Here's the complete text of a poem by Rudyard Kipling (from "Just So Stories"):

The Camel's hump is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

Kiddies and grown-ups too-oo-oo,
If we haven't enough to do-oo-oo,
We get the hump --
Cameelious hump --
The hump that is black and blue!

We climb out of bed with a frouzly head,
And a snarly-yarly voice.
We shiver and scowl and we grunt and we growl
At our bath and our boots and our toys;

And there ought to be a corner for me
(And I know' there is one for you)
When we get the hump --
Cameelious hump --
The hump that is black and blue!

The cure for this ill is not to sit still,
Or frowst with a book by the fire;
But to take a large hoe and a shovel also,
And dig till you gently perspire;

And then you will find that the sun and the wind,
And the Djinn of the Garden too,
Have lifted the hump --
The horrible hump --
The hump that is black and blue!

I get it as well as you-oo-oo --
If I haven't enough to do-oo-oo!
We all get hump --
Cameelious hump --
Kiddies and grown-ups too!

Note that the quatrains aren't really quatrains: they're sestains (six lines, not four). And the rhyme scheme is aabccb. With the exception of the "chorus" (the stanzas with all the oo-oo's), this is the pattern throughout the poem.

In other words, it really should be:

The Camel's hump
Is an ugly lump
Which well you may see at the Zoo;
But uglier yet
Is the hump we get
From having too little to do.

As I mentioned earlier: aabccb.

Here's the question: "find" and "wind" ("And then you will find/That the sun and the wind") used to rhyme. Back in Shakespeare's time. Perhaps back in Byron's time, too. But "Just So Stories" was published in 1902, and written shortly before that. What gives?

  • 2
    It wouldn't surprise me if in a poem with words like "snarly-yarly," "frowzly" and "cameelious," the pronunciation of "wind" is twisted to rhyme with "find."
    – herisson
    Nov 2, 2015 at 6:32
  • @sumelic : Are you serious? This angle honestly never occurred to me. "The sun and the [wahynd]"? Hmm.
    – Ricky
    Nov 2, 2015 at 7:13
  • 3
    OED says: The normal pronunciation would be /waɪnd/ , as in behind, bind, find, grind, hind, mind, rind, etc., and this pronunciation remains dialectally and in ordinary poetical usage. The pronunciation /wɪnd/ became current in polite speech during the 18th cent.; it has been used occas. by poets, but the paucity of appropriate rhyming words (such as sinned, thinned, dinned) and the ‘thinness’ of the sound have been against its general use in verse. The short vowel of /wɪnd/ is presumably due to the influence of the derivatives windmill, windy, in which /ɪ/ is normal.
    – WS2
    Nov 2, 2015 at 7:56
  • @WS2 - Thank you. Now I'm thoroughly confused about the other matter.
    – Ricky
    Nov 2, 2015 at 8:06
  • 1
    What about asking this on the Linguistic site?
    – user66974
    Nov 2, 2015 at 8:37

1 Answer 1


I interpret it as an eye rhyme.

The definition given in M Montgomery's 'Ways of Reading: Advanced Skills for Students of English Literature' (2006) is as follows:

Words like ‘cough’ and ‘plough’, whose spelling suggests they ought to rhyme, are called ‘eye-rhymes’. (p 198)

The definition in Preminger and Brogan's 'New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics' (1993) reads as follows:

Two (or more) words which to the eye seem to rhyme, in that their spelling is nearly identical (both begin differently but end alike), but to the ear (that is, in pronunciation) do not. A modern example would be: rough/cough/through/though/plough. Eye rhymes must be discriminated with care, for, although their existence is undeniable and, in some ages, their quantity greater than is often thought, still they are on the whole a rarity. It is essential to remember that many words which are spelled similarly but do not now seem to rhyme in the aural sense, and so might be thought eye rhymes did rhyme in earlier stages of the language, or do or did so in other dialects than our own; none of these are for us genuine eye rhymes and should be set aside as spurious. Still, it is certain that poets have at all times been conscious to some degree of the visual dimension of poetry (Hollander's "poem in the eye") . This consciousness extends from larger effects- e.g. conceiving of the poem as a purely visual entity, in the several forms of visual poetry (q.v.) such as pattern poetry and concrete poetry (qq.v.)-to smaller-e.g. playing with the visual shapes of words, chiefly in eye rhyme. Though eye rhymes certainly exist in Cl. and Med. Lat., interest was augmented greatly by the invention of printing in the West. And in the poetry of the past two centuries in particular, correspondence of visual forms has been seen as an important strategy for expanding the domains and resources of poetry beyond those of traditional prosody, aurally based. Strictly speaking, eye rhyme is not a rhyme at all, but this is to conceive the issues too narrowly. Genuine cases of eye rhyme raise the issue of the relations of sound to spelling in language and poetry-notice, for example, that spelling differences in aural rhyme are invisible, whereas spelling similarities in eye rhyme are opaque; they are the marked form. Rhyme is by definition sound-correspondence, but insofar as spelling is meant to denote sound, we must both ignore it and-when necessary-pay attention to it. Hence accurate knowledge not only of historical phonology and dialectology but also of the spelling conventions of the language (the idea of a "correct" spelling scarcely exists before the 19th c.) is essential to the correct understanding of rhyme in both the aural and visual senses. In this, eye rhyme points up the very question of the aural and (or versus) the visual modes of poetry. See RHYME.-Schipper; H. C. Wyld, Studies in Eng. Rs. from Surrey to Pope (1923); A. Menichetti, "Rime per l'occhio e ipometrie nella poesia romanza delle origine," CN 26 (1966); Hollander.

While Geoffrey Leech in his 'Linguistic Guide to English Poetry' (1980, p 93) notes that Pope would have put 'line' and 'join' together because they would have rhymed in his day, I doubt Kipling would have rhymed 'find/wind' or 'voice/toys' - but being an artist as well as a writer and a poet, would have no doubt played about with visual as well as aural aspects of text.

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