What is Internal Rhyme? Definition, Examples of Internal Rhymes

Definition of internal rhyme: Internal rhyme is when the poet includes words that rhyme within the same line or internal phrases of verse.

What is an Internal Rhyme?

Internal rhyme meaning: When there are words that rhyme within the same line or internal phrases, this is called internal rhyme.

Here is an example of internal rhyme:

  • In Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven”, he writes, “Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December”.
    • The rhyming of “remember” and “December” in the same line of verse is an example of internal rhyme.

There are three different types of internal rhyme:

Rhyme on the same line: this type of internal rhyme is like the example above from “The Raven.” With this type, the rhyming words will be including the same line of verse.

Here is another example of internal rhyme from Poe’s “The Raven:”

  • “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
    • “dreary” and “weary” = internal rhyme

Rhyme in the middle of separate lines: this internal rhyme is when there are rhyming words in the middle of two or more separate lines.

Here is an example from Shel Silverstein’s “Snowball:”

  • “ I thought I’d keep it as a pet / And let it sleep with me”
    • “keep” and “sleep” = internal rhyme

Rhyme in the end of one line and then in the middle of the successive line: this type of internal rhyme refers to the last word in a line of verse rhyming with a word in the middle of the very next line of verse.

Here is an example of this type of internal rhyme in Edgar Allan Poe’s “For Annie:”

  • “For man never slept / In a different bed”
    • “slept” and “different” = internal rhyme

Modern Examples of Internal Rhyme

Here are some popular examples of internal rhyme:

  • “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks includes internal rhyme.
    • “We real cool. We / Left school. We
    • “cool” and “school” = internal rhyme in the middle of separate lines
  • “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke includes internal rhyme.
    • “The whiskey on your breath / Could make a small boy dizzy
    • “whiskey” and “dizzy” = internal rhyme

The Function of Internal Rhyme

The purpose of internal rhyme is to create a rhythm with the words in the lines of verse. This rhythm created in the verse gives a musical effect to the readers.

Examples of Internal Rhyme in Literature

Here are some examples of internal rhyme in literature:

William Shakespeare includes internal rhyme in his play Macbeth when the witches speak to create a singsong effect to their speech. Shakespeare writes, “Double, double, toil and trouble.”

  • “double” and “trouble” = internal rhyme

Shel Silverstein includes internal rhyme in his poem “The Dirtiest Man in the World.”He writes, “Oh, I’m Dirty Dan, the world’s dirtiest man.”

  • “dan” and “man” = internal rhyme

Summary: What Does Internal Rhyme Mean?

Define internal rhyme: Internal rhyme occurs when words within the same line or phrase of lines rhyme with each other to create a rhythmic effect with the writing.

Final example:

Internal rhyme in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” can be found in the line that reads, “For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams”.

  • “beams” and “dreams” = internal rhyme