What is the rhyme scheme in 'The Brook' by Alfred Lord Tennyson?

Expert Answers info

Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write6,936 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

"The Brook" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is written in what is called ballad or common meter, a form used for traditional ballads, hymns, and many narrative poems, especially in the Romantic and Victorian periods.

The poem is written in open quatrains, rhymed ABAB. The lines alternate between iambic tetrameter (odd numbered lines) and iambic trimeter (even numbered lines). Thus a typical stanza would take the following form:

[iambic tetrameter]  A rhyme

[iambic trimeter]  B rhyme

[iambic tetrameter]  A rhyme

[iambic trimeter]  B rhyme

The rhythm of the poem is quite regular, giving a jaunty, almost nursery-rhyme quality that personifies the sound of a the babbling brook as it travels through the countryside. The effect is enhanced by the use of internal rhymes and alliteration.

More interesting is the refrain. The poem consists of 13 stanzas, and the refrain "But I go on for ever" occurs at the ends of stanzas 3, 6, 9, and 13. 

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lynnebh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,203 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

This poem has a pretty regular rhyme scheme and rhythm. The rhyme scheme is abab, cdcd, efef, ghgh, etc., throughout the work. It is written in a regular rhythm of iambic feet (unaccented followed by accented syllables). The first and third lines in each stanza are in iambic tetrameter (four beats to the line), but the second and fourth lines are one beat short of tetrameter, the last beat being an unaccented one.

The poem personifies a brook. There is some pretty cool imagery in it, don't you think? It paints a picture in your mind of a babbling brook, chattering and chattering, as it flows over farm and field.  Very pretty, I think, and because of the image of a brook chattering, the poet uses a TON of sound devices such as alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial