Leonine rhyme

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

Leonine rhyme

Leonine rhyme: A type of internal rhyme in which the last stressed syllable before the caesura, or pause in a line of poetry, rhymes with the last stressed syllable at the end of the line. Leonine rhyme is likely named for Leoninus, a twelfth-century poet and clergyman at St. Victor in Paris, who frequently employed this type of rhyme in his verse.

EXAMPLE: The following stanza from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798) exhibits leonine rhyme in the first and third lines:

“Fly, brother, fly! ║ more high, more high!

Or we shall be belated:

For slow and slow ║ that ship will go,

When the mariner’s trance is abated.”

The first stanza of hip-hop group Run-D.M.C.’s “My Adidas” (1986) exhibits leonine rhyme in four lines, pairing sand and land, hand and command, me and be, and together and forever. Rakim and Eric B.’s “Juice (Know the Ledge)” (1992) pairs both individual words and phrases, such as clout and about, y’all and fall, work with these and Hercules, and southpaw and right jaw.