Sonnet 12

Topics: Sonnet, Poetry, Iambic pentameter Pages: 5 (1641 words) Published: March 25, 2004
1. When I do count the clock that tells the time,
2. And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
3. When I behold the violet past prime,
4. And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;
5. When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
6. Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
7. And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
8. Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
9. Then of thy beauty do I question make,
10. That thou among the wastes of time must go,
11. Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
12. And die as fast as they see others grow;
13. And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
14. Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.
This sonnet is so famous that it almost makes commentary unessential. It will always be one of the best sonnets in the history of language. The lively and rapid passage of time, which brings every thing to an end, is described, not indeed in abundance, but with such noteworthy and overwhelming effect that humanity almost stares us in the face as we read it. The logic of the lines ends with the line itself is like the ticking of a clock or the unstoppable motion of a pendulum as it swings from side to side. The importance of the placing of this sonnet here (12) (I believe it's because of the twelve hours of the day) as well as that of the 'minute' sonnet at (60) is hard to establish, but at the very least it points to an organized hand, which, like the clock itself, measures out the chain of important events as they occur. It is true, however, that it is not clear that we have Shakespeare's order, so this is just my opinion. As for the forms of the sonnet, we are clear that it was definitely written by Shakespeare. A sonnet