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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

Chapter Three - Rhyme


The most common meaning of “rhyme” is the sameness or identity of sound between two words at the end of lines of verse, an identity that includes a stressed vowel and whatever follows it, if anything: a consonant or two, another syllable or two (if unstressed), even another (unstressed) word. So, in a million poems and songs, “moon” and “June” are united by rhyme, or “love” and “dove.” Bisyllabic rhymes are stressed on the second-last syllable, as in “marriage” and “carriage,” or “spoken” and “awoken.” Trisyllabic rhymes are stressed on the third-last syllable, such as “history” and “mystery”; they are often deployed for comic purposes, such as when Byron rhymes “gunnery” with “nunnery,” or “goddesses” with “bodices” (Don Juan 1.38, 41). Tetrasyllabic rhymes show up in Ogden Nash’s poems, for example, when he pairs “antidisestablishmentarianism” with “antiquarianism” (“No, You Be a Lone Eagle”).