masculine & feminine rhyme

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Revina

Member
Russian
There are many different types of rhyme in poetry: perfect and incomplete, single (masculine) and double (feminine). On wikipedia I read that such words as might-sight have masculine rhyme; numbers-slumbers have feminine.
BUT these words are perfectly rhymed and according to wikipedia we can talk of masculine or feminine rhyme only if two words perfectly rhyme . My question is if there are two words with half-rhyme can we still consider masculine and feminine properties in the analysis or we can consider this type only when two words perfectly rhyme?

What about Rendered and Tender (as its half rhyme) can i also say there is feminine rhyme too?
 

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  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The article seems to be a general article covering rhyme schemes in multiple languages. I haven't heard of this single/double rhyme in English and certainly not masculine/feminine rhymes. The specific section on French is the only one that has single/double and the section on Polish has masculine/feminine.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The difference between masculine and feminine rhyme is that the stressed syllable is final in masculine, but is followed by one or more unstressed syllables in feminine. So there is no reason why you can't apply that to "almost rhyming" pairs (whatever the names for that are). So 'might' and 'light' are a masculine rhyme, and 'might' and 'lights' is masculine but not-quite-rhyme. And 'mighty' and 'lighting' would have feminine rhyme for the part that does rhyme, though they don't completely rhyme.
     

    Revina

    Member
    Russian
    The difference between masculine and feminine rhyme is that the stressed syllable is final in masculine, but is followed by one or more unstressed syllables in feminine. So there is no reason why you can't apply that to "almost rhyming" pairs (whatever the names for that are). So 'might' and 'light' are a masculine rhyme, and 'might' and 'lights' is masculine but not-quite-rhyme. And 'mighty' and 'lighting' would have feminine rhyme for the part that does rhyme, though they don't completely rhyme.
    Your answers are always so helpful. I dont even know how to thank you. I am writing a thesis and there are so many things no one can answer. Your comments help to categorize the theoretical madness in my mind. :thank you::)
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The terms masculine and feminine are borrowed from French, where adjectives must have the same gender as their noun, and the usual feminine marker is a final -e. So un homme mort = a dead man, while une femme morte is a dead woman. And unlike English, the two words don't rhyme with each other. Strict French verse must alternate masculine and feminine rhymes.

    So you can see that this is totally unlike English prosody. Only a few poets followed such rules for a brief time in the 17th century, and even then it was not exactly the same. Dryden for instance:

    Beauty, like ice, our footing does betray;
    Who can tread sure on the smooth, slippery way: (ends in a vowel-sound)​
    Pleased with the surface, we glide swiftly on,
    And see the dangers that we cannot shun. (ends in a consonant)​
    Nowadays, as Entangledbank says, the terms masculine and feminine (also called strong and weak rhymes) refer to the stress, not the final vowel. Rhymes in English tend to be masculine rather than feminine, that is the nature of the language. But verse that is totally masculine ends up being rather mechanical, and many poets add a few feminine endings (an ustressed final syllable) to vary their effect. This is easily done in blank (unrhymed) verse.

    The example mighty/lighting that EB uses in #7 is what my source of information calls half-rhyme. (Frances Stillman, The poet's manual and rhyming dictionary, Thames & Hudson, London 1966.)
     
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