The Sonnet compendium by B7YhrSV


									                         The Sonnet
Fact sheet: The Sonnet
The sonnet was introduced by the Italian Renaissance poet Petrarch (1304-1374);
The Petrarchan sonnet has 14 lines. The first 8 lines (the octave) usually introduce
the subject of the poem, the sonnet then takes a turn (volta) and the final 6 lines
(the sestet) form a conclusion or a comment. The sonnet has a strict rhyming scheme:
ABBA-ABBA-CDC-CDC and is often divided into stanzas according to the rhyme

The sonnet became very popular in Europe and William Shakespeare also used it,
however in a slightly modified version. The Shakespearean sonnet also has 14 lines
and falls in three quatrains (4 lines) which present the subject matter of the poem
and a concluding couplet (2 lines) which forms the conclusion or even a punchline to
the poem. This version of the sonnet also has a strict rhyming scheme: ABAB-CDCD-
EFEF-GG. The meter (rhythm) of a Shakespearean sonnet is usually iambic

The break-up of the traditional verse form in the twentieth century has also
affected the sonnet. It is still a 14-line poem but poets use the form more freely and
are often seen to ignore the implicit stanza forms and rhyme schemes. However, the
form is still used to express a single thought or emotion, often expressed as a
                       18 (Shakespeare)
                       Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?                 a
           quatrain    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,              c
          quatrain     And often is his gold complexion dimmed;                d
                       And every fair from fair sometimes declines,            c
                       By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed:      d
                       But thy eternal summer shall not fade                   e     < Turn? Volta?
          quatrain     Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,            f
                       Nor shall Death brag thou wand’rest in his shade        e
                       When eternal lines to time thou grow’st                 f
                            So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,        g
           couplet          So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.   g

           Meter:         |O -     | O    - | O     - | O    - | O - |

                            The Sonnet
                                                                   Read up on analysis terms:
                                                                   p. 1 + 9

                                                                   Identify the meter + rhyming
                                                                   scheme of these two poems
The Long Love That in My Thought Doth Harbor
    The long love that in my thought doth harbour,                 + identify the type of sonnet
    And in mine heart doth keep his residence,
    Into my face presseth with bold pretense
    And therein campeth, spreading his banner.
    She that me learneth to love and suffer
                                                                   What might be the difference
    And will that my trust and lust’s negligence
                                                                   between writing in Italian as
    Be reined by reason, shame, and reverence
                                                                   Petrarch did and writing in
    With his hardiness taketh displeasure.
    Wherewithal unto the heart’s forest he fleeth,                 English?
    Leaving his enterprise with pain and cry,
    And there him hideth, and not appeareth.                       Compare to the original
    What may I do, when my master feareth,                         Italian next page…
    But in the field with him to live and die?
    For good is the life ending faithfully.

                                            Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder (1503-1542)

Love, That Doth Reign and Live Within My Thought (1557)
     Love, that doth reign and live within my thought
     And built his seat within my captive breast,
     Clad in the arms wherein with me he fought,
     Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
     But she that taught me love and suffer pain,
     My doubtful hope and eke my hot desire
     With shamefast look to shadow and refrain,
     Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire.
     And coward Love, then, to the heart apace
     Taketh his flight, where he doth lurk and plain,
     His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
     For my lord’s guilt thus faultless bide I pain,
     Yet from my lord shall not my foot remove:
     Sweet is the death that taketh end by love.

                                            Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547)

(both poems are translations from Petrarch’s Rime 140, see next page)

                                  The Sonnet
Petrarch (1304-1374), Rime 140                   Trans. Anna Maria Armi (1946)*

Amor, che nel penser mio vive e regna            Love who within my thought does live and reign,

E 'l suo seggio maggior nel mio cor tène,        Who keeps his favoured seat inside my heart,

Talor armato ne la fronte vène,                  Sometimes likes on my forehead to remain,

Evi si loca, et ivi pon sua insegna.             And there in arms displays his bow and dart.

Quella ch'amare e sofferir ne 'ensegna           She who taught us to love and suffer pain,

E vòl che 'l gran desio, l'accesa spene,         Who demands that desire and ardent hope

Ragion, vergogna e reverenza affrene,            Be bound by reason, within worship's scope,

Di nostro ardir fra se stessa si sdegna.         Feels for our daring an inner disdain.

Onde Amor paventuoso fugge al core,              Hence Love in fright again to the heart flies,

Lasciando ogni sua impresa, e piange, e trema;   Abandoning all tasks, tries to hide,

Ivi s'asconde, e non apar piú fòre.              Trembles and weeps and comes no more outside.

Che poss'io far, temendo il mio signore,         What can I do, who fear my master's power,

Se non star seco in fin a l'ora estrema?         But stay with him until the final hour?

Ché bel fin fa chi ben amando more.              Because he ends well who well loving dies.

                                The Sonnet
  Various sonnets:
 William Shakespeare: 130 (1609)                           e. e. cummings 1926

 My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;               i like my body when it is with your
 Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;                 body. It is so quite new a thing.
 If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;           Muscles better and nerves more.
 If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.          i like your body. i like what it does,
 I have seen roses damasked, red and white,                i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
 But no such roses see I in her cheeks;                    of your body and its bones,and the trembling
 And in some perfumes is there more delight                -firm-smooth ness and which i will
 Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.           again and again and again
 I love to hear her speak; yet well I know                 kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
 That music hath a far more pleasing sound:                i like,slowly stroking the,shocking fuzz
 I grant I never saw a goddess go;                         of your electric fur,and what-is-it comes
 My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.        over parting flesh….And eyes big love-crumbs,
       And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
       As any she belied with false compare                     and possibly i like the thrill

                                                                of under me you so quite new

The Disease Collector, Jason Schneiderman 2001          116 Shakespeare (1609)
Odd word: culture, as though this swab cared            Let me not to the marriage of true minds
About art and music, loved the opera,                   Admit impediments; love is not love
Saw the Ballet Russe when Nijinsky still bared          Which alters when it alteration finds
His chest, could quote the illuminate                   Or bends with the remover to remove.
In the original Italian. As though this Petri dish      O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
Were a center of learning, and parents wished           That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
For their children to go there, like Harvard or Yale,   It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
As though a positive answer would not pale              Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken
My cheeks, or force me to wholly rearrange              Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
My life around pills and doctor’s visits;               Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Force me to find old lovers and tricks,                 Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
Warn that their bodies may too grow strange;            But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
To play the old game of who gave it to whom,                   If this be error, and upon me proved,
Gently lowering voices, alone in one’s room.                   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

                                          You need to read up on more analysis terms:
                                          p. 10
                                          + remember Shakespeare’s # 18, p. 1

                                 The Sonnet
William Shakespeare 138 (1609)
      When my love swears that she is made of truth,
      I do believe her, though I know she lies,
      That she might think me some untutored youth,
      Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties.
      Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
      Although she knows my days are past the best1,
      Simply2 I credit her false-speaking tongue:
      On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
      But wherefore says she not she is unjust3?              Do full analyses of these two
      And wherefore say not I that I am old?                  Shakespearean sonnets.
      Oh, love’s best habit4 is in seeming trust,
      And age in love loves not to have years told.
             Therefore I lie with her and she with me,        Compare these two sonnets
             And in our faults by lies we flattered be.       with the other Shakespearean
                                                              sonnets you already know:
                                                              How are they similar or

      William Shakespeare 19 (1609)                           Consider words like:
      Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,             Personification, pun and
                                                              figurative language
      And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
      Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,      What are the paradoxes in
      And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood5;          these two sonnets? How are
      Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet’st,           they expressed?
      And do what e’er thou wilt, swift-footed Time,
      To the wide world and all her fading sweets:
      But I forbid the one most heinous crime,
      O carve not thy hours my love’s fair brow,
      Nor draw no lines there with thine antique6 pen;
      Him in thy course untainted7 do allow,
      For beauty’s pattern to succeeding men.
             Yet do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,
             My love shall in my verse ever live young.

