- The endeavor to portray an accurate portrayal of nature and
real life without the imaginative representation of idealization.
- REDUPLICATED WORDS
- See Ricochet Words
- A stanza, line, part of a line, or phrase, generally pertinent to the central topic, which is repeated verbatim, usually at regular intervals throughout
a poem, most often at the end of a stanza, as in
Spenser's Prothalamion, or Villon's
"Des Dames du Temps Jadis." Occasionally a single word is used as a
refrain, as nevermore in Poe's "The Raven." Sometimes a refrain is written with
progressive variations, in which case it may be termed incremental repetition.
(See also Burden, Repetend)
- See under Haiku
- REPETEND (REP-ee-tend)
- The irregular repetition of a word, phrase, or line in a poem. It is a type of
refrain, but differs in that it can appear at various places in the poem
and may be only a partial repetition, as in Poe's "Ulalume."
- A basic artistic device, fundamental to any conception of poetry. It is a highly effective unifying force; the
repetition of sound, syllables, words, syntactic elements,
lines, stanzaic forms, and metrical
patterns establishes cycles of expectation which are reinforced with each successive fulfillment.
Sidelight: Repetition is so important to poetry
that a large number of poetic devices are based on its different applications. Sometimes variations from the expected
repetitions can also achieve a significant effect.
- The quality of richness or variety of sounds
in poetic texture, as in Milton's:
and the thunder . . . ceases now
(See also Alliteration,
To bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.
- The recitation of a short epic poem or a longer epic
abridged for recitation.
- The art of speaking or writing effectively; skill in the eloquent use of language.
Sidelight: Rhetoric and poetry
are inseparable companions.
- RHETORICAL QUESTION
- A question solely for effect, with no answer expected. By the implication that the answer is
obvious, it is a means of achieving an emphasis stronger than a direct statement, as in Shelley's
"Ode to the West Wind:"
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
- RHOPALIC (roh-PAL-ik)
- Having each succeeding unit in a poetic structure longer than the preceding one. Applied
to a line, it means that each successive word is a syllable longer that its predecessor.
Applied to a stanza, each successive line is longer by either a syllable or a metrical foot. Rhopalic
verse is also called wedge verse.
- In the specific sense, a type of echoing which utilizes a correspondence of sound in the final
accented vowels and all that follows of two or more words, but the preceding consonant sounds must
differ, as in the words, bear and care. In a broader poetic sense, however,
rhyme refers to a close similarity of sound as well as an exact correspondence;
it includes the agreement of vowel sounds in assonance and the
repetition of consonant sounds in consonance
and alliteration. Usually, but not always, rhymes occur at the ends of lines.
Sidelight: Originally rime, the spelling
was changed due to the influence of its popular, but erroneous, association with the
Latin word, rhythmus. Many purists continue to use rime as the proper spelling
of the word.
Sidelight: Differences as well as
identity in sound echoes between words
contribute to the euphonic
effect, stimulate intellectual appreciation, and serve to unify a poem.
In addition, rhymes tend to heighten the significance of the words, provide a powerful mnemonic device, and
complement the rhythmic quality of the lines.
Terms like near rhyme,
half rhyme, and perfect rhyme function
to distinguish between the types of rhyme without prejudicial intent and should not be interpreted as expressions
Sidelight: Early examples of English poetry used
alliterative verse instead of rhyme. The use of rhyme in the end words
of verse originally arose to compensate for the sometimes unsatisfactory quality of
rhythm within the lines;
variations in the patterns of rhyme schemes then became functional in defining
diverse stanza forms, such as, ottava rima,
rhyme royal, terza rima, the
Spenserian stanza, and others. Rhyme schemes are also
significant factors in the definitions of whole poems, such as ballade,
sonnet, triolet, and
(See Close Rhyme, End Rhyme,
(See also Broken Rhyme, Disyllabic Rhyme,
Mosaic Rhyme, Sight Rhyme,
- RHYME ROYAL
- A stanza of seven lines of heroic or five-foot
iambic verse, rhyming
ababbcc. It probably received its name from its use by
King James I of Scotland, who was also a poet. It was previously known as
Troilus verse because Chaucer used it in Troilus and Criseyde.
- RHYME SCHEME
- The pattern established by the arrangement of rhymes in a stanza or poem,
generally described by using letters of the alphabet to denote the recurrence of rhyming lines, such as the
ababbcc of the Rhyme Royal stanza form.
Sidelight: The opening stanza of Wordsworth's
"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," with end rhymes of the
is described as having a rhyme scheme of ababcc; the two quatrains of the poem,
"La Tour Eiffel," with end words of form-warm-storm-insouciance
and earth-mirth-birth-France, have an interlocking or chain rhyme scheme of aaab cccb.
