The flip answer: one rhymes and one doesn’t. The slightly less flip answer: the easiest way to illustrate this is with Shakespeare. At least, that’s the easiest way I can think of right now, since most of the authors that spring to mind who write blank verse tend to avoid rhyme almost pathologically and vice versa. (I so wish I could use Marilyn Hacker here, but I can’t think of a single blank verse poem she’s written.) As far as the rhyming part goes, Shakespeare’s sonnets are pretty justifiably famous. Sonnet 130 is one of the most famous: My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare. Straight iambic pentameter […]

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