  Shakespeare was 35 or younger when he wrote this sonnet
  Like a simpleton, an idiot
  In full vigour of life (a hunting term)
  1. Old 2. Fantastic
  1. Undefilled 2. Untouched by a weapon
                              The Sonnet
Shakespeare’s sonnets:
Sonnet numbers                General 'theme'                              Some experts might
                                                                           disagree slightly on
1 to 17                       Recommending marriage
                                                                           these numbers.
18 to 24                      Young love
                                                                           + Look for more
25 to 52                      Travel, absence and disgrace                 information on the
53 to 75                      Relationship problems

76 to 103                     Rival poet and jealousy

104 to 126                    Reconciliation

127 to 154                    The Dark Lady

Characters: Most of the sonnets are addressed to a beautiful young man, a rival poet,
and a dark-haired lady. Readers of the sonnets today commonly refer to these characters
as the Fair Youth, the Rival Poet, and the Dark Lady. The narrator expresses admiration
for the Fair Youth's beauty, and later has an affair with the Dark Lady. It is not known
whether the poems and their characters are fiction or autobiographical. If they are
autobiographical, the identities of the characters are open to debate.

Fair Youth: The 'Fair Youth' is an unnamed young man to whom sonnets 1-126 are addressed.
The poet writes of the young man in romantic and loving language, a fact which has led several
commentators to suggest a homosexual relationship between them, while others read it as platonic
love of for instance a patron.

The Dark Lady: Sonnets 127-152 are addressed to a woman commonly known as the 'Dark
Lady' because her hair is said to be black and her skin "dun". These sonnets are explicitly sexual
in character, in contrast to those written to the "Fair Youth". It is implied that the speaker of the
sonnets and the Lady had a passionate affair, but that she was unfaithful, perhaps with the "Fair
Youth". The poet self-deprecatingly describes himself as balding and middle-aged at the time of
the affair. Some, however, continue to maintain that the Dark Lady is merely a fictional character
who never really existed in real life.

The Rival Poet: The Rival Poet is sometimes identified with Christopher Marlowe or George
Chapman. However, there is no hard evidence that the character had a real-life counterpart.

Themes: Shakespeare's sonnets are frequently more earthy and sexual than contemporary
sonnet sequences by other poets. One interpretation is that Shakespeare's Sonnets are in part a
pastiche or parody of the three centuries-long tradition of Petrarchan love sonnets; in them,
Shakespeare consciously inverts conventional gender roles as delineated in Petrarchan sonnets to
create a more complex and potentially troubling depiction of human love. Shakespeare also
violated many sonnet rules which had been strictly obeyed by his fellow poets: he speaks on
human evils that do not have to do with love (66), he comments on political events (124), he makes
fun of love (128), he parodies beauty (130), he plays with gender roles (20), he speaks openly
about sex (129) and even introduces witty pornography (151).

                        The Sonnet
                                    Judith Rodriguez (?)
                                    In-flight Note
Who is writing?
                                    Kitten, writes the mousy boy in his neat
                                    fawn casuals sitting beside me on the flight,
What actually                       neatly, I can’t give up everything just like that.
happens on the                      Everything, how much was it, and just like what?
plane? What happens                 Did she cool it or walk out? Loosen her hand from his tight
on the paper/note?                  white-knuckled hand, or not meet him, just as he thought
What happens in the
voice’s head?                       You mean far too much to me. I can’t forget
                                    the four months we’ve known each other. No, he won’t eat,
Consider words like:                finally he pays – pale, careful, distraught –
Mood, voice, theme                  for a beer, turns over the page he wrote
and intention…                      and sleeps a bit. Or dreams of his Sydney cat.
                                    The pad cost one dollar twenty. He wakes to write
                                    It’s naïve to think we could just be good friends.
                                    Pages and pages. And so the whole world ends.

      Star Black (1999)
      Approximate and unfulfilled, a devilish nymph
      in the underworld seeks huge black swan for fiery              Look up the meaning
      twills in cranium’s caverns, gray-matter indifference          of the word in the
      preferred, although will take sensitivity, as well,
      if inexperience in hell is available, for long-term
                                                                     Consider the
      committed one-flight stand with ensuing consequences
      such as bestial transformations and showering soot.            relationship between
      Nymph will attempt to run, as required from                    form and content.

      Dark thwunking destiny. Nymph will not be easy                 Find as many
      to acquire, though promised to succumb to aerial fury          adjectives as you can
      Various disguises necessary, drop chute appreciated.           and divide them into
                                                                     positives and
      Do not send photograph, please; visuals confusing,             negatives.
      Element of surprise essential, fact of advertisement
      Accidental. Pretend you don’t read and never will.

