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The English (or “Shakespearean”) Sonnet The Sonnet William Mulready 1839.

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1 The English (or “Shakespearean”) Sonnet The Sonnet William Mulready 1839

2 Notice: There is a “problem” introduced in the first part of the poem. What is the problem? The end of the poem offers a solution. What is the solution? 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 wand’rest 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.

3 Notice: How many lines are in the sonnet? 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 wand’rest 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.

4 Notice: the rhyming words at the ends of the lines. Do you see a pattern? Continue to mark these as started - a new letter for each new rhyming sound. How many different rhyming sounds are there? The rhymes create sets of lines. A set of four lines is called a “quatrain.” A set of two lines is called a “couplet.” Where is the “problem” set forth? And where is the“solution” located? Sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? a Thou art more lovely and more temperate. b Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, a And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. b 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 wand’rest 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.

5 Notice: The unstressed (u) and stressed (/) syllable pairs in each line of the poem (mark them): u / u / u / u / u / u / Each pair is called a “foot.” The unstressed / stressed pattern is called an “iamb” (think: “I am,” “I am,” “I am”) It is a natural rhythm in spoken English. How many pairs of iambic feet are in each line? A sonnet is written in iambic pentameter. Sonnet 18 u / u / u / u / u / 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 wand’rest 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.

6 Review: A sonnet is composed of fourteen lines in iambic pentameter. A sonnet has a definite rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme of the English sonnet separates the poem into three quatrains and a couplet. A sonnet contains a “problem” in the first part of the poem, which is typically resolved in the final couplet.

7 Coda: The true originator of the sonnet form was the 14th century Italian poet, Francesco Petrarch, who wrote 366 sonnets for Laura, a woman he loved, but could not have. She was married and died of the plague, therefore representing the epitome of “unattainable” love. Laura de Noves


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