Internal Rhyme

Definition of Internal Rhyme

Internal rhyme is a poetic device which can be defined as metrical lines in which its middle words and its end words rhymes with each other. It is also called middle rhyme, since it comes in the middle of lines.

Types of Internal Rhyme

Internal rhyme examples may be classified into the following types:

  • Rhyme in the same line comes when the words rhyme in a single line.
    For example, “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
  • Rhyme in separate lines comes when two or more words rhyme in the middle of the separate lines. For example,
    “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.”
  • Rhyme of the words at the end of lines and words in the middle of the lines come when the words at the end of lines rhyme with the words in the middle of the next lines. For example,
    “Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore…”

Examples of Internal Rhyme from Literature

Example #1

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door…..

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; – vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow – sorrow for the lost Lenore…

(The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe)

This is the most popular poem of Edgar Allen Poe, where he uses internal rhyme. Here we can see examples of internal rhymes where the words rhyme in the same lines, in separate lines and in the proceeding lines.

Example #2

ALL:
Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble

(Macbeth by William Shakespeare)

This is an extract from Macbeth where all witches speak. This is an example of the first type of internal rhyme in which words rhyme in the same line.

Example #3

Jenny and Me were engaged, you see,…
So a kiss or two was nothing to you
Jenny would go in a domino ….
While I attended, clad in a splendid……
Now we had arranged, through notes exchanged
At Number Four to waltz no more, …
When Three was over, an eager lover…..

(Pink Dominoes by Rudyard Kipling)

In the given excerpt, the poet has used the first type of internal rhyme.

Example #4

The ship was cheer’d, the harbor clear’d,
And every day, for food or play,
In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,..
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmer’d the white moonshine.….

Why look’st thou so?’—’With my crossbow
Ah wretch! Said they, the bird to slay
Then all averr’d, I had kill’d the bird
The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,

(The Rime of Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

In this extract, the rhyming words create a musical effect and give emphasis to the meanings.

Example #5

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,

(Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe)

In the following example, the first type of internal rhyme is employed. The words which create internal rhyme include “beams, dreams, rise, eyes, tide and side.” These words give rhythm and a regular rhyme scheme to the poem.

Function of Internal Rhyme

The sound repetition due to internal rhyme makes a poem or story unified. It is employed to heighten the poem’s effects and this internal rhyme can take place in the same line or two separate alternating lines. Also, it adds to the meanings of words and enhances musical effects of the poem.

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