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What are some examples of poems with the rhyme scheme abab or aabbaabb?

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jack4545 | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted May 24, 2011 at 9:10 AM via web

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What are some examples of poems with the rhyme scheme abab or aabbaabb?

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creativethinking | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted May 24, 2011 at 10:51 AM (Answer #1)

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You are looking for poetry that utilizes couplets. According to the eNotes Guide to Literary Terms, a couplet is "a pair of successive lines of verse, especially a pair that rhymes, that are of the same metrical length, and form a single unit." The rhyme schemes you identified involve sets of couplets that rhyme with other couplets of their same type (AB rhymes with AB), or sets of couplets that are pairs of rhymes (A rhymes with A and B rhymes with B). Keep in mind that the alphabetical letters, such as A or B, stand for a specific end sound. So, "A lines" will rhyme with other "A lines." B's will rhyme with B's, and so forth.

While they may not exactly fit the 10 verse length that you specified in your question, consider the first few lines of these famous examples to understand how this kind of rhyme scheme is put together. The first is from "The Hippopotamus" by T.S. Eliot, demonstrating an ABAB pattern (see "atech.edu" link below for full text):

(A) The broad-backed hippopotamus
(B) Rests on his belly in the mud
(A) Although he seems so firm to us
(B)He is merely flesh and blood.

(C)Flesh-and-blood is weak and frail,
(D)Susceptible to nervous shock
(C) While the True Church can never fail
(D)For it is based upon a rock.

You'll notice that the poem begins with a new set of sounds in the second stanza, which is why they are notated with new letters, but the sound pattern is the same.

An AABB pattern of rhyming couplets is far more common. Consider the first part of "Once by the Pacific" by Robert Frost (see "internal.org" link below for full text):

(A)The shattered water made a misty din (A)Great waves looked over others coming in (B)And thought of doing something to the shore (B)That water never did to land before (C)The clouds were low and hairy in the skies (C)Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.

Again, the pattern keeps moving on as different rhyming sounds are approached. As you might guess, the next couplet is going to be DD and the next EE. It follows a logical, set pattern.

Hopefully, purusing these poems will give you an idea of how these rhyme schemes work. Also, as you continue your study, keep in mind that a 10-verse example may be hard to find... poems with this rhyme scheme usually have a line total that is a multiple of 4, since pairs of couplets are often fused to make quatrains: stanzas of four verses.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM (Answer #2)

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Roy Campbell wrote a poem that begins in the rhyme scheme of abab. Toward the end, it changes. Hope this helps.

Anadyomene

Maternal Earth stirs redly from beneathHer blue sea-blanket and her quilt of sky,A giant Anadyomene from the sheathAnd chrysalis of darkness; till we spy
Her vast barbaric haunches, furred with trees,Stretched on the continents, and see her hairCombed in a surf of fire along the breezeTo curl about the dim sierras, where
Faint snow-peaks catch the sun's far-swivelled beams:And, tinder to his rays, the mountain-streamsKindle, and volleying with a thunderstrokeOut of their roaring gullies, burst in smokeTo shred themselves as fine as women's hair,And hoop gay rainbows on the sunlit air.

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