PERFECT RHYME PURISTS. There are traditionalists on Broadway who feel strongly that perfect rhymes are the only way to go. Stephen Sondheim, who writes brilliant lyrics, says that: “using near-rhymes is like juggling clumsily.” The quote comes from this interview with Jeffery Brown on the NPR website. Sondheim continued in the interview: “A rhyme draws the ear’s attention to the word. So, you don’t make the least important word in the line the rhyme word….and also a rhyme can take something that is not too strong and make it much stronger. If you tell a joke in rhyme, it’s twice as funny…”
Notice that in Hamilton, the rhyme of “squalor” and “scholar” at the ends of lines emphasizes two very important words. And the words are placed in a sentence which encapsulates what we are about to see. A classic use of perfect rhyme.