What are the literary devices used in "Rain in Summer"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

"Rain in Summer" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow does not follow a regularly repeating rhyme scheme, but it does have rhyming lines.  Take the first 7 lines for example:

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain! 
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs

The rhyme scheme there is abbaacc.  Longfellow doesn't keep that up throughout, but lines do consistently rhyme.

The poem also makes use of similes in order to bring comparisons about rain to the forefront of the reader's mind.  

Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!


Where far and wide,
Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain...

Longfellow also makes use of enjambment.  That is when a poet makes a line of poetry spill over to the next line with no end line punctuation, as in the following lines: 

Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean. 

Longfellow also capitalizes words like "universe" and "time."  This calls special attention to those words and makes the reader really dwell on that noun and the line's meaning.  It also has the effect of personifying those nouns, because capital letters indicate proper nouns (like a person's name).  It makes sense that Longfellow would personify elements of nature, since he is a Romantic poet. 

This line,

Their large and lustrous eyes...

is making use of a poetic device called alliteration by repeating the "L" sound.   

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial