A Listing of the Rhymes in Gower’s Confessio Amantis
by Gyöngyi Werthmüller
Introduction and method
The following is a computer-generated listing of all the rhymes in Gower’s Confessio Amantis. The couplets* are listed as follows:
- Each line in this document contains one rhyme pair.
- The members of each pair are alphabetised; there is no place : grace, only grace : place. Because the entire list is also alphabetised, all the grace : place rhymes are grouped together.
- If the alphabetising does not change the order of the rhyming words, then there’s a < (less than) sign after the rhyme. For instance, 8,1739 This king hath founde newe grace,
8,1740 So that out of his derke place
Is listed as grace : place < VIII1740If the alphabetising does switch the actual sequence around, then the rhyme is followed by a > (greater than). Example:1,2377 Ther scholde go no pride a place.
1,2378 Bot I am ferr fro thilke grace,
Is listed as grace : place > I2378 .When the two members look the same, they are followed by an = (equals) sign. Note, this list is computer-generated and not refined enough (yet), so it goes by Gower’s/Macaulay’s spelling and not by pronunciation.
- The Roman and the Arabic numeral at the end of each line show the book and line number (respectively) where the couplet ends.
*The Rime Royals in VIII 2217-300 are also listed here as couplets, in the way that each rhyme possibility is shown in the case of the b-rhymes: B1 rhyming with B2, B1 with B3 and B2 with B3. Therefore, the B1 and B2 elements occur twice, although they don’t occur twice in the actual poem. In such lines there’s a \ to indicate this. In the Rime Royal stanzas, the line number shows where the rhyme begins.
I used the Gutenberg Project version of the Macaulay edition, available at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/266
There are many things about Gower’s (or Middle English) rhyming this listing can help reveal – but certainly there are use cases where the listing presented here is not the most efficient one. (For instance, you can easily check how many grace : place rhymes there are in the Confessio Amantis and where they can be found; but if you want to find all the words rhyming with grace and place, you have to do a bit of searching and counting before you get that list.) This is a first version, it may be followed by more refined ones; or by different listings/programs with a similar goal. You are certainly welcome to use this list for whatever you can and would like to. And should you have any comment, please do not hesitate to share it with me.
Gyöngyi Werthmüller (2016). E-mail: gy.werth at gmail dot com