Eye rhyme

The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018

Eye rhyme

Eye rhyme: Words that appear to rhyme due to their spelling but that do not actually rhyme given their pronunciation. Most eye rhymes fall into the category of half rhyme.

EXAMPLES: Laughter and slaughter, bough and cough and dough, demon and lemon. Anne Bradstreet used eye rhyme in these lines from “A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment” (1678):

Flesh of thy flesh, bone of thy bone,

I here, thou there, yet both but one.

William Blake used eye rhyme in the second and fourth lines of the first stanza of “The Sick Rose” (1794):

O Rose, thou art sick.

The invisible worm

That flies in the night

In the howling storm

Has found out thy bed

Of crimson joy,

And his dark secret love

Does thy life destroy.