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Rhyme in The Chambered Nautilus

Rhyme Examples in The Chambered Nautilus:

The Chambered Nautilus

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"Stole with soft step..."   (The Chambered Nautilus)

The phrase “stole with soft step” uses rich consonance—a litany of s and t sounds—to convey the susurrous action of the nautilus as it moves its soft body from one chamber of its shell to the next.

"Year after year beheld the silent toil..."   (The Chambered Nautilus)

Holmes employs an unusual structure by writing “The Chambered Nautilus” in five septets, or seven-line stanzas. The rhyme scheme represent a slight variation on rhyme royal, a septet-based rhyme scheme introduced by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century. Whereas Chaucer’s septets follow an ABABBCC scheme, Holmes’s go AABBBCC. Metrically, Holmes’s septets are erratic. Line by line, each stanza contains a line of pentameter, two of trimeter, another of pentameter, another of trimeter, and finally a line of hexameter. The alternating five- and three-beat lines imitate the nautilus’s toilsome, cyclical progression through its sequential chambers. The expansive hexameter of the last line expresses the nautilus’s final release, as figured in the poem’s final stanza.

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