                           The Sonnet
                                      Kate Light (1997)
                                      Reading Someone Else’s Love Poems
    Compare to Shakespeare’s          is, after all, all we’ve ever done
    sonnets + e.e. cumming’s          for centuries – except write them – but what
    poem. Especially the              a strange thing it is, after all, rose-cheeks and sun-
    concluding couplets.              hair and lips, and underarms, and that little gut
                                      I love to nuzzle on, soft underbelly – oops –
    Consider words like:              that wasn’t what I meant to talk about;
    Stock phrases,                    ever since handkerchiefs fell, and hoop –
    onomatopoeia,                     skirts around ankles swirled
    enjambments,                      and smiled, lovers have dreamed their loves upon
    the tempo…                        the pages, courted and schemed and twirled
                                      and styled, hoping that once they’d unfurled their down-
                                      deep longing, they would have their prize –
                                      not the songs of love, but love beneath disguise.

3 writing tasks (to emphasise understanding of the poems):

   A. Rodriguez: “In-flight Note”. Write a dialogue between the two people actually sitting
      on the plane. What would they talk about? Would she ask him questions? How
      would he answer?

   B. Black: “Personals”. Rewrite this poem as a dating profile on the internet. What kind
      of person is the profile for, and what is she looking for?

   C. Light: “Reading Someone…”. Write a Letter-to-the-Editor in response to this poem.
      Do you agree or disagree with the statements in the poem?

Write your own sonnet:

                             The Sonnet
Poetry analysis: Basic/technical terms
             Stressed = -                an iamb = | U - |
             Un-stressed = U             a trochee = | - U |

                           Iambic pentameter = 5 iambs in the line
                           Iambic hexameter = 6 iambs in the line

Rhyme: see also the rhyming scheme of the sonnet!
             End rhyme = When rhymes occur at the end of a verse-line (a,b,a,b)
             A couplet = a pair of rhymed lines (a,a)

                         EX: “Sister, my sister, O fleet sweet swallow”?
             Internal rhyme = When words within the line rhyme with each other

                        EX: (prove – love, daughter – laughter) ?
             Eye rhyme = When words only look like they might rhyme

                        EX: “But – Oh! Ye lords of ladies intelléctual
                        Inform us truly, have they not hen-pécked you all?” ?
             Forced rhyme = When the pronunciation has to be forced to make it rhyme

                          EX: “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought”
             Alliteration = When the letters in words rhyme

                                      EX: “Out of this house – said rider to reader” ?
                           1.Consonance = When the starting consonants of words rhyme

                                       EX: “Thou still unravished bride of quietness
                                       Thou foster child of silence and slow time” ?
                           2.Assonance = When the vowels sounds of words rhyme

Composition and structure:
A poem consists of verse-lines that have a metric pattern and a rhyming scheme. For instance
Couplets: (a,a)
Triplet: 3 lines (aaa) or (aba)
Quatrain: 4 lines (abba) or ( abab)
Sestet: 6 lines
Octave: 8 lines
These verse-lines might be grouped together in stanzas.

Language and style:
How do the language and the style of the poem seem to you:
Old – new? Formal – informal? Strict – loose? Grand – plain? Difficult - easy? Praising –
sarcastic/ironic? Personal – anonymous?

Find your own words (adjectives) to describe it, use the dictionary!

                                        The Sonnet
Imagery and figurative language:
Imagery: The mental pictures experienced by the reader of a poem. Imagery is used to signify all
the objects and qualities of sense perception referred to in a poem, whether by literal description or
with figurative language.
Figurative language: When the words of a poem also carry another meaning than the literal one:
                            EX: “O my love’s like a red, red rose”
        A simile: A comparison between two very different things, indicated by the words
        like or as.
                            EX: “O my love is a red, red rose”
        A metaphor: a word or expression which in literal use means one kind of thing or action, is
        applied to a very different kind of thing or action, without using a comparison.
Symbols: A thing most people feel represents, or is associated with, something else
(ex. white = innocence, a cross = Christianity, a lion = courage)

Mood, Voice or tone:
What is the mood, the general feeling of the poem? Or the overall emotional effect it generates?
    Is the voice of the poet happy, sad, unforgiving, remorseful…?

Is the poem perhaps a parody, filled with irony or sarcasm?

