Classic Renaissance Sonnets

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The Classic Sonnet
Classic renaissance sonnets are one of the most well-known poetry genres out there. Sonnets distinctive style and wording is classic and timeless. Although this genre was centuries ago, it still remains one of the most recognizable forms of poetry.

The Renaissance took place from the 1500s to around the 1700s. During this time there were great advances in life. The poetry of this time is a direct reflection of the changes that around Europe. The form used during the renaissance was a sonnet. Sonnets began in Italy as love poem and did not gain popularity written in English until Shakespeare. Sonnets are composed of fourteen lines which are often broken up into two sections. The first section presents a problem or main theme and the second section has the solution or goes further into the point the first section made. There are two types of sonnets, Italian and Shakespearian. Italian sonnets also known as a Petrarchan have two parts; an octave which has a rhythm scheme of “abba, abba” and a setet with a rhythm scheme of “cde, cde.” Shakespearian sonnets contain three Sicilian quatrains and ends with a heroic couplet. The rhythm scheme for Shakespearian sonnets is “abab, cdcd, efef, gg. ( McLaughlin ).” It is essential to discuss both sonnet types and not just the typical Shakespearian sonnets. William Wordsworth is another poet who uses the sonnet poetry form. Wordsworth published a few collections of works including; Lyrical Ballads, The Prelude, and, Poems: In Two Volumes (William Wordsworth). Instead of writing the common Shakespearian style sonnets, he opted for the classic Italian sonnet style in the poem London, 1802.

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up,...
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