We explain a rhyme and how this poetic element can be classified. In addition, rhyme is a literary resource.

What is rhyme?

Rhyme comes from Latin rhythms (rhythm or cadence) and is an element used in poetry. This consists of the repetition of a sound at the end of the lines of a poem. This repetition or similarity is found in the last stressed vowel of the line.

The rhyme can be of two types:

Rhyme. When after the last stressed vowel, every sound (both vowels and consonants) is precisely repeated.
Assonance rhyme. When only the vowel sounds are repeated and not the consonants, a consonant rhyme would be “heaven led me to mourning” or “I looked out the window in the morning.” Instead, the assonance rhyme is “the traveler composed a sonnet.”

Then, lines that do not contain rhyme can be called free rhyme.

Another classification of rhymes can be made according to the syllable in which the last accent is found:

Oxytonous or acute. Last syllable, as in the case of “sang”.
Paroxysmal or severe Penultimate syllable, for example, “sleep”.
Proparoxytone or esdrújula. Antepenultimate syllable, as “typical”.

The rhyme does not always occur between two consecutive verses within a stanza, but different combinations can be made, as in the case of: “The clouds were passing / Over the youth field / I saw trembling in the leaves / The fresh rains of april”. Here, the word “passing” from the first line rhymes consonantly with “trembling” from the third line, and “juvenile” does it with “April”.

In this way, another classification of rhymes can be made, being:

  • Continuous rhyme that which presents the combination of verses AAAA or bbbb, that is to say, that the rhyme is repeated in all the verses;
  • Chained or crossed rhyme (abab), where there is a verse in between;
  • Paired rhyme (aa bb cc) when it is in pairs in a row;
  • Embraced rhyme (abba, bccb), in which another team escort thyme steam at each end.

Rhyme as a poetic and literary resource

Since ancient times, rhyme has been used as a poetic resource, and one of the most important exponents was the Spanish Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870), who, during Romanticism, used rhyme in short poems. Others were Giovanni Boccaccio, a somewhat earlier Italian poet (1313-1375), and the Spanish Juan de Jáuregui y Aguilar (1583-1641). Today, free or blank verse (without rhyme) is predominant in poetics.

A type of poetry that uses very characteristic rhyme is Romance, which began spreading orally until it was compiled in writing around the fifteenth century, for which many of its authors are anonymous. They are composed of octosyllabic verses, which rhyme in pairs in an assonance way.

Rhyme is not only used in poetry but also in songs, riddles, and tongue twisters. For example, a rhyming puzzle would be: “In spring I delight you/In summer I refresh you/In autumn I feed you/And in winter I warm you”.

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