Form/content relationship:
What is the relationship between the form of the poem (meter, rhyme, composition) and the content
(language, style, imagery, themes)? Do they correspond or disagree? Why did the poet choose this
particular version of the form/content relationship? Is the form and content typical of its time?

Themes and message:
What is the poet trying to tell us? What is/are the theme (-s) of the poem? What is his/her message?
What is his/her intention?

Especially in a sonnet: What is the single thought or emotion expressed? Is it perhaps presented as
a paradox?

Other useful terms for poetry analysis:
Enjambments (run-on lines): when the sentence does not stop at the end of the line
Personification: when an object or animal is given human characteristics
Onomatopoeia: when the sound of a word reveals qualities of the object, EX: hiss, crash, bang
Pun: a play on words
Stock phrases: almost clichés, ”Roses are red”, ”Your eyes are like diamonds”
Free verse: when there is no metric pattern and perhaps no rhyming scheme
Blank verse: iambic pentameter without a rhyming scheme (Shakespeare’s plays…)
Refrain/chorus: a group of lines, which is repeated in the course of a poem

                                   The Sonnet
Reading poetry:
     Reading with the eye: Look at the graphic layout of the poem without actually reading the text.
      Do you notice anything special? What do you expect of the poem from just looking at it?
     Read quickly through the poem.
     Reading with the ear: Read the poem out loud. You could take turns in a group. Try to read the
      sentences, not the verse-lines. Do you notice any difference between the graphic layout and the
      sound of the poem? Is it difficult or easy to read out loud? Why?
     Reading with the heart: Read through the poem again, while you jot down any initial feelings,
      sensations or moods you get from the poem. What is your general sense of the poem?
     Reading with the hand: Read through the poem again, while you underline anything you find
      interesting and write down your initial thoughts, questions and comments on the poem. What is
      special, traditional, complicated, obvious or strange about this poem?
     Reading with the brain: Do a formal analysis of the poem (meter, rhyme, composition, language,
      imagery, themes, mood). Does this, and your other notes, lead you to an interpretation of the
      poet’s message and intention? What is the relationship between form and content? Finally, what
      do you think the poem is all about then?

Writing about poetry:
     Organise your notes: divide them into groups (initial feelings, structural analysis, themes,
      interpretations, etc.)
     Write an outline for your essay:
            o Introduction: catch the reader’s attention, introduce themes, state your thesis about the
                 poem, outline your essay, etc.
            o 1. Paragraph: if you know anything about the poet or his/her time period, you could
                 start of with an introduction to this? Remember: do it BRIEFLY!
            o 2. Paragraph: perhaps you should start off with the structural analysis of the poem?
            o 3. Paragraph: move on to a thorough description and interpretation of themes,
                 messages and intentions
            o 4. Paragraph: another theme…
            o …
            o Conclusion: combine all your comments in a concluding paragraph.
     Write your essay: don’t be afraid to revise your outline while you are writing if something new
      and interesting springs to mind, or if you start to contradict what you have already written.
     Correct your essay: correct the essay for spelling, grammar and style of language.

                 Dos and Don’ts of dealing with poetry
                        Dos                                                         Don’ts
 Do read the poem several times both with the eye and        Don’t fake a response, i.e. by saying/writing what you
  ear – even if you have to mouth it quietly to yourself      think the teacher wants to hear rather than what you
  in order to hear it aloud                                   really think and feel yourself.
 Do use writing (i.e. jottings) to help you develop your     Don’t assume you have to be either ‘for’ or ‘against’ a
  thoughts. Few people can hold all the details of what       poem
  they want to say in their heads and write an essay          Don’t quote lines or phrases simply to let them speak
  straight off without notes.                                 for themselves in your essay. Make them work for their
 Do give the poet the benefit of any doubts you may          place in your essay.
  have until you have really got to grips with his/her        Don’t simply say that you like or dislike a line or
  poem. It’s very rare for teachers to choose trivial         phrase or that ‘it’s beautiful or weird’ and leave at that.
  poems!                                                      Say why!
 Do be positive and look for the ‘plus’ points as well as    Don’t assume the poem has to have a hidden meaning,
  any criticism you may have.                                 that it’s a mystery you have to solve. When you have
 Do comment fully on particular lines that appeal to         read with “eye, ear, heart, hand and brain” and
  you – you’ll write best about the parts you like.           organised your thoughts and notes, trust your


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