One of the judges at last Sunday's satire competition expressed the opinion that real poetry should rhyme. Presumably this is in the oft expressed belief that all poetry in the past was written in rhyme. Not so.
John Milton wrote Paradise Lost in blank verse without rhymes. In the second edition his printer asked him to include a note about the absence of rhymes, presumably there had been complaints. This is what Milton wrote:
THE VERSE: THE Measure is English Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and Virgil in Latin; Rhime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter; grac't indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carried away by Custom, but much to thir own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse then else they would have exprest them.
Not without cause therefore some both Italian, and Spanish Poets of prime note have rejected Rhime both in longer and shorter Works, as have also long since our best English Tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, triveal, and of no true musical delight; which consists onely in apt Numbers, fit quantity of Syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one Verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoyded by the learned Ancients both in Poetry and all good Oratory.
This neglect then of Rhime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, that it rather is to be esteem'd an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover'd to heroic Poem from the troublesom and modern bondage of Rimeing.
Milton was a master of polemic and wasn't afraid to attack vulgar readers who demanded this jingling sound of like endings which caused vexation, hindrance and constraint.
Of course there are some rhymes in Paradise Lost and Milton used rhymes in other poems, the sonnets obviously and also Lycidas.
My piece of satirical poetry last Sunday night had a very strong rhyme scheme throughout, luckily!.