What is a rhyming couplet?
A rhyming couplet is a pair of successive lines that rhyme. It’s the last words at the end of each line that rhyme. They’re also typically the same length and have the same meter or rhythm.
Rhyming couplets that don’t have the meter are known as uneven couplets.
What are some rhyming couplet examples?
Now that we know a little about them, let’s explore a few rhyming couplet examples. Rhyming couplets can be found in many forms of literature, from classic plays to poems and even nursery rhymes!
A famous example of a rhyming couplet is:
Double, double, toil, and trouble;
Fire burns and cauldron bubbles.
In this rhyming couplet example, ‘trouble’ and ‘bubble’ have a rhyme. The lines are written in the same meter with a consistent rhythm.
Here’s one of the most well-known rhyming couplet examples that you may be familiar with:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
As we can see from this example, the lines are of equal length and feature the rhyming words ‘wall’ and ‘fall’ at the end. It gives it a natural rhythm, which might be why this nursery rhyme is still so well-known today!
What poetry forms use rhyming couplets?
We’ve seen how rhyming couplet examples look, but how do they fit into a more powerful poem? Well, several poetry forms use rhyming couplets. Here are just a few:
A sonnet is a short rhyming poem comprised of 14 lines. The 14th line is traditionally a rhyming couplet.
A classic Shakespearean sonnet follows the rhyming pattern ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, consisting of three quartets and an end opening. One of the best rhyming couplet examples is in one of Shakespeare’s best-known sonnets:
– Sonnet 18, ‘Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day?’ Lines 9 – 14 by William Shakespeare.
This final rhyming couplet contains two lines that start with ‘so long’ and feature the words ‘see’ and ‘thee.’
By using a couplet with two rhyming lines, Shakespeare effectively brings the poem to a close and summarises one of its key ideas: that the beauty of nature, and the person that Shakespeare compares it to, will be immortalized in his lines of verse.
A limerick is a funny five-line poem with a rhyming scheme of AABBA. The first, second, and fifth lines rhyme, while the third and fourth form a rhyming couplet.
In some cases, the final word of the fifth line will be the same as the last word of the first. It is a common feature of the famous nonsense poet Edward Lear:
Rhyming Scheme and Rhyming Patterns
Now that we’ve looked at some rhyming couplet examples and the forms in which we might find them let’s take a look at how they relate to rhyming schemes and patterns.
We describe rhyme schemes and patterns with letters of the alphabet. The letters correspond with the final word of each line of a poem, and phrases that rhyme is assigned the same letter.
For instance, this poem by Dr. Seuss consists entirely of rhyming couplets.
– The Grinch who stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
The rhyme scheme would be AA BB CC DD to represent the rhyming couplets in this example. This consistent rhyme scheme makes it easy and fun to read along to!
Why is it essential to teach rhyming couplets?
While learning rhyming couplets and other poetry terms isn’t mandatory for pupils in key stages 1 and 2, it’s still important to make children aware of literary and poetic devices in the poems that they read.
Many famous poets have used rhyming couplets over the centuries – Shakespeare, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Browning, to name a few!
Understanding these famous poets’ techniques will help us analyze and understand their poetry. It’ll also help when it comes to writing poetry independently. That’s why it’s essential to comprehend rhyming patterns, such as rhyming couplets, and showing your pupils some rhyming couplet examples can help with this.