The New Freedom of Rhyme

In the days of Latinate learning, there was an animus against rhyme which must have been a considerable nuisance in that heavily inflected language. In his Observations on the Art of English Poesie of 1602, the English poet and composer Campion remarked:

The facility and popularity of Rime creates as many
poets as a hot summer, flies.

Milton agreed with him in disliking the jingle of like endings, though both men were consummate rhymers themselves.

In the days of our polyglot fragmentation of learning, the days of free verse and free love, there is among poets a similar impatience with the artifice of rhyme—and very little impatience with the artifice of eccentric typography. As a consequence, most pupils, students, and the casual general reader would say—some even complain—that modern poetry does not rhyme. For the facility and popularity of free verse creates as many "poets" as a hot summer, flies. In fact, these readers are mistaken, though not to blame, for while this has been one of the great periods of rhyme, it has been rhyme with a difference. Our period has been one of wide-ranging experiment with all sorts of extension to rhyme systems and technique.

It could be argued maliciously that while the moderns have only popularized one new form, free verse (which cannot be the one and only acceptable form for all areas of poetic communication),...

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