This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
The Poet's Assistant in Finding Words that Rhyme.
" Maud Muller, on a summer's day, Raked the meadow, sweet with hay," it is seen that the pleasant jingling of day" and "hay" has much to do in making the verse attractive.
To express the same idea without rhyme thus:
Maud Muller raked one day in summer, In a meadow where the hay was sweet, is to deprive the sentiment of much of its charm.
Rhyme is, in fact, one of the prominent essentials of sweet verse, though to make the complete poem, common sense and truth must be expressed with rhyme.
It is sometimes the case that rhyme can be so ingeniously arranged, however, as to make a poem a success from the simple arrangement of rhyming words. Thus:
"Hi diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon; The little dog laughed to see such a craft, And the dish ran away with the spoon."
Though nonsensical and ridiculous, this, with many others of the Mother Goose Melodies, is more attractive to the child than any of the choicest stanzas in Gray's Elegy.
A pleasant and intellectual pastime may be had by a company of young people, in the construction of impromptu rhymes. To conduct the exercise, one of the number is seated at the table, provided with paper and pencil. When all are in readiness, the hostess of the occasion announces a subject upon which they are to write a poem. Suppose the subject to be "spring." The person sitting next to the secretary will give the first line, the poetic feet decided upon, perhaps, being eight syllables to the line. The first line presented to the secretary may read,
In spring-time when the grass is green.
It is now in order for the second person in the group to give the next line ending with a word that rhymes with "green." Half a minute only will be allowed for the line to be produced. The individual, whose turn it is, gathers thought and says:
A thousand blossoms dot the scene.
This may not be very good poetry, but the rhyme is complete and the poetry is as good as may be expected with so short a time in which to produce it. The next continues by presenting the third line as follows:
A perfume sweet loads down the air.
The fourth says,
The birds now sing, and mate, and pair.
The fifth continues,
O! charming season of the year.
The sixth may be at a loss for the suitable word to rhyme with "year," but must produce something in the half-minute, and here it is:
I wish that you was always here.
Whether the word "you" is a suitable word in this place, the rhymsters have not time to determine, as the composition must progress rapidly so that a twenty-line metrical composition may be produced in ten minutes.
As poetry this extemporaneous effusion, when finally read by the secretary, will not be very good - it may be only doggerel rhyme - but it will be amusing to see it produced, and its production will be a decidedly intellectual exercise.
For the advantage of the student who may aim to write the best of verse, as well as the impromptu poet in the social circle, who may wish to test the ability to rapidly make rhyme, the following vocabulary, from Walker's Rhyming Dictionary, is given: