End Rhyme

Definition of End Rhyme

If you have ever sung a song or read a poem aloud, you must have encountered end rhymes, because these are a common type of rhyming pattern used in a poetic structure. End rhyme occurs when the last syllables or words in two or more lines rhyme with each other. It is also known as “tail rhyme,” and occurs at the ends of the lines. The lines ending in similar sounds are pleasant to hear, and give musical effect to the poem or song. This is called the end rhyme.

Types of Rhyme

There are several types of rhyme besides end rhyme, of which end rhyme is one of the most commonly used types of poetic rhymes. Other types of rhyme include:

  • End rhyme – It comes at the end of two successive lines.
  • Internal rhyme – It occurs within a single line or a verse.
  • Slant rhyme – The rhyming words sound similar; however, they are often not very close to make a complete rhyme.
  • Eye rhyme – It comprises of similar spellings, though not pronunciation, such as in “rough” and “through.”
  • Identical rhyme – It uses the same word having identical sense and sound.
  • Masculine rhyme – It ends on stressed syllables like in “bells” and “hells.”
  • Feminine rhyme – It rhymes on one or two unstressed syllables, like “enticing,” and “endicing.”
  • Monorhyme – It uses just a single rhyme in a stanza such as in Black’s poem “silent, silent night.”
  • Pararhyme – It uses vowels in identical consonant pairs, such as in the words “groined, and groaned.”

End Rhyme and Internal Rhyme

Internal rhyme uses two rhyming words within a single line of poetry, such as:

Example #1: The Raven (By Edgar Allen Poe)

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

However, end rhyme comprises of the final words or syllables of the lines such as:

Example #2: The Tyger (By William Blake)

“Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;”

Examples of End Rhyme in Literature

Mostly, Aesop’s fables are considered to have strong moral conclusions. However, almost all literary writings have some morals to be conveyed to readers. Literary works aimed at children are replete with moral lessons. They provide children with positive lessons and guidelines for the future. Maxims like “Be friends with whom you don’t like,” “Don’t judge people by the way they look,” and “Slow and steady wins the race” are normally the lessons found behind many stories.

Example #1: A Word is Dead (By Emily Dickinson)

“A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.”

As can be seen, the first and the second lines use end rhyme with the words “dead” and “said.” The other example of this rhyming pattern is in the third line with the sixth line on the words “say” and “day.” Thus, it is the choice of the poet whether to use end rhyme throughout the entire poem for creating strong rhythm, or use some other rhyming pattern.

Example #2: In Flanders Fields (By Colonel John McCrae)

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.”

In these lines, the words “blow” and “row” rhyme in the first and second lines, and word “below” in final line also rhyme with them. Similarly, words “sky” and “fly” rhyme in the third and fourth lines. The poet uses end rhyme to create rhythmic flow, as he describes his sorrow for fallen soldiers died in the World War I.

Example #3: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (By Robert Frost)

“Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

In this example, Frost has used end rhyme at the end of the first, second, and fourth lines with the words “know” “though,” and “snow.” These rhyming lines add flow to the piece, and a pleasant effect to the poem.

Example #4: Midstairs (By Virginia Hamilton Adair)

“And here on this turning of the stair
Between passion and doubt,
I pause and say a double prayer,
One for you, and one for you;
And so they cancel out.”

See end rhyme occurring on the final syllables “stair” and “prayer” of the first and third lines; and “doubt” and “out” in the second and fifth lines.

Function of End Rhyme

The poets often use end rhyme to create rhythm in their works. If they use it throughout the entire poem, then it creates a beautiful rhyming pattern, giving musical quality to the poem, because it adds flow in a perfect rhythmic way. It serves as a strong mnemonic device that facilitates memorization. In addition, its regular use marks off the ending of the lines, thus elucidating metrical structure for the audience. Songwriters also make use of it frequently to make their lyrics sound appealing, and often it becomes easier for the audience to remember.

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