RHYME , more correctly spelt RIME, from a Provencal word rim (its customary
See also:English spelling is due to a confusion with rhythm), a
See also:ornament or
See also:device consisting of an identity of sound in the terminal syllables of two or more words . In the
See also:art of versification it signifies the repetition of a sound at the end of two or more lines in a single composition . This artifice was practically unknown to the ancients, and, when it occurs, or seems to occur, in the
See also:works of classic Greek and Latin poets, it must be considered to be accidental . The natural tendency of the writer of
See also:verse unconsciously to repeat a sound, however, is shown by the fact that there have been discovered nearly one thousand lines in the writings of Virgil where the final syllable rhymes with a central one, thus Bella per Emathios plus quam civilia campos . It is more than doubtful, however, whether the difference of stress would. not prevent this from sounding as a rhyme in ou
See also:antique ear, and the phenomenon results more from the RHYME contingencies of grammar than from intention on the
See also:part of the poet . Conscious rhyme belongs to the early
See also:medieval periods of monkish literature, and the name given to lines with an intentional rhyme in the
See also:middle is Leonine verse, the invention being attributed to a probably apocryphal
See also:monk Leoninus or Leonius, who is supposed to be the author of a
See also:history of the Old Testament preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale of
See also:Paris . This " history " is composed in Latin verses, all of which rhyme in the centre . Another very famous poem in Leonine rhyme is the " De Contemptu Mundi " of
See also:Bernard of
See also:Cluny, which was printed. at
See also:Bremen in 1595• Rhyme exists to satisfy the ear by the richness of repeated sound . In the beginnings of
See also:modern verse, alliteration, a repetition of a consonant, satisfied the listener . A further ornament was discovered when assonance, a repetition of the vowel-sounds, was invented . Finally, both of these were combined to procure a full identity of sound in the entire syllable, and rhyme took its place in
See also:prosody . When this identity of sound occurs in the last syllable of a verse it is the typical end-rhyme of modern
See also:poetry .
See also:criticism has been inclined to look upon the
See also:church-Latin of the age of
See also:Tertullian as the starting-point of modern rhyme, and it is probable that the ingenuities of priests, invented to aid worshippers in
See also:hearing and singing long pieces of Latin verse in the ritual of the Catholic church produced the earliest conscious poems in rhyme . Moreover, not to give too
See also:great importance to the Leonine hexameters which have been mentioned above, it is certain that by the 4th century a school of rhymed sacred poetry had come into existence, classical examples of which we still possess in the " Stabat Mater " and the "
See also:Dies Irae." In the course of the middle ages, alliteration, assonance and end-rhyme held the
See also:field without a
See also:rival in vernacular poetry . There is no such thing, it may broadly be said, as medieval verse in which one or other of these distinguishing ornaments is not employed . After the 14th century, in the
See also:north of
See also:Europe, and indeed everywhere except in Spain, where assonance held a powerfut position, end-rhyme became universal and formed a distinctive indication of metrical construction . It was not until the invention of
See also:Blank Verse (q.v.) that rhyme found a modern rival, and in spite of the successes of this instrument rhyme has held its own, at all events for non-dramatic verse, in the
See also:principal literature of Europe . Certain forms of poetry are almost inconceivable without rhyme . For instance, efforts have been made to compose rhymeless sonnets, but the result has been, either that the piece of blank verse produced is not in any sense a sonnet, or else that by some artifice the appearance of rhyme has been retained . In the heyday of Elizabethan literature a serious attempt was made in England to reject rhyme altogether, and to return to the quantitative
See also:measures of the ancients . The
See also:prime mover in this
See also:heresy was not a poet at all, but a pedantic grammarian of Cambridge,
See also:Harvey (1545 ?–1630) . He considered himself a great innovator, and for a
See also:time he actually seduced no less melodious a poet than Edmund Spenser to abandon rhyme and adopt a
See also:system of accented hexameters and trimeters . Spenser even wrote largely in those measures, but the greater portion of his experiments in this kind, of which The Dying Pelican is supposed to have been one, have' disappeared . From 1576 to 1579 the
See also:genius of Spenser seems to have been obscured by this error of taste, but he shook it off completely when he composed The Shepherd's
See also:Calendar .
See also:Richard Stonyhurst (1547–1618) the most loyal of his disciples, and this author published in 1582 four books of the Aeneid translated into rhymeless hexameters on Harvey's plan . The result remains, a portent of ugliness and cacophony . A far greater poet,
See also:Thomas Campion (1575–1620), returned to the attack, and in a
See also:tract published in 1602 advocated the remission of rhyme from lyrical poetry . He, by dint of a prodigious effort, produced some unrhymed odes which were not without charm, but the best critics of the time, such as Daniel, repudiated the innovation, and rhyme continued to have no serious rival except blank verse . There have, from time to time, been made experiments of a similar nature, notably by
See also:Tennyson, but rhyme has retained its sway as an essential ornament of all English poetry which is not in blank verse . There have been not a few poems composed, principally in the nineteenth century, in rhymeless hexameters, and even the elegiac
See also:couplet has been attempted . The experiments of Long-
See also:fellow, Clough,
See also:Kingsley and others demand respectful
See also:notice, but it is more than doubtful whether any one of these, even the mellifluous
See also:Andromeda of the last-named writer, is really in harmony with the
See also:national prosody . In Germany a very determined attack on rhyme was made early in the seventeenth century, particularly by a
See also:group of aesthetic critics in the Swiss
See also:universities . They attacked rhyme as an artless
See also:species of sing-
See also:song, which deadened and destroyed the true
See also:movement of melody in the rhythm . The
See also:argument of this group of critics had a deep influence in German practice, and led to the composition of a vast number of works in unrhymed measures, in few of which, however, is now found a
See also:music which justifies the experiment . Lessing recalled the German poets to a sense of the beauty and value of rhyme, but the popularity of Klopstock and his imitators continued to exercise a great influence . Goethe and Schiller, without abandoning rhyme altogether, permitted themselves a great liberty in the employment of unrhymed measures and in imitation of classic metres .
This was carried to still greater lengths by Platen and
See also:Heine, the rhymeless rhythm of the last of whom was imitated in English verse by
See also:Arnold and others, not without an occasional measure of success . In France, on. the other
See also:hand, the
See also:empire of rhyme has always been triumphant, and in French literature the idea of rhymeless verse can scarcely be said to exist . There the rime pleine or riche, in which not merely the sound but the emphasis is perfectly identical, is insisted upon, and a poet who rhymed as Mrs
See also:Browning did, or made " flying " an
See also:equivalent in sound to "
See also:Zion," would be deemed illiterate . In French, two species of rhyme are accepted, the feminine and the masculine . Feminine rhymes are those which end in a
See also:mute e, masculine those which do not so end . The Alexandrine, which is the classical metre in French, is built up on what are known as rimes croisees, that is to say a couplet of masculine rhymes followed by a couplet of feminine, and that again by masculine . This
See also:rule is unknown to the medieval poetry of France . In
See also:Italian literature the excessive abundance and facility of rhyme has led to a
See also:rebellion against its use, which is much more reasonable than that of the Germans, whose strenuous language seems to
See also:call for an emphatic uniformity of sound . But it was the influence of German
See also:aesthetics which forced upon the notice of
See also:Leopardi the possibility of introducing rhymeless lyrical measures into Italian verse, an innovation which be carried out with remarkable hardihood and success . The rhymeless odes of Carducci are also worthy of admiration, and may be compared by the student with those of Heine and of Matthew Arnold respectively . Nevertheless, in Italian also, the ear demands the pleasure of the full reiterated sound, and the experiments of the eminent poets who have rejected it have claimed respect rather than sympathy or imitation . At the close of the 19th century, particularly in France, where the rules of rhyme had been most rigid, an effort to modify and minimise these restraints was widely made .
There is no doubt that the
See also:laws of rhyme, like other artificial regulations, may be too severe, but there is no evidence that the natural beauty which pure rhyme introduces into poetry is losing its hold on the human ear or is in any real danger of being superseded by
See also:accent or rhythm . See
See also:Joseph B . Mayer, A Handbook of Modern English Metre (Cambridge, 1903); J . Minor, Neuhochdeutsche Metrik (Strassburg, 1893) ; J . B . Schutze, Versuch einer Theorie
See also:des Reimes nach Inhalt and
See also:Form (
See also:Magdeburg, 18o2) . (E .
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