What is a Rhyme Scheme

What is a Rhyme Scheme

Rhyme scheme refers to the pattern of rhyme at the end of each line of a poem. It refers to the pattern of the rhyming words. Poets use different rhyming schemes in poems. A rhyme scheme has the ability to control the speed and flow of the poem. It also helps the poet to communicate his idea in a very effective manner.

Rhyme scheme is often identified by using letters to indicate the rhyming lines. For example, observe how the rhyme scheme of the following nursery rhyme has been identified by letters.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, (A)
How I wonder what you are. (A)
Up above the world so high, (B)
Like a diamond in the sky.    (B)

There are different types of rhyming schemes. Given below are some popular rhyming schemes that can be noted in many poems.

Monorhyme: The same rhyme is repeated in every line. Thus, the rhyme scheme is AAAA…

Alternate rhyme: This is also known as ABAB rhyme scheme. The rhyme repeats in every other line.

Couplet: This contains two-lined stanzas with the same rhyme. The rhyme scheme is AA, BB, CC etc.

Triplet: This contains three-lined stanzas with the same rhyme. The rhyme scheme is AAA, BBB, CCC etc.

Enclosed rhyme: This has the rhyme scheme of ABBA.

Rhyme scheme can be commonly observed in many nursery rhymes. For example,

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, (A)
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; (A)
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men (B)
Couldn’t put Humpty together again. (B)

What is a Rhyme Scheme

Examples of Rhyme Schemes

Fate hired me once to play a villain’s part. (A)
I did it badly, wasting valued blood; (B)
Now when the call is given to the good (B)
It is that knave who answers in my heart. (A)

“Between the Acts” by Stanley Kunitz

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, (A)
And sorry I could not travel both (B)
And be one traveler, long I stood (A)
And looked down one as far as I could (A)
To where it bent in the undergrowth; (B)

Then took the other, as just as fair (C)
And having perhaps the better claim, (D)
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; (C)
Though as for that the passing there (C)
Had worn them really about the same, (D)

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost

For shame deny that thou bear’st love to any, (A)
Who for thyself art so unprovident. (B)
Grant, if thou wilt, thou art beloved of many, (A)
But that thou none lovest is most evident; (B)
For thou art so possess’d with murderous hate (C)
That ‘gainst thyself thou stick’st not to conspire. (D)
Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate (C)
Which to repair should be thy chief desire. (D)
O, change thy thought, that I may change my mind! (E)
Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love? (F)
Be, as thy presence is, gracious and kind, (E)
Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove: (F)
    Make thee another self, for love of me, (G)
    That beauty still may live in thine or thee. (G)

“Sonnet 10” William Shakespeare

As I drew nearer to the end of all desire, (A)
I brought my longing’s ardor to a final height, (B)
Just as I ought. My vision, becoming pure, (A)

Entered more and more the beam of that high light (B)
That shines on its own truth. From then, my seeing (C)
Became too large for speech, which fails at a sight… (B)

        – “Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighiei

Image Courtesy:

Image 1 by Denslow’s_Humpty_Dumpty.djvu: W. W. Denslowderivative work: Theornamentalist – This file was derived fromDenslow’s Humpty Dumpty.djvu:,(Public Domain) via  

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