Edgar Allan Poe uses both internal and external rhyming patterns in “The Raven.” In general, internal rhyme occurs when the middle word of a line rhymes with the ending word of the same line. Poe takes internal rhyme to another level by having it carry over two lines. He rhymes the middle word of the first line with the ending word, and the middle word in the next line.
Looking at line one of the poem, the reader sees an example of internal rhyme. The middle word dreary rhymes with the ending word weary.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Lines 3 and 4 in the first stanza demonstrate Poe’s extension of the internal rhyming device. This is still considered to be internal rhyme because the rhyming word is within the second line, not at the end.
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
The words napping and tapping rhyme in the first line, while rhyming with rapping, which is the middle word of the second line.
External rhyme occurs at the end of lines. The final sound of the last word of a line rhymes with the final word of another line. Again, look at the first stanza.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.”
In lines 2, 3, 4, and 5, the rhyme occurs at the end of the lines with the words, lore, door, and more. This is an example of external rhyme. The rhyming pattern is labeled ABCBBB.
As you continue reading the poem, you will find other examples of both internal and external rhyming.