oblique rhyme

Half rhyme

Half rhyme, sometimes called slant, sprung, near rhyme, oblique rhyme, off rhyme or imperfect rhyme is consonance on the final consonants of the words involved. Many half rhymes are also eye rhymes. It is widely used in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Icelandic verse. Some examples are ill and shell and also dropped and wept.

Half rhyme has been found in English-language poetry as early as Henry Vaughan, but it was not until it was used in the works of W. B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins that half rhyme became popular among English-language poets. In the 20th century half-rhyme has been used widely by English poets. Often, as in most of Yeats's poems, it is mixed with other devices such as regular rhymes, assonance, and para-rhymes. In the following example the 'rhymes' are on/moon and bodies/ladies:

When have I last looked on
The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies
Of the dark leopards of the moon?
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,
(Yeats, "Lines written in Dejection")

American poet Emily Dickinson also used slant rhyme frequently in her work. In her poem "Hope is the thing with feathers" the slant rhyme appears in the second and fourth lines. In the following example the 'rhyme' is soul/all.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.


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