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I. Rhyme and Rhyme-Related Figures

I.1. Rhyme

1. The definition of rhyme

2. The basic types of rhyme: masculine and feminine

3. The position and function of rhyme


I.2. Assonance


I.3. Consonance


I.4. Alliteration


I.5. Eye-rhyme

I.6. Enjambment

I.7. Rhyme-schemes, stanza patterns

1. Rhyme-schemes

2. Stanza patterns

3. The function of rhyme schemes and stanza patterns


II. Verse, Versification

II.1. Accentual Syllabic Verse (Metre, Metrics)

1. The definition of metre and of accentual syllabic verse

2. Feet and lines in accentual syllabic verse

3. A few hints on scansion

4. The function of metrics, the use of scansion


II.2. Combinations of accentual syllabic verse and rhyme patterns


II.3. Accentual verse


II.4. Free verse

III. Poetic Forms and Genres

IV. Exercises

V. Links

Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

From Blake: ‘The Tyger’

The use of eye-rhyme in the opening and closing stanzas of Blake’s ‘Tyger’ is especially striking because all the other rhymes in the poem are perfect masculine rhymes. It is also significant that the word involved in this obvious dissymmetry is the word symmetry. The use of eye-rhyme indicates, therefore, that symmetry as a concept (associated in the poem with ‘framing’, with creation, with artistic activity) and the symmetry of the poem (dependent largely on the frame stanzas) are problematic, and these complications are an interesting contribution to the overall theme of the poem.


Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

From Shelley: ‘Ode to the West Wind’

The word wind could be pronounced to rhyme with mind or behind in Shelley’s time. However, the then emerging modern pronunciation of the word makes the status of the last rhyme in the poem dubious: it is both a full rhyme and just an eye-rhyme. This is clearly an appropriate accompaniment to the dubious status of the sentence in which the (eye-)rhyme occurs. At first sight this sentence appears to be a simple rhetorical question to which the answer must be an optimistic ‘no, spring cannot be far behind, death must be followed by rebirth’. However, if we examine the poem more closely, we will notice that the issue of rebirth raised in this question has two distinct aspects: a historical and a personal one. While in history the rebirth associated with the spring is indeed inevitable and therefore justifies the optimism, personal rebirth is impossible: there is no new spring for the individual. The rhetorical question implies both these aspects of the issue of rebirth and the eye-rhyme makes us realise that the seemingly obvious answer is in fact problematic.