Half rhyme or slant rhyme, sometimes called sprung, near rhyme, oblique rhyme, off rhyme or imperfect rhyme, is consonance on the final consonants of the words involved (e.g. ill with shell). Many half/slant rhymes are also eye rhymes.
Half/slant rhyme is widely used in Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and Icelandic verse. Half/slant rhyme has been found in English-language poetry as early as Henry Vaughan, but it was not until the works of W.B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins that it found wide use among English-language poets. In the 20th century half/slant rhyme has been used widely by English poets. Often, as in most of Yeats' poems, it is mixed with other devices such as regular rhymes, assonance, and para-rhymes. In the following example the 'rhymes' are on/moon and bodies/ladies:
- When have I last looked on
- The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies
- Of the dark leopards of the moon?
- All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,
- (Yeats, "Lines written in Dejection")
Moses ibn Ezra, 12th century Hebrew poet and poetry theoretician, terms the practice of poets to use half-rhyme "donkey-rhyming".
American poet Emily Dickinson also used half/slant rhyme frequently in her works. In her poem "Hope is the thing with feathers" the half/slant rhyme appears in the second and fourth lines. In the following example the 'rhyme' is soul/all.
- Hope is the thing with feathers
- That perches in the soul,
- And sings the tune without the words,
- And never stops at all.
- ↑ Lilia Melani (February 24, 2009), Emily Dickinson: An Overview, Department of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/dickinson.html, retrieved 2009-06-22
- www.wikirhymer.com – Free site for finding near rhymes.
- www.whatrhymeswith.com - Rhyming dictionary and community for finding near rhymes (half rhyme), assonant, consonant, eye, feminine, identical, light line, macaronic, masculine, perfect, rich, scarce, and wrenched rhymes.
- RhymeBrain - Web site for finding near and half rhymes, containing 2.6 million words
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