Why do the second and the 4th line not properly rhyme? To my understanding, " rain"  does not rhyme with "again." I suppose it is true that again may be pronounced in such a way that it rhymes...

Why do the second and the 4th line not properly rhyme? To my understanding, " rain"  does not rhyme with "again." I suppose it is true that again may be pronounced in such a way that it rhymes with rain, but that does not seem to be the natural proper pronunciation.

The other rhyming words ( drink-sink, breath- death, bone-alone, hour-power, release -peace and food-would) on the other hand seem to rhyme quite naturally.

So is the rhyming pair " rain- again" a flaw or a deliberate breach of the rhyming pattern?

For your information I need to translate this poem into Dutch so if it was deliberate then I suppose I need to make a similar deliberate Dutch error in my translation.

Asked on by user5165331

1 Answer | Add Yours

price7781's profile pic

price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Because the structure of a sonnet is pretty well carved in stone, I can’t imagine that Edna St. Vincent Millay would intentionally go against the rhyming structure in “Love is not All.”  The complete title of the poem is “Love is not All (Sonnet XXX), and it is an example of a Spenserian sonnet with the rhyming scheme abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee.   The British would pronounce the word, “again” like “a-gein”, and it would rhyme with “rain”.  It is much more formal to say “again” like the British do, and because a sonnet is a very formal style of poetry with strict rules, it only makes sense that the two words would rhyme.  Perhaps if Edna St. Vincent Millay were a more modern poet, she might be inclined to fiddle with structure much like the Modernists did in the 1920’s.  However, she was well-known for her sonnets, so I believe it wasn’t an attempt to deviate from the original conventions of the Spenserian sonnet.  

We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question