Even more important, this final masculine rhyme
draws attention to the spatial as opposed to temporal object and experience.
In classical Russian poetry, regular alternation between feminine and masculine rhyme
is the norm.
Is it significant that 'Yeux' is the only masculine rhyme
in the sonnet?
And the sonnet is peculiarly feminine, partly because in the tercets two feminine rhymes twice engulf the single masculine one; partly because the single masculine rhyme
(/ite/) is so closely related, in acoustic terms, to the masculine rhyme
of the octave (/iRe/), that masculinity seems markedly without variety, resource, imagination; partly because the sestet seems to introduce 'nui[t]z' as an alternative or companion to 'repos' (and 'sommeil'), to envelop both sleep and dream in the feminine; and mostly because the loved one becomes progressively excluded from a poem apparently addressed to him, as, first, sleep, and then, we realize, the self, are increasingly the subject.
Rhyme is classified according to the number of syllables contained in the rhyme as follows: masculine rhyme
, in which the final syllables are accented and after differing initial consonants the sounds are identical (lark, stark; support, resort); feminine rhyme, in which accented, rhyming syllables are followed by identical, unaccented syllables (revival, arrival; flutter, butter); and triple rhyme, a kind of feminine rhyme in which accented, rhyming syllables are followed by two identical syllables (machinery, scenery; tenderly, slenderly).
Structurally, masculine rhyme
in the tonic-syllabic metre consists of a metrical strong position occupied by a stressed syllable; perceptually, it generates an abrupt cut-off point.
Though the poem has no extended stanzas, suggesting by their omission that every stanza of the speaker's words is to be viewed as a tightly managed unit dominated by an appropriately masculine rhyme
, the tail rhyme of each tercet depends upon a feminine ending.
Emily Dickinson used the masculine rhyme
to great effect in the last stanza of "After great pain, a formal feeling comes--":
The too-regular effect of masculine rhyme
is sometimes softened by using trailing rhyme, or semirhyme, in which one of the two words trails an additional unstressed syllable behind it (trail/failure).
In Eugene Onegin, 40 percent of masculine rhymes
, and only 13 percent of feminine ones, are rich (a 27 percent difference).
Robic's third chapter, "Les Jeux de la versification a la parodie," also refers to poets who subvert the tradition of alternating feminine and masculine rhymes
to serve homosexual or lesbian themes, as we see in Banville's "Erinna" which is written in feminine rhymes only.
I can well understand a reluctance to have the dialogue retain all the features of the Onegin stanza, including the alternating feminine and masculine rhymes