Sidelight: Capital letters in the alphabetic
rhyme scheme are used for the repeating lines of a refrain; the letters x and y
indicate unrhymed lines.
quatrains, the popular rhyme scheme of
abab, as in Wordsworth's "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways,"
is called alternate rhyme or cross rhyme.
Tennyson used an abba scheme, often called envelope rhyme, for
In Memoriam. The rhyme scheme of Fitzgerald's
The Rubáiyát of
Omar Khayyám is aaxa.
- An inferior poet.
(See also Doggerel,
- RHYMING SLANG
- A slang popular in Great Britain in the early part of the 20th century,
in which a word was replaced by a word or phrase that
rhymed with it, as loaf of bread for head. When the rhyme
was a compound word or part of a phrase, the rhyming part was often dropped, so in the foregoing example,
the word loaf alone would come to stand for head.
Sidelight: While most of the
words derived from rhyming slang were likely to be understood only by those familiar
with the idiom, some have continued in general English slang usage, as is the case with the above
- An essential of all poetry, the regular or progressive pattern of recurrent
accents in the flow of a poem
as determined by the arses and theses of
the metrical feet, i.e., the rise and fall of stress.
The measure of rhythmic quantity is the meter.
Sidelight: A rhythmic pattern in which the
accent falls on the final syllable of each
foot, as in the iamb or
anapest, is called a rising or ascending rhythm; a rhythmic
pattern with the accent occurring on the first syllable of each foot, as in the
dactyl or trochee, is a falling or descending
Sidelight: From an easy lilt to the
rough cadence of a primitive chant, rhythm is the organization of sound
patterns the poet has created for pleasurable reading.
(See also Ictus, Modulation,
- RICH RHYME
- See under Perfect Rhyme
- RICOCHET WORDS
- Hyphenated words, usually formed by
reduplicating a word with a change in the vowel or the initial consonant sound, such as
pitter-patter, chit-chat, riff-raff, wishy-washy, hob-nob, roly-poly, pell-mell, razzle-dazzle, etc.
Sidelight: There are a substantial number of ricochet words
in both modern and ancient English. They usually convey an intensifying effect.
(See also Kenning,
(Compare Close Rhyme, Neologism,
- RIDING RHYME
- An early form of open couplet, so named for
its use by Chaucer to narrate the riding episodes of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.
- See Rhyme
- RIME BRISÉE (reem bree-SAY)
- See under Cross Rhyme
- RIME ENCHAINÉE (reem ahn-sheh-NAY)
- See under Chain Rhyme
- RIME RICHE (reem-REESH)
- See under Perfect Rhyme
- Formerly a medieval tale in mixed prose and verse describing marvelous
adventures of a hero of chivalry, it later came to mean a short
(Compare Canzone, Ghazal,
Melic Verse, Ode,
- An 18th century movement revolting against the conventional strictness of
placing artistic emphasis on imagination and the emotions.
- RONDEAU (RAHN-doe)
- A fixed form used mostly in light or witty verse, usually consisting
of fifteen octo- or decasyllabic lines in three
stanzas, with only two rhymes used throughout.
A word or words from the first part of the first line are used as a
(usually unrhymed) refrain ending the second
and third stanzas, so the rhyme scheme is aabba aabR aabbaR.
Sidelight: An example of the rondeau is the
best-known poem from World War I, "
In Flanders Fields," by Lt. Col. John McCrae.
Sidelight: The skillful writer of a rondeau, and
similar forms, arranges the repetition of the refrain in such a way that it seems to come naturally, without
(Compare Rondel, Rondelet,
(See also Chain Verse, Envelope)
- RONDEL (RAHN-dul)
- A variation of the rondeau in which the first two lines of the first
stanza are repeated as the last two lines of the second and third stanzas, thus a
rhyme scheme of ABba abAB abbaA(B). Sometimes
only the first line of the poem is repeated at the end.
- RONDELET (rahn-duh-LET)
- A short variation of the rondeau consisting generally of one 7-line
stanza with two rhymes. The first line has four syllables and is repeated as a refrain
forming the third and seventh lines; the other lines have eight syllables each.
(Compare Rondel, Triolet,
- A variation of the rondeau devised by A. C. Swinburne, demonstrated in his poem,
He shortened the stanzas and moved the first refrain from the second to the first
stanza, thus revising the rhyme scheme to abaR bab abaR.
- ROUNDELAY (ROWN-duh-lay)
- A poem with a refrain repeated frequently or at fixed intervals,
as in a rondel.
- ROVING OVER
- See under Scansion
- A Finnish or Old Norse poem.
(See also Edda,
- RUN-ON COUPLET
- See Open Couplet
- RUN-ON LINES
- Lines in which the thought continues into the next line, as opposed to
Sidelight: The occasional use of
run-on lines, also called enjambment,
provides a variation by making a pause in the thought appear at some place
other than the end of a line, but they should not be over-used.
(See also Open Couplet)