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End Rhyme

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End Rhyme

End rhyme definition

End rhyme is the rhyming of final syllables in two or more lines of poetry. The 'end' in End Rhyme refers to the placement of the rhyme - at the end of the line. This is similar to internal rhyme, which refers to rhyme in a single line of poetry.

What is the end of the rhyme?

End Rhyme Image of an open book with the last page saying 'the end' StudySmarterEnd rhyme concludes a line in the same way that 'the end' concludes a play or a book. - Wikimedia Commons.

Most poets use end rhymes; they are a common feature of poetry. Think of the most famous poems, such as William Shakespeare's ' Sonnet 18 ' (1609):

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date;

The final word of each line rhymes - 'day' and 'May', 'temperate' and 'date'. This is an example of end rhyme.

Why do you think Shakespeare felt the need to use end rhymes here? What could he have been trying to achieve?

End rhyme examples

End rhyme in poetry

Below are some more examples of end rhymes. Ask yourself what impact the use of end rhymes has on your understanding of the poem. Do they make the poem flow better? Do they make the poem sound more pleasant? Do they emphasise the poet's message?

William Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 130' (1609):

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes there is more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

The end rhymes present: sun-dun, red-head, white-delight, cheeks-reeks.

At first, a reader / listener might be inclined to believe this poem is a declaration of love to the speaker's 'mistress'. However, upon deeper analysis it is clear Shakespeare is reversing the typical expectations of a love poem.

The end rhymes in this poem help to maintain that feeling of declarative love throughout the poem - each rhyme seems to add importance to the speaker's feelings about his lover's features.

The point is that the end rhymes support the listener's expectation that this will likely be a clichéd romantic poem for Shakespeare's time. This is then totally reversed once the listener actually pays attention to what is being said: the unflattering comparisons the speaker makes about his mistress reveal the true satirical nature of the poem.

End rhymes can be used to maintain the conventions of a particular style of poem (a romantic sonnet in this case), for the purpose of turning the reader's expectations on their head.

Emily Dickinson's 'Poem 313 / I should have been too glad, I see' (1891):

I should have been too glad, I see

Too lifted for the scan degree

Of Life's penurious round

My little circuit would have shamed

This new circumference have been blamed

The homelier time behind.

The end rhymes present: see-degree, shamed-blamed.

Arguably, choosing not to end the final line of the stanza with a rhyme is what catches the reader's attention.

The rhyme scheme AABCCD creates an interruption with lines three and six, which slows the poem down at both points in the stanza by drawing the reader's attention to the noticeably missing end rhyme. It catches the reader by surprise, who expects the repetition of a rhyming pattern.

Therefore, end rhymes can be used to draw attention to a particular line the poet wants the reader / listener to focus on.

Lord Byron's 'She Walks in Beauty' (1814):

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

The end rhymes present: night-bright-light, skies-eyes-denies.

Lord Byron uses end rhymes to craft his ABABAB rhyme scheme. He creates vivid imagery by comparing the woman's beauty to the sky. This comparison shouldn't seem as dramatic and grandiose as it does, but end rhymes are used effectively to give that effect.

The use of end rhymes here brings the simile to life by creating a rhythmic pattern that makes the poem feel like a bold declaration of the speaker's love for the 'beautiful' woman.

Therefore, end rhymes can be used to dramatize or add importance / weight to a poem.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 'Paul Revere's Ride' (1860):

But mostly he watched with eager search

The belfry tower of the Old North Church,

As it rose above the graves on the hill,

Lonely and spectral and summer and still.

And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height

A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!

He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,

But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight

A second lamp in the belfry burns.

The end rhymes present: search-church, hill-still, height-light-sight, turns-burns.

Longfellow uses end rhymes in this poem for a purpose similar to Lord Byron's 'She Walks in Beauty'. The rhyme scheme, AABBCCDCD, creates a rhythmic pattern that is pleasant to listen to. In particular, end rhymes here help to add significance / importance to the speaker's description of this belfry tower that we as listeners / readers have likely never heard of.

This poem is dark and melancholic at first, describing a solemn tower that stands tall beside a gravesite. However, it picks up, becoming more energetic and upbeat as the poem describes a 'gleam of light'. The change in rhyme scheme towards the end from AABBCC to DCD is what speeds up the poem. As soon as the pace of the poem picks up with the descriptive verb 'spring' the poet chooses to leave out an end rhyme.

Try reading the poem aloud to see if you naturally speed up from line 7. The change in tone from sober to alert and active results in a natural desire for the speaker to rush to the next line.

Therefore, end rhymes, or a sudden lack of end rhyme, can be used to increase a reader or listener's level of engagement.

Examples of end rhymes in songs

End rhymes are perhaps the most consistent feature of song writing nowadays. They make it easy for fans to learn the words of their favourite songs, and they are what often popularise many songs in the first place. They also add musicality and rhythm to lines that are useful in creating songs.

End rhyme, rhyming in songs.  studysmarterEnd rhyme is used a lot in song writing to create more catchy lyrics. - freepik

Can you think of any songs that don't end each line with a rhyme?

Most songwriters recognise that rhyming the end of each line creates a pleasant feeling in the listener. It's the reason certain songs are so catchy!

Here are some examples of popular end rhymes in songs:

One Direction 'What Makes You Beautiful':

you're insecure

Don't know what for

You're turning heads when you walk

Through the door

End Rhymes present: insecure-for-door.

Carly Rae Jepsen 'Call Me Maybe':

I threw a wish in the well, Don't ask me, I'll never tell, I looked to you as it fell And now you're in my way

End Rhymes present: well-tell-fell.

Often, when writers cannot create a perfect rhyme with two words, they use slant rhyme to achieve their goal of rhyming the end syllables of each line.

A slant rhyme is the rhyming of two words that share similar but not identical sounds.

Tupac 'Changes':

I see no changes, all I see is racist faces Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races We under, I wonder what it takes to make this one better place, let's erase the wasted

The End Rhymes present: faces-races-make this-wasted.

Tupac rhymes faces and races, which is a perfect end rhyme. However, he also rhymes these words with 'make this' and 'wasted'. These words all share similar 'ay' and 'i' vowel sound (f-ay-siz, r-ay-siz, m-ay-k th-is and w-ay-st-id), but their sounds are not identical. They are slant rhymes.

Slant rhymes are commonly used with end rhymes to maintain that sense of rhythm throughout a verse or stanza.

Why use end rhyme words?

  • Creates a rhythmic, musical sound - euphony

Euphony in poetry is the musicality and pleasantness in the sound / quality of certain words.

End rhymes create a rhythmic pattern in poetry that is pleasing to the ear. This means end rhymes are used for the purpose of euphony by creating pleasure through rhythmic repetition that listeners can enjoy.

  • Useful mnemonic device.

Rhyming each line can make the words more memorable.

  • Maintain the conventions of a particular style of poem, for the purpose of turning the reader's expectations on their head.

As seen in Shakespeare's Sonnet 130, end rhymes often lead the listener to have certain expectations about the poem, that can be cleverly subverted.

  • Draw attention to a particular line you as a poet want your reader / listener to focus on.

End rhymes are used to maintain a rhyme scheme, and can be used to draw attention by using a missing end rhyme to subvert the expectations of the listener who comes to expect this repetitive rhyming pattern.

  • Dramatize or add importance / weight to a poem.

The intentionality of a rhyming pattern that makes use of end rhymes can add substance and importance to a poet's words.

  • Increase a reader / listener's engagement in the narrative the poet is describing.

A missing end rhyme can cause a change in pace of the poem's rhythm, which increases a listener's engagement.

End Rhyme - Key takeaways

  • End rhyme is the rhyming of the final syllables in two or more lines of poetry.
  • End rhymes are used for the purpose of euphony by creating pleasantness through rhythmic repetition that listeners can enjoy.
  • End rhymes can make the words more memorable and easier to memorise for readers / listeners.
  • Slant rhymes are commonly used with end rhymes to maintain that sense of rhythm throughout a verse or stanza.
  • End rhymes add a musicality and rhythm to words that is useful in creating songs.

Frequently Asked Questions about End Rhyme

Emily Dickinson's 'Poem 313 / I should have been too glad, I see' (1891) is an example of an end rhyme:


I should have been too glad, I see 

Too lifted for the scant degree

An end rhyme scheme can vary, all it needs is for the last words of two or more lines to rhyme. Examples of end rhyme schemes are AABCCD, AABBCC, and ABAB CDCD.

To create end rhyme in a poem, two or more lines in the poem have to rhyme. The rhyme doesn't necessarily need to be in the final line of the poem.

An example of end rhyme can be seen in Shakespeare's sonnet 18:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date;

There is end rhyme in this poem as 'day' and 'May' rhyme, as does 'temperate' and 'date.'

If the end word of a line in a poem rhymes with the end word of another line in the poem, it is called end rhyme.

Final End Rhyme Quiz

Question

What type of rhyme is defined as 'rhyming words within a single line of poetry'?

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Answer

Internal rhyme

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Question

Is this an example of an end rhyme?:

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

Show answer

Answer

No because the final syllable of each line does not rhyme.

Show question

Question

Why is this an example of an end rhyme?

My little circuit would have shamed 

This new circumference have blamed

Show answer

Answer

The final syllables of each line rhyme - this is an end rhyme.

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Question

Fill in the blanks: ________ in poetry is the musicality and pleasantness in the sound/quality of certain words. 

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Answer

Euphony

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Question

What two types of rhymes are commonly used with end rhymes to maintain that sense of rhythm throughout a verse or stanza?

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Answer

Perfect rhymes and slant rhymes

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Question

Fill in the blanks: The 'end' in End Rhyme refers to the __________ of the rhyme.

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Answer

placement

Show question

Question

Is this an example of a perfect rhyme or a slant rhyme?

I see no changes, all I see is racist faces 

Misplaced hate makes disgrace to races

Show answer

Answer

Perfect end rhyme.

Show question

Question

Is this an example of a perfect end rhyme or slant end rhyme?:

Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows   

The liquefaction of her clothes!  

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Answer

It is an example of slant end rhyme.

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Question

Which of these is not the effect of end rhyme?

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Answer

Increase a reader/listener's engagement in the narrative the poet is describing.  

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Question

What word would make this an end rhyme?:

I threw a wish in the well,

Don't ask me, I'll never ____ 

Show answer

Answer

Tell

Show question

Question

True or False: End rhymes can only occur between two successive lines of poetry.

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Answer

False - end rhymes can occur between the final syllables at the end of any two or more lines of poetry.

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Question

True or False: One of the uses of end rhymes is to create euphony in the poem

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Answer

True

Show question

Question

Fill in the blanks: Often times when writers cannot create a _____ rhyme with two words, they use slant rhyme to achieve their goal of rhyming the end syllables of each line. 

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Answer

Perfect.

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Question

Why are end rhymes useful in creating songs?

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Answer

Because end rhymes add a musicality and rhythm to words that is useful in creating songs.

Show question

Question

Why is this not a perfect or slant end rhyme?

This new circumference have blamed

The homelier time behind.

Show answer

Answer

It is not a perfect or slant end rhyme because the final syllables of the lines do not have identical or even similar sounds.

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Question

What is end rhyme?

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Answer

End rhyme is the rhyming of the final syllables in two or more lines of poetry.

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Question

What is the difference between end rhyme and internal rhyme?


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Answer

End rhyme is the rhyming of the final syllables in two or more lines of poetry. Internal rhyme is the rhyming of words within a single line of poetry. 

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Question

True or false: End rhyme can occur within one line of poetry.

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Answer

False

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Question

Can monorhyme and pararhyme also be examples of end rhyme?

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Answer

Yes, so long as the end words of the lines rhyme.

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Question

Why is end rhyme used in song writing?

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Answer

To give lyrics extra rhythm, make them flow better, and to make them more memorable.

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