The pattern of rhymes at the ending of each line in a poem is called a rhyme scheme. Letters (A,B,C...) are usually used to express which lines rhyme. Verses that are designated with the same letter are said to rhyme with each other. It is also known as an arrangement of rhymes in a stanza or a poem.
For an easier understanding of the concept, let us take a famous nursery rhyme written by Jane Taylor as an example.
Twinkle twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.
We see that the first two lines rhyme with each other (star-are); the second two lines rhyme with each other (high-sky). Let us name each line as \(A\), \(B\) depending on the words that rhyme with each other.
|Twinkle twinkle little star,|
|How I wonder what you are.||A|
|Up above the world so high,||B|
|Like a diamond in the sky.||B|
It can thus be seen that this poem follows \(AABB\) pattern.
Rhyme scheme of the poem "The Secret of the Machines":
|We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine,||\(A\)|
|We were melted in the furnace and the pit||B|
|We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,||\(A\)|
|We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.||B|
|Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask,||\(A\)|
|And a thousandth of an inch to give us play:||B|
|And now, if you will set us to our task,||\(A\)|
|We will serve you four and twenty hours a day!||B|
|We can pull and haul and push and lift and drive,||\(A\)|
|We can print and plough and weave and heat and light,||B|
|We can run and race and swim and fly and dive,||\(A\)|
|We can see and hear and count and read and write!|
|But remember, please, the Law by which we live,||\(A\)|
|We are not built to comprehend a lie,||B|
|We can neither love nor pity nor forgive,||\(A\)|
|If you make a slip in handling us you die!||B|
|Though our smoke may hide the Heavens from your eyes,||\(A\)|
|It will vanish and the stars will shine again,||B|
|Because, for all our power and weight and size,||\(A\)|
|We are nothing more than children of your brain!||B|
The poem 'The Secret of the Machines' follows the rhyme scheme \(ABAB\) pattern.