Published on June 17, 2007
What do you know about the sonnet?: What do you know about the sonnet? Rhyme What is a Sonnet?: What is a Sonnet? The term sonnet is derived from the Provençal word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning little song. What is a sonnet? A Structured poem: Single Stanza of 14 lines Meter (the Rhythm of a sonnet): iambic pentameter (5 feet x 2 syllables each= 10 syllables per line) Two major rhyme patterns in English literature: Petrarchan or Italian Shakespearean or English Sonnets are usually about love and are lyrical Ever-Popular: Ever-Popular *The term 'Lyric' relates to the lyrics of a song (such as the 'words' to the Beatles’ song 'Hey Jude.' A Lyric is a type of short poem, consisting of the voice of a single speaker, who expresses a state of mind, thought process, or feelings. The term originates from Greek, which signifies a song sung to the music of the lyre Different Styles of SonnetsPetrarchan: Different Styles of Sonnets Petrarchan Petrarch (1304-1374) : Italian scholar, poet, and humanist, a major force in the development of the Renaissance, famous for his poems addressed to Laura, an idealized beloved whom he met in 1327 and who died in 1348. Popularized the sonnet, which was first imitated by the English. Shakespeare Edmund Spenser ZEFIRO TORNA E 'L BEL TEMPO RIMENA Zefiro torna e'l bel tempo rimena e i fiori e l'erbe, sua dolce famiglia a garrir Progne a pianger Filomena e primavera candida e vermiglia. Ridono i prati, e'l ciel si rasserena; Giove s'allegra di mirar suo figlia; l'aria e l'aqua e la terra è d'amor piena; ogni animal d'amar si riconsiglia. Ma per me, lasso! tornano i più gravi sospiri, che del cor profondo tragge quella ch'al ciel se ne portò le chiavi; e cantare augelletti e fiorir piagge e'n bele donne oneste atti soavi sono un deserto e fere aspere e selvagge. a Sestet Different Styles of SonnetsEnglish or Shakespearean: ROMEO If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss. JULIET Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, Which mannerly devotion shows in this; For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss. ROMEO Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too? JULIET Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. ROMEO O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. JULIET Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake. ROMEO Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take. Different Styles of Sonnets English or Shakespearean Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets, and even included some in his plays: Note the number of syllables in each line: COUPLET Italian vs. English(Petrarchan vs. Shakespearean): Italian vs. English (Petrarchan vs. Shakespearean) Upon Reading Chapman’s Homer By John Keats Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse have I been told That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne; Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men Look'd at each other with a wild surmise-- Silent, upon a peak in Darien. A B B A A B B A C D C D C D A B AB CD C D E F EF GG Bright Star By John Keats Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--- Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite1, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--- No---yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever---or else swoon in death. OCTAVE SESTET 3 QUATRAINS COUPLET One Notable Exception:: One Notable Exception: The Spenserian Sonnet (Named after Edmund Spenser) Sweet is the rose, but grows upon a briar; Sweet is the juniper, but sharp his bough; Sweet is the eglantine but pricketh near; Sweet is the fir bloom, but his branch is rough; Sweet is the cypress, but his rind is tough; Sweet is the nut, but bitter is his pill; Sweet is the broom flower, but yet sour enough; and sweet is moly, but his root is ill. So every sweet with sour is tempered still, That maketh it be coveted the more: For easy things, that may be got at will, Most sorts of men do set but little store. Why then should I account of little pain, That endless pleasure shall unto me gain! a b a b b c b c c d c d e e Interlinked stanzas: Couplet The Flow of the English Sonnet: 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: The Flow of the English Sonnet First eight lines of a sonnet will present an idea, problem, etc. In the last 4-6 lines, a new idea or concept is introduced. In other words, there is a 'twist' to the story. Often the last two lines provide some sort of resolution, closure- the couplet 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 dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 The Twist: The Twist Find the twist/change in the thought in this sonnet by Shakespeare: When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd, Desiring this man's art and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate; For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings. The Structure of the Sonnet: The Structure of the Sonnet 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 dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; 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. COUPLET QUATRAIN a b a b c d c d e f e f g g QUATRAIN QUATRAIN 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 A quatrain is a group of four lines part of a rhyme pattern: abba or abab Figurative Language in Sonnets: Figurative Language in Sonnets Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) Apostrophe: the speaker speaks directly to something nonhuman, or The direct address of a person or personified thing, either present or absent 'O Western Wind,' or 'Ah, Sorrow, you consume us.' With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies ! How silently, and with how wan a face ! What, may it be that even in heavenly place That busy archer his sharp arrows tries? Sure, if that long with love-acquainted eyes Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case; I read it in thy looks; thy languisht grace To me that feel the like, thy state descries. Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me, Is constant love deemed there but want of wit? Are beauties there as proud as here they be? Do they above love to be loved, and yet Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess? Do they call virtue there, ungratefulness? Figurative Language in Sonnets: Figurative Language in Sonnets Allusion: A literary text or reference, without explicit identification, to a person, place, or event, or to another literary work or passage. Find the allusion in this sonnet: With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies ! How silently, and with how wan a face ! What, may it be that even in heavenly place That busy archer his sharp arrows tries? Sure, if that long with love-acquainted eyes Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case; I read it in thy looks; thy languisht grace To me that feel the like, thy state descries. Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me, Is constant love deemed there but want of wit? Are beauties there as proud as here they be? Do they above love to be loved, and yet Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess? Do they call virtue there, ungratefulness? Sonnets and Love: Sonnets and Love Love is often the subject of any sonnet Intense, passionate love, involving some emotional pain Unrequited love In conveying love, poets use figurative language to create a parallel between two very different things or situations Such a comparison is known as a 'conceit' Find the conceit in this sonnet by Petrarch, translated by Sir Thomas Wyatt. Petrarch Sonnet 104 Translated by Sir Thomas Wyatt I find no peace, and all my war is done ; I fear and hope, I burn, and freeze like ice ; I fly aloft, yet can I not arise ; And nought I have, and all the world I seize on, That locks nor loseth, holdeth me in prison, And holds me not, yet can I scape no wise : Nor lets me live, nor die, at my devise, And yet of death it giveth me occasion. Without eye I see; without tongue I plain : I wish to perish, yet I ask for health ; I love another, and thus I hate myself ; I feed me in sorrow, and laugh in all my pain. Lo, thus displeaseth me both death and life, And my delight is causer of this strife. More Twists and Surprises: More Twists and Surprises Shakespeare had a little fun with the idea of using an exaggerated figure of speech to convey love: What is different about the tone and subject of this sonnet? 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. ˘ ´ ˘ ´ ˘ ´ ˘ ´ ˘ ´ Sonnets and Their Subject Matters: Sonnets and Their Subject Matters While the sonnet form is widely used to express love and emotions dealing with romantic love, poets often use the form to address other subjects John Donne, a poet of the early 17th century, wrote a series of sonnets entitled Holy Sonnets on the subject of religion and spirituality. What is the conceit in this sonnet? John Donne Holy Sonnet 14 Batter my heart, three-personed God1; for you As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend; That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new. I, like an usurped town, to another due, Labor to admit you, but O, to no end; Reason, your viceroy2 in me, me should defend, but is captived, and proves weak or untrue. yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain, But am betrothed unto your enemy. Divorce me, untie or break that knot again; Take me to you, imprison me, for I, Except you enthrall3 me, never shall be free, Nor even chaste, except you ravish me. 1Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity which consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 2Deputy 3Enslave The Romance of the Sonnet: The Romance of the Sonnet Except for a lapse in the English Neoclassic Period of literature (1660-1798), the sonnet has remained a popular form to the present day. John Keats and other Romantic poets wrote sonnets to focus on aspects of human emotions: Sonnets In Our World Today: Sonnets In Our World Today The sonnet thrives today with poets of the modern age. What figurative language does the poet use in this sonnet? Acquainted With The Night By Robert Frost I have been one acquainted with the night. I have walked out in rain - and back in rain. I have outwalked the furthest city light. I have looked down the saddest city lane. I have passed by the watchman on his beat And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet When far away an interrupted cry Came over houses from another street, But not to call me back or say good-bye; And further still at an unearthly height, O luminary clock against the sky Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. I have been one acquainted with the night. Sonnets In Our World Today: Sonnets In Our World Today Flying Kites -for Michael By Gary Whitehead All afternoon we fight the pull of string, Resist the snap of twine, the losing flight. We roam through a side blue, shepherding Clouds, our necks aching from the persistent Upward tilt. Far off, the flap of small sails Full of wind. When my brother unravels slack His kite dives after mine, a dogfight to sate That other wrestling need waiting inside us Like the glint in a stray mongrel’s eyes. Swerving, our kites peck at one another, In their tangle give up their separate shapes, And fall at last like one broken bird, which All our lives we walk toward, reeling, reeling, Till the mending and the next good breeze. 5 10 Sources: Sources Abrams, M.H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1957. Great Sonnets. Negri, Paul, Ed. New York: Dover, 1994. Whitehead, Gary. 'Flying Kites.' The Velocity of Dust. County Clare: SalmonPoetry, 2004.