Pararhyme

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We have pararhyme when the final syllable in two lines of a poem not only ends with the same consonant but begins with the same consonant, even though the vowel sounds in the two syllables are not the same. The pairs of words sail/seal, more/mere, pole/pale, bar/beer are all examples of pararhyme.

Pararhyme is common in the poetry of the war poet Wilfrid Owen (1893-1918). Here is an example from his poem Strange Meeting - the pararhymes are printed in bold type.

It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned.
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
...


Pararhyme - the word was coined by the poet Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) - is sometimes called partial rhyme or imperfect rhyme. It can be distinguished from half-rhyme. We have half-rhyme when the final syllable in two lines of poetry ends with the same consonant but the vowel sounds in these syllables and the consonants preceding the vowel sounds are different. The pairs of words mad/bed, peal/maul, hate/pot, and game/home are all examples of half-rhyme. See further half-rhyme.

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