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  • Refrain

    One or more lines repeated before or after the stanzas of a poem.

  • Renga

    Japanese form comprising half-tanka written by different poets.

  • Reverdie

    A medieval song celebrating the coming of spring, such as "Sumer is icumen in" and "Lenten is Come with Loue to Toune," modernized in poems such as the opening of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land.

  • Rhetorical question

    The poet asks a question without expecting to learn anything from the response, or to pose any difficulty for the reader, the answer being something that the poet already implies and the reader infers.

  • Rhopalic verse

    (Greek, ‘like a club’)

    Poems whose lines start short and get longer and longer.

  • Rhyme

    Normally end-rhyme, that is, lines of verse characterized by the consonance of terminal words or syllables. Rhymed words conventionally share all sounds following the word's last stressed syllable. Thus "tenacity" and "mendacity" rhyme, but not "jaundice" and "John does," or "tomboy" and "calm bay." The rhyme scheme is usually the pattern of end-rhymes in a stanza, each rhyme being encoded by a letter of the alphabet from a onwards.

    • Apocopated: an imperfect rhyme between the final syllable of a word and the penultimate syllable of another word. For example,

      Cardinals, red and dun, Chatter when it's sunny.


    • Amphisbaenic rhyme: a reversed rhyme, such as "trot" and "tort."


    • Antisthecon or wrenched rhyme: a rhyme created by distorting a word, such as "Samoa" for "some more of" in the limerick "An old maid in the land of Aloha."


    • Broken rhyme: rhyming with an initial or medial syllable of a word that is split between two lines with a hyphen.


    • Eye rhyme: words rhyming only as spelled, not as pronounced, and hence not a perfect or true rhyme. An example is "through" and "slough."


    • Feminine rhyme: gendered expression for rhymes ending in one or more unstressed syllables, such as "fruity" and "booty." The expressions light, weak or multi-syllable rhyme avoid the sexist bias.


    • Half-rhyme: rhyming only with the consonants in the terminal syllable(s) of a multi-syllable word. An example is "concrete" and "litcrit". Also termed ‘off-rhyme,’ ‘slant rhyme,’ or apophany, in which two single-syllable words (such as ‘tell’ and ‘toll’) share the opening and closing consonants but not the intervening vowel. See Consonance.


    • Identical rhymes: using the same word, identically in sound and in sense, twice in rhyming position.


    • Initial rhyme: see Alliteration.


    • Internal rhyme: rhymes between a word within a line, often from a medial position (termed also leonine) and one at the end of the line. Gelett Burgess' "An Alphabet of Famous Goops," rhyming aabbcc in 3-line stanzas, is an example. Othertimes words in the middle of two successive lines will rhyme in an interlaced way.


    • Masculine rhyme: gendered expression for rhymes ending in a stressed syllable, such as "hells" and "bells." The expressions strong or one-syllable rhyme avoid the sexist bias.


    • Monorhyme: the use of only one rhyme in a stanza. An example is William Blake's "Silent, Silent Night."


    • Pararhyme: Edmund Blunden's term for double consonance, where different vowels appear within identical consonant pairs (a feature of Wilfrid Owens' verse).


    • Tail rhyme: a stanza with a tail, tag, or extra short line that may rhyme with another such line later on. Chaucer's tale of Sir Thopas is one example.


    • Rich rhyme: rhymes identical in sound (or spelling) but semantically different, e.g., "Felicity was present | To pick up her present."


    • Synthetic rhyme: a forced rhyme in which the spelling and sound of a word are distorted.


    • Vowel rhyme: see Assonance.

    See also Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance, Onomatopoeia, and Rime couée.

  • Rhyme royal, rime royale

    A stanza of seven ten-syllable lines, rhyming ababbcc, popularized by Geoffrey Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde and The Parlement of Fowls, and termed "royal" because his imitator, James I of Scotland, employed it in The Kings Quire. The stanza can be described as overlapping an interlaced quatrain (abab) with a double-couplet quatrain (bbcc), or as linking a tercet with a pair of couplets. Later examples are Sir Thomas Wyatt's "They flee from me" William Shakespeare's "The Rape of Lucrece" and "A Lover's Complaint" (in his volume of sonnets), John Milton's "Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity," and William Wordsworth's "Resolution and Independence."

  • Rhythm

    (Greek, ‘flow’)

    An audible metrical pattern inside verse boundaries established by the pause.

  • Rime couée

    Tail rhyme, a stanza in which a usually closing short line rhymes with a previous short line and is separated from it by longer lines.

  • Romance

    Long narrative poems in French about courtly culture and secret love that triumphed in English with poems such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Chaucer's The Knight's Tale and Troilus and Criseyde.

  • Romanticism

    The late 18th-century, early 19th-century period of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, and Byron.

  • Rondeau

    A mainly octosyllabic poem consisting of between ten and fifteen lines, having only two rhymes and with the opening words used twice as an unrhyming refrain at the end of the second and third stanzas. The ten-line version rhymes abbaabC abbaC (where the capital C stands for the refrain). The fifteen-line version often rhymes aabba aabC aabbaC. Chaucer's "Now welcome, summer" at the close of The Parlement of Fowls is an example of a thirteen-line rondeau.


    • Rondeau redoublé: five quatrains and a closing quintain, using two rhymes. The first quatrain consists of four refrain lines that are used, in sequence, as the last lines of the next four quatrains; and the last line of the closing quintain is a phrase from the first refrain. Dorothy Parker has a delightful poem entitled after the form itself, and keeping strictly to its very taxing rules.
  • Rondel, roundel

    Poetic forms of 11-14 lines where the first two lines are repeated in the middle and at the end, and that have only two rhymes. Algernon Charles Swinburne's "The Roundel" consists of eleven lines, two stanzas, where the first two lines are repeated, the second time at the poem's end.

  • Roundelay

    A lyric poems with a refrain.