of sorrow and fate, respectively. The repetition of similar sounds creates a sense of unity and closure within each stanza.

See also: What Is The Poem Analysis For When The Day Begins Without Me?

Historical and Cultural Context

Historical Evolution: Rhyme has been integral to traditional forms such as sonnets, ballads, and epic poems, where consistent rhyme schemes were used to structure the narrative and reinforce thematic elements.

Modern and Contemporary Uses: In modern poetry, rhyme is often used more flexibly, with poets experimenting with free verse and unconventional rhyme schemes to create unique rhythmic patterns and enhance poetic expression.

Cultural Utilization: Different cultures and poetic traditions have utilized rhyme in diverse ways. For example, medieval European poetry relied heavily on strict rhyme schemes, while Arabic poetry developed intricate rhyme patterns known as “qafiya” and “radif.”

In conclusion, rhyme in poetry serves not only as a structural device but also as a powerful tool for enhancing meaning, rhythm, and aesthetic appeal. Its evolution across cultures and time periods underscores its enduring significance in the art of poetry, enriching the reader’s experience and connecting generations through shared literary traditions.

FAQs about Rhyme in Poetry

1. What is it called if a poem rhymes?

When a poem rhymes, it is said to have rhyme. Rhyme occurs when words at the ends of lines or within lines of poetry have similar sounds.

2. What do we call the way a poem rhymes?

The way a poem rhymes is called the rhyme scheme. It refers to the pattern of rhyming words or sounds within a poem.

3. What is it called when a poem rhymes every two lines?

When a poem rhymes every two lines, it is called a couplet. A couplet consists of two lines that rhyme with each other.

4. What is the rhyme scheme ABAB called?

The rhyme scheme ABAB is called alternate rhyme or cross rhyme. In this scheme, 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.

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