Rhyme Scheme How to figure out the rhyme scheme of a poem: Rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming words in a poem. The rhyme scheme of a poem is indicated by using different letters of the alphabet for each new rhyme. For example:
Mary had a little lambA (every line ending with a word that rhymes with “lamb”gets an “A”)
Her fleece was white as snow B (does not rhyme with “lamb”)
And everywhere that Mary went C (does not rhyme with “lamb” or “snow”)
The lamb was sure to go B (because “go” rhymes with “snow,” this gets a B)
It followed her to school one day, D (everything that rhymes with “day” gets a D)
Which was against the rules. E (everything that rhymes with “rules” gets a E)
It made the children laugh and play, D To see a lamb at school E And so the teacher turned it out F (everything that rhymes with “out” gets an F)
But still it lingered near G(everything that rhymes with “near” gets a G) And waited patiently about, F
Till Mary did appear G
"Why does the lamb love Mary so?" B (rhymes with “snow” from line 2)
The eager children cry H "Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know." B
The teacher did reply H Continue assigning letters to each line. If the last word in the line rhymes with any other word that ends a previous line, assign it the same letter. Note that words do NOT have to b e spelled the same to rhyme (for example “enough” rhymes with “stuff,” “eight” rhymes with “rate” rhymes with “bait” rhymes with “straight.”
When you have finished assigning letters to the rhyme of each line, you can state the rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme for “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is:
ABCB DEDE FGFG BHBH Practice: Determine the rhyme scheme for this poem: I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-by;
And further still at an unearthly height
One luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
Narrative poetry is poetry that tells a story. Like a short story, it has a plot, characters, a setting, and a theme. However, it is written in verse, with a rhythm, and sometimes a rhyme scheme. Just as stories are broken up into paragraphs, poems are divided up into stanzas. Often, each stanza has the same number of lines and the same rhyme pattern.
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day,
The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A pall-like1 silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go, leaving there the rest, 5
With that hope which springs eternal within the human breast.
For they thought, "if only Casey could but get a whack at that.”
They'd put up even money now, with Casey at the bat.
But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake.
And the former was a pudd’n, and the latter was a fake. 10
So on that stricken multitude a deathlike silence sat;
For there seemed but little chance of Casey getting to the bat.
But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all.
And the much-despised Blakey “tore the cover off the ball.”
And when the dust had lifted, and they saw what had occurred, 15
There was Blakey safe at second and Flynn a-hugging third.
Then from the gladdened multitude went up a joyous yell—
It rumbled in the mountaintops, it rattled in the dell;
It struck upon the hillside and rebounded on the flat;
for Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat. 20
There was ease in Casey's manner as he stepped into his place,
there was pride in Casey's bearing and a smile on Casey's face.
And when responding to the cheers he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt t'was Casey at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt. 25
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt;
Then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance flashed in Casey's eye, a sneer curled Casey's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
and Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur2 there. 30
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped;
"That ain't my style," said Casey. "Strike one!" the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm waves on a stern and distant shore.
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand; 35
And it's likely they'd have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity, great Casey's visage shone,
He stilled the rising tumult, he made the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew,
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two!" 40
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered "Fraud!"
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed;
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
and they knew that Casey wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer has fled from Casey's lip, the teeth are clenched in hate. 45
He pounds with cruel vengeance his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
simile:___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4. What is the rhyme scheme of “Casey at the Bat”? Write it below.
The meter of a poem is its rhythmical pattern. This pattern is determined by the number and types of stresses, or beats, in each line. How do we determine meter? Follow the steps below.
1. Count the number of syllables in each line. You can do this by clapping on each syllable like you did in elementary school. Number each syllable in the line below.
T h e o u t l o o k w a s n ’t b r i l l i a n t f o r t h e M u d v i l l e N i n e t h a t d a y
2. Find the first two-syllable word in the line and figure out which syllable has the stress on it. In the above line, the word “outlook” has the stress on the word OUT, so you would mark that syllable with the over it. The syllable LOOK is unstressed, which is indicated by the
symbol. Based on this, you should be able to notice a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables throughout the line.
3. Divide the stressed and unstressed syllables into groups using a parenthesis between each set of syllables. Each of these groups is called a foot.
4. Figure out what type of feet the line contains. Below are the most common types of feet in English poetry:
iamb: a foot with one unstressed and one stressed syllable, as in the word ( )
anapest: a foot with two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable,
as in the phrase ( )
“a/ra/besque” This foot is ANAPESTIC
dactyl: a foot with on stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables,
as in the word ( )
“won/der/ful” This foot is DACTYLIC
spondee: a foot with two strong stresses, as in the word “space/walk”
This foot is SPONDAIC
Depending on the type of foot that is most common in the poem, the lines of poetry are described as iambic, trochaic, anapestic, dactylic, or spondaic. However, for our purposes, the only types of meter you need to identify are IAMBIC or TROCHAIC.
Lines are also described in terms of the number of feet in each line, such as:
1: Monometer: a line with one foot
Example: All things/ Must pass/ Away
2: Dimeter: a line with two feet
Example: When up aloft/ I fly and fly
3: Trimeter: three foot lines
Example: I know not whom I meet/ I know not where I go
4: Tetrameter: four foot lines
Example: Had we but World enough, and Time,/This coyness Lady were no crime.
5: Pentameter: five foot lines
Example: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
6: Hexameter: six foot lines
Example: To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails
7: Heptameter: seven foot lines
Example: O could I feel as I have felt, or be what I have been,
8: Octometer:eight foot lines
Example: Once upon a midnight dreary,while I pondered, weak and weary
9: Nonometer: nine foot lines
10: Decameter: ten foot lines
by Edgar Allan Poe
In the box below each stanza, write a summary of what is happening in your own words.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore3—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door— 5
Only this and nothing more."
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 surcease4 of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— 10
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 15
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; 20
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"—here I opened wide the door—
Darkness there and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, 25
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"—
Merely this and nothing more. 30
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— 35
'Tis the wind and nothing more.
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore5.
Not the least obeisance6 made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien7 of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— 40
Perched upon a bust of Pallas8 just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore9,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven10, 45
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore11!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; 50
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only 55
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered: "Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said "Nevermore." 60
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster — so, when Hope he would adjure12,
Stern Despair returned, instead of the sweet Hope he dared adjure — 65
But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— 70
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining13, with my head at ease reclining 75
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer14
Swung by Seraphim15 whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. 80
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe16 from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!— 85
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted17, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead18?—tell me—tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 90
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn19,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore." 95
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! 100
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming 105
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!
implore (verb) to beg:
grim (adj) harsh, forbidding, and morbid
ominous (adj): threatening or warning of something negative; a bad omen
quaff (verb) to drink
tempest (noun): a violent storm
1. Describe the speaker’s situation at the start of the poem: what is the setting (time and place) and what is he doing?