2 What is a Sonnet?A 14 –line lyric poem with a complicated rhyme scheme and a defined structure (sonnet means “little song” in Italian)Its subject(s) focuses on personal feelings and thoughts, typically love.Has a meter of iambic pentameterA particular structure and rhyme scheme (Italian or English)
3 Origins of the SonnetRequires great technical skill to write therefore has challenged English poets since it’s introduction almost 500 yrs ago.Originated in Italy in the 13th century and was perfected by the Italian poet PetrarchIn 1530’s, Sir Thomas Wyatt (poet and diplomat in Henry VIII’s court), translated some of Petrarch’s love sonnets and wrote a few modified sonnets of his own.King Henry encouraged the poetry of courtly love and welcomed the sonnet as a poetic form.
4 Poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, further modified the sonnet’s rhyme scheme to adapt it to the rhyme-poor English language his changes are what distinguishes the English sonnet from the Italian sonnet.William Shakespeare, through Howard’s rhyme scheme, was allowed more freedom in versification and used this freedom to expand the sonnet’s conventions. He remains the undisputed master of the English sonnet.
5 Types: Italian vs English PetrarchanShakespearean2-part structure: octave (8 lines) and sestet (6 lines)Rhyme scheme: abbaabba for the octave and cdcdcd or cdecde for the sestetTypically the octave establishes the speaker’s situation and the sestet resolves or expresses a reaction to the situation.3-part structure: 3 quatrains (4 lines) and a rhyming couplet (2 lines)Rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, ggGenerally the 1st quatrain introduces a situation; 2nd and 3rd quatrain explores the situation; a turn or shift in thought occurs at the 4th quatrain/couplet; couplet resolves the situation.
6 The Spenserian Sonnet Named after the poet Edmund Spenser It is a variation of the English (Shakespearean) sonnetSame form as Shakespearean (3 quatrains and a couplet)Interlocking rhyme scheme (links the quatrains by using rhyming lines: abab, bcbc, cdcd,ee)
7 Francesco PetrarchPetrarch’s sonnets (a lifetime of work) show his longing for a woman named Laura, a woman he reportedly fell passionately in love with on April 6, 1327 after seeing her in church.Although Laura did not return his love, she was the inspiration for over 300 of Petrarch’s poems.Laura died in the plague that devastated much of Europe in the mid 14th century.“Sonnet 292” was written after her death.
8 Petrarchan Sonnets Sonnet 169 SummaryThe speaker struggles with his feelings of love, wavering between fleeing or seeking his beloved’s company and between telling her of his love or keeping silent.Rapt in the one fond thought that makes me strayfrom other men and walk this world alone,sometimes I have escaped myself and flownto seek the very one that I should flee;so fair and fell I see her passing bythat the soul trembles to take flight again,so many armed sighs are in her train,this lovely foe to Love himself and me!And yet, upon that high and clouded browI seem to see a ray of pity shine,shedding some light across the grieving heart:so I call back my soul, and when I vowat last to tell her of my hidden pain,I have so much to say I dare not start.
9 Petrarchan Sonnets Sonnet 292 SummaryUpon the death of his love, the speaker recalls those details about her that gave him joy. With her death, his source of inspiration is gone.The eyes I spoke of once in words that burn, the arms and hands and feet and lovely face that took me from myself for such a space of time and marked me out from other men; the waving hair of unmixed gold that shone, the smile that flashed with the angelic rays that used to make this earth a paradise, are now a little dust, all feeling gone; and yet I live, grief and disdain to me, left where the light I cherished never shows, in fragile bark on the tempestuous sea. Here let my loving song come to a close; the vein of my accustomed art is dry, and this, my lyre, turned at last to tears.
10 William Shakespeare Wrote a series of 154 sonnets Differ in some ways from sonnets written by other poets of his time: 1. they are addressed to at least 3 different people (a young man, a “dark lady”, and a rival poet) his themes are more complex and less predictable (themes of time, change, and death, as well as love and beauty) he developed the structure of the English sonnet form to its highest artistic level
11 Shakespearean Sonnet 116The speaker voices the conviction that love is unalterable, an anchor in the changing sea of time.Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments; love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wand'ring bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me prov'd, I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.
12 Shakespearean Sonnet 130The speaker observes that his love, like most real women, does not have the beauty of a goddess, but she is still beautiful.(A mocking criticism of the poets of his time and their works expressing “perfect beauty” of their subjects)My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress when she walks treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.
13 Edmund Spenser“Sonnet 30” and “Sonnet 75” are part of a collection of sonnets that he named Amoretti (“intimate little tokens of love”)published in 1595The sonnets in Amoretti are arranged in sequence that depict the rituals and emotions of a courtship.Many of them were written during Spenser’s courtship of his second wife Elizabeth Boyle.
14 Spenserian Sonnet 30Quatrains one and two are in the form of questions, with the last quatrain and the couplet supplying an “answer”.What are the questions in Q1 and Q2?What is the answer in Q3?What is the conclusion in the couplet?My love is like to ice, and I to fire; How comes it then that this her cold so great Is not dissolved through my so hot desire, But harder grows the more I her entreat? Or how comes it that my exceeding heat Is not delayed by her heart-frozen cold: But that I burn much more in boiling sweat, And feel my flames augmented manifold? What more miraculous thing may be told, That fire, which all things melts, should harden ice: And ice, which is congealed with senseless cold Should kindle fire by wonderful device. Such is the power of love in gentle mind, That it can alter all the course of kind.
15 Spenserian Sonnet 75What is the situation presented in the first 2 quatrains?What is the conclusion?One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away: Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide, and made my pains his prey. "Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain assay, A mortal thing so to immortalize; For I myself shall like to this decay, And eke my name be wiped out likewise." "Not so," quod I, "let baser things devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame: My verse your virtues rare shall eternize, And in the heavens write your glorious name: Where whenas death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew."