Edward Lear

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What is the rhyming scheme in "The Duck and the Kangaroo"?

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“The Duck and the Kangaroo” is a well-known poem by the nineteenth-century English poet Edward Lear. The poem tells a simple, humorous story about a duck who wants to escape the confines of its small pond; seeing a kangaroo and envying its ability to hop, the duck asks for a ride on its back. After some back-and-forth banter, the kangaroo obliges, and the two hop around quite happily.

The rhyme scheme of Lear’s poem follows a regular pattern, ababccdd. In other words, the first four lines of every eight-line verse feature alternating rhymes, while the last four lines are made up of two couplets. Lear’s choice of rhyme scheme is not arbitrary. Instead, it provides the poem with a constant, predictable, easy-to-follow structure that is quite suitable for its simple, humorous subject. The structure of the poem makes it understandable by children and adult readers alike.

Formally, the rhyme scheme also supplied Lear with opportunities to increase the poem’s humorous effects. In the first place, the last couplet of every stanza uses an “oo” sounding rhyme and ends with the word “Kangaroo.” This serves as a kind of chorus or refrain, making the poem seem even more memorable and song-like. In some cases, other lines also end in the “oo” sound, giving the poem even more of a rolling, sing-song quality. For instance, because of the repeated “oo” sounds, the first stanza’s rhyme scheme could also technically be described as ababccaa, and the second stanza’s as ababccbb.

The need to fill the rhyme scheme and match the “oo” sounds also increases the poem’s comedic effect. Take the closing of stanza three, for instance, where the kangaroo complains about the idea of the duck riding on his back:

"And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you’ll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!" said the Kangaroo.

Lear changes the spelling of and hyphenates the word “rheumatism” to force it to fit the rhyme scheme, and the resulting effect is silly, as suits the poem overall.

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Stanza by stanza summary  and rhyme scheme of The Duck and the Kangaroo ?

Do you mean the poem by Edward Lear? If so, the rhyme scheme fits the following pattern:

Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,  A
    'Good gracious! how you hop!  B
Over the fields and the water too,  A
    As if you never would stop!  B
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,  C
And I long to go out in the world beyond!  C
    I wish I could hop like you!'  A
    Said the duck to the Kangaroo.  A

In the subsequent stanzas, this rhyme scheme is repeated - the first and third lines rhyme, the second and fourth lines rhyme, a different rhyme is introduced in the fifth line and this line rhymes with the sixth. The seventh and eighth lines are a couplet and they each end with the sound of the first line rhyme "A". In every stanza, the couplet is "A". So, you can do the rest yourself:

'Please give me a ride on your back!'  D
    Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.  A
'I would sit quite still, and say nothing but "Quack,"  D
    The whole of the long day through!  A
And we'd go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,  E
Over the land and over the sea;--  E
    Please take me a ride! O do!'  A
    Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.  A

See how the "A" rhyme ends each stanza?

I believe this cute little poem has a deeper meaning. It shows how the duck and the kangaroo resolve some very unique differences to get along and accomplish their goals. They work out the obstacles to their trip in unique ways and they are able to hop around the world three times together, having a grand old time.

Wouldn't it be nice if we humans could do the same thing? We would not have wars!

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