End Rhyme in Poetry: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is End Rhyme?
  • 0:35 Examples of End Rhyme
  • 2:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kara Wilson

Kara Wilson is a 6th-12th grade English and Drama teacher. She has a B.A. in Literature and an M.Ed, both of which she earned from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

In this lesson, we will define end rhyme. We will also cover why some poets and songwriters choose to use it. Then we will identify examples of end rhyme by looking at stanzas from classic poems and from a popular nursery rhyme.

What Is End Rhyme?

End rhyme is when the last syllables within a verse rhyme. This type of rhyme is the most commonly used in English poetry. It is also often used in song lyrics, as we will see below.

Many poets use end rhyme because it creates a rhythm. If end rhyme is used throughout the poem to create a rhyming pattern or rhyme scheme, then the poem has a musical quality to it because it flows in a rhythmic way. Songwriters also use end rhyme frequently, which makes their lyrics sound catchy and are often easier for listeners to remember.

Examples of End Rhyme

Colonel John McCrae wrote a famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields,' which uses end rhyme to create a rhythmic flow as he expresses his grief over the fallen soldiers who died on Flanders' battlefield during World War I. Here's the first stanza of the poem:

'In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly.

Scarce heard amid the guns below.'

In lines one and two, the words 'blow' and 'row' rhyme, as do the words 'sky' and 'fly' in lines three and four. In line five, the word 'below' rhymes with the first two lines. In order to use end rhyme, one does not need to make every line rhyme. Only two lines need to rhyme in order to create end rhyme, but McCrae chose to use end rhyme multiple times to enhance the musicality of the poem.

In Emily Dickinson's brief but interesting poem 'A word is dead' end rhyme is used in a different way:

'A word is dead

When it is said,

Some say.

I say it just

Begins to live

That day.'

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