Friday, September 7, 2007

Science of the Sonnet

Yes, sonnets may seem archaic, tired, old, and so on... However, Shakespearean sonnets are pretty much what people think of when it comes to sonnets. Did you know there are other kinds of sonnets? While all of them consist of fourteen lines, there are a few variations and the sonnet, which originated in Italy, means "little song."

Your typical Shakespearean sonnet has an ending rhyme pattern of:

Petrachan (named after the poet Petrarch) has the fourteen lines divided into an octet (set of eight lines), and sestet (set of six-lines) rhymed like so:
a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a and c-d-e-c-d-e

Finally, we have the Spenserian (named after poet Edmund Spenser) who is a mix of the above:

I found this information in a book titled: The Poet's Companion by: Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Lux.

Now here is a sonnet by Shakespeare to ponder upon while you notice the format and rhyme scheme:

But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, Time,
And fortify yourself in your decay
With means more blesses than my barren rhyme?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,
And many maiden gardens yet unset
With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers,
Much liker than your painted counterfeit.
So should the lines of life that repair
Which this time's pencil or my pupil pen
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
To give away yourself keeps yourself still;
And you must live, drawn by your own sweet

Thank you Shakespeare, and thank you all for reading. Poet Hound will not be posting on Saturday, so check back on Sunday. Have a wonderful week-end.

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