Embracing rhyme

The embracing rhyme is a rhyme scheme, which is formed from a definite sequence of final rhymes, such as the cross rhyme, pair rhyme or tail rhyme. The embracing rhyme is formed from at least three verses, the outer lines of the verse enclosing the inner lines or “embracing” (→ verse).

A hugging rhyme usually consists of two pairs of rhymes, one of them enclosing the other in a certain way. The first verse opens the strophe, the next lines are formed from a pair of rhymes, and the final verse line again rhymes to the first. The rhyme scheme follows the pattern abba.

To illustrate this, we can look at a four-line book from Goethe’s “Tame Xenien”, which he wrote with Schiller. Here, the words are rhyming and worthy, have and gifts.

A pure rhyme is much sought after,
but to have pure thought,
the noblest of all gifts,
that’s all my rhymes.
In this stanza the verses 1 and 4 are rhyming, but also the verses 2 and 3. If we now emphasize these two pairs of rhymes, it becomes clear what the typical feature of an embracing rhyme is and how far a rhyme pair surrounds the other.

A pure rhyme is much sought after,
but to have pure thought,
the noblest of all gifts,
that’s all my rhymes.
By means of these marks, we can now make a very clear statement about the rhyme scheme, since we can recognize a sequence. We see that the individual color pairs somehow belong together. We could now describe this sequence as red, green, green, red.
Note: The embracing rhyme is also referred to as enclosing or comprehensive rhyme, blockreim, or mirror rhyme. All five names, however, mean the same rhyme scheme. However, the term hugging rhyme is most likely to be the most widespread.

The rhyme scheme in the hugging rhyme
Now, however, we do not return such a sequence by naming the respective color, but use ascending letters for it.

For the identification, we simply start at the front in the alphabet and select the letter A for the first rhyme that encounters us in a stanza, so the next new rhyme is marked with a B. However, German lessons agreed to use small letters. We now apply the principle to our embracing rhyme.

a
b
b
a
A pure rhyme is very popular,
but to have pure thought,
the noblest of all gifts,
that’s all my rhymes.
We can now specify this sequence to show that the above four-line is a hugging rhyme. The rhyme scheme in the hugging rhyme is thus abba.
Let letters in the embracing rhyme continue
However, it is quite rare that a poem consists only of four lines or even a single verse. For this reason, we have to carry the letters, of course, in order to correctly characterize the rhyme scheme, always when a new rhyme meets us. The first two verses from the poem “Adler” by Joseph von Eichendorff are intended as an example.

a
b
b
a
c
d
d
c

Just climb, sun,
On the mound!
Showers,
And the earth shakes with delight.
Bold to the top
Greets from night
Forest splendor,
Still cool with dreams.

Both verses are clearly marked by a hugging rhyme. Here, we have given the rhyme schema in the first by abba and in the second line by the sequence cddc.

Reimpaare: sun and bliss Might and Weeping above and interwoven Night and forest splendor

Note: If we were to follow further stanzas, which we could identify as hugging rhymes, we would do this on an ongoing basis. So: effe, ghhg, ijji, etc.

Couple rhyme and embracing rhyme form a tail rhyme
Caution is required when we carelessly handle the rhyme scheme. Especially in the analysis and interpretation of poems, the individual rhyme pairs can alternately alternate within the stanzas or even form no uniform pattern.

It is important in this connection, however, that the combination of a pair of rhymes and the embracing rhyme is called a humming rhyme. Let us look at an example familiar to most of us from childhood: the evening member of Matthias Claudius.

a
a
b
c
c
b
The moon has risen,
the golden stars
in the sky bright and clear;
the forest stands black and silent,
and from the meadows
the white mist wonderful.
The first two lines are, in reality, a pair-rhymes, while verses 3,4,5 and 6 are clearly recognizable as embracing rhymes. However, if we find this interplay in a single verse, this is called a tail reim.
Effect and function of the embracing rhyme
A hugging rhyme is rarely arbitrarily set in a poem, and we can confidently check whether the content and function of the text go hand in hand, which is why it is worthwhile to look at the effect of the embracing rhyme.

Embracing rhyme and its function
In the hugging rhyme, a rhyme pair is surrounded by another. This is, therefore, protected by the other, perhaps a little covert, or even hidden. This effect can, of course, also fulfill a function at the level of interpretation.
A hugging rhyme can also have a surprising effect, since the supposed first rhyme without a pair is still dissolved in the end and thus forms a unit.
Through the hug, the content of a stanza is certainly sealed off. Consequently, the external can name the inner as a sub-theme or be superior in content.

local_offerevent_note October 1, 2017

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