How to Designate Rhyme

Rhyme schemes are cast in italicized codes, like this one for a Shakespearean fourteen-line sonnet: abab cdcd efef gg. To decipher that code, you need to know these basics:

• To indicate rhyme, designate the last word of each line with a letter of the alphabet. Lines whose last words share the same rhyme also share the same letter. For instance, this quick poem would be shown as aa:

Let the words at the end of a line Take letters that you should assign

• To add a new rhyme, use the next letter of the alphabet. This poem's pattern would be shown as ababcc: —

Let the word at the end of a line No matter how short or how long Take letters that you should assign In the pattern in which they belong And then you will know how to chart The requisite craft to make art.

• To designate a stanza, insert a space between the letters, as in this version, indicated as ab ab cc:

Let the word at the end of a line No matter how short or how long

Take letters that you should assign In the pattern in which they belong

And then you will know how to chart The requisite craft to make art.

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