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The Sonnet

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1 The Sonnet

2 What is a Sonnet? Popularized in the 14 th century by Petrarch, an Italian poet Definition: ** A lyric poem comprising 14 rhyming lines of iambic pentameter Standard subject matter of early sonnets was the torments of passionate love –Usually in a courtly love convention Sonnet sequences –Sonnets connected by theme and subject matter

3 English Sonnet Often referred to as a Shakespearean sonnet. Made up of three quatrains (set of 4 lines) and a concluding couplet (2 lines). The volta (“turn”) comes at the end with the heroic couplet Rhyme scheme: –abab cdcd efef gg

4 Sonnet 100 by Shakespeare Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long To speak of that which gives thee all thy might? Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song, Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light? Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem In gentle numbers time so idly spent; Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem And gives thy pen both skill and argument. Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey, If Time have any wrinkle graven there; If any, be a satire to decay, And make Time's spoils despised every where. Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life; So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife.

5 Italian Sonnet Also known as a Petrarchan sonnet. Made up of an 8-line octave and a 6-line sestet The octave follows a rhyme scheme of abbaabba. The sestet follows one of the following rhyme schemes: cdecde or cdcdcd. The transition from the octave to the sestet usually coincides with a volta ( “ turn ” ) in the argument of the poem.

6 Sonnet 125 by Petrarch In what bright realm, what sphere of radiant thought Did nature find the model whence she drew That delicate dazzling image where we view Here on this earth what she in heaven wrought? What fountain-haunting nymph, what dryad, sought In groves, such golden tresses ever threw Upon the gust? What heart such virtues knew?— Though her chief virtue with my death is fraught. He looks in vain for heavenly beauty, he Who never looked upon her perfect eyes, The vivid blue orbs turning brilliantly— He does not know how love yields and denies; He only knows, who knows how sweetly she Can talk and laugh, the sweetness of her sighs.

7 Rhyme scheme Petrarchan (Italian) rhyme scheme: abba, abba, cd, cd, cd abba, abba, cde, cde Shakespearean (English) rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg

8 Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed: But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st, So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. A B A B C d C D E F E F G G

9 Iambic Pentameter Verse written in five-foot lines with the following pattern: one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable This two syllable combination is called an iamb. Five iambs = Ten syllables per line For example: “ But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? ”

10 Iambic Pentameter Verse written in five-foot lines with the following pattern: one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable This two syllable combination is called an iamb. Five iambs = Ten syllables per line For example: “ But SOFT ! What LIGHT through YON der WIN dow BREAKS ? ”

11 An iamb is a metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable U followed by an accented syllable /. u / a gain u / u / im mor tal ize

12 Rhythm and Meaning While the iamb u / easily represents a natural rhythm and emphasis often used in English, the trochee / u gives a feeling of pressing forward, of more urgency or insistence : / u / u / u / u Charging down the King ’ s path steady The anapest is used for a galloping kind of rhythm u u / u u / or for a light, almost comic feeling: u / u u / u u / There once was a fellow at Drew

13 Iambic pentameter U / U / U / U / U / One day I wrote her name u pon the strand, But came the waves and washed it a way: A gain I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide, and made my pains his prey »Edmund Spenser, Amoretti, Sonnet

14 Thought structure Octave/ sestet The octave, eight lines, presents a situation or idea. The sestet (sextet), six lines, responds, to the situation or idea in the octave. Quatrain, quatrain, quatrain, couplet Each quatrain, four lines, describes and idea or situation which leads to a conclusion or response in the couplet, two lines.


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