In Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Pied Beauty," what are examples of masculine and female rhymes?

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In masculine rhyme, the rhyme falls on the final syllable in a word. In feminine rhyme, the rhyme falls on the second-to-last syllable or any internal syllable. An example of masculine rhyme would be "fireplace" and "horserace" because "place" and "race" rhyme. As example of feminine rhyme would be "shakedown" and "stakeout" because "shake" and "stake" rhyme.

In "Pied Beauty," "things" and "wings" are masculine rhymes, as are "strange" and "change." Feminine rhyme includes "fresh-firecoal" and "chestnut-falls" because "fresh" and "chest" (as it is slurred in the word "chestnut") rhyme.

The poem also relies heavily on alliteration to create a sense of rhythm and texture. Alliteration occurs when words with the same first consonant are placed close together. In this poem, we see clusters of words, such as "swift, slow; sweet, sour," that begin with the same consonant. All of these literary devices used together create the dense texture of this short poem.

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The terms "masculine" and "feminine" rhymes have nothing to do with biological gender, but instead are terms derived from the rhythmic patterns associated with grammatical gender in romance languages.

In English, the dominant poetic meter used for the sonnet is iambic pentameter, i.e. lines consisting of five iambic feet. An iamb consists of a weak syllable followed by a strong syllable. Thus in most cases, the rhyme words in a sonnet end with strong syllables, a pattern known as "masculine rhyme". An example from "Pied Beauty" would be:


Glory be to God for dappled things—
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;


In feminine rhyme, a extra-metrical weak syllable is appended to the line, and the rhyme sound includes both the preceding strong and the extra weak syllable, e.g. the internal rhyme fallow/cow. The main rhyme words in this poem though are all masculine rhymes.


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