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Poetry Guide: Half Rhyme

Half rhyme, sometimes known as slant, sprung or near rhyme, and less commonly eye rhyme (a term covering a broader phenomenon), is consonance on the final consonants of the words involved. It is widely used in Irish, Welsh, and Icelandic verse. Some examples are ill and shell and dropped and wept.

The first English poet to use half rhyme was Henry Vaughan, but it was not until it was used in the works of W. B. Yeats and Gerard Manley Hopkins that half rhyme became popular among English-language poets. In the 20th century half-rhyme has been used widely by English poets. Often, as in most of Yeats's poems, it is mixed with regular rhymes, assonance, para-rhymes etc.

When have I last looked on
The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies
Of the dark leopards of the moon?
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,
(Yeats, "Lines written in Dejection")