What is the full rhyme scheme of "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe?

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jerseygyrl1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is also a great deal of internal rhyme in the poem. Internal rhyme was a common device among 19th-century poets, such as Poe, in which a word in the middle of a line rhymes with one at the end. 

Consider the following example from the first four lines in 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. 
 
"Rapping" in the final line rhymes with "tapping" and "napping" in the third line. The uses of alliteration here are also worth mentioning: "weak and weary" and even "quaint and curious" are somewhat alliterative.
 
In the second stanza, there are the following examples of internal rhyme:
 
    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; 
 
    And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 
   
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow 
   
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— 
 
"Remember" rhymes clearly with "December," as well as "ember" in the following line. In the third line, "morrow" rhymes with "borrow" at the end of the line and "sorrow" in the final line, which is repeated for emphasis.
 
It is significant that Poe's use of internal rhyme coincides with his emphasis of sensory memory: "tapping" and "rapping," which are repeated in later stanzas, "December" and "dying ember," which reflect both the death of his dear Lenore and the absence of life that coincides with winter, and also touch, as in the following lines:
 
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking 
   
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— 
 
    What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore 
    
    Meant in croaking “Nevermore.” 
 
"Sinking" and "linking" also provide interesting juxtapositions of motion, both externally and internally. 
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This excellent Gothic poem actually has a very regular rhyme scheme, that helps to contribute towards the unrelenting and inexorable pace of the poem that drives its speaker on in his tortured and frenzied thoughts as he tortures himself over the memory of his "lost Lenore."

When we work out the rhyme scheme of a poem, we look at a stanza and assign a letter to each separate rhyme that there is, repeating the letter is the same rhyme occurs. Thus, examining the first stanza, we assign the letter "A" to "weary," then "B" to "lore." "Tapping" represents another rhyme, so we give that line "C" and then finally we can see that "door," "door" and "more," the words that end lines 4, 5 and 6, match the rhyme of "lore," so we give these lines the letter B. Therefore the poem has a regular rhyme scheme that can be expressed in the following way: A B C B B B. This is continued throughout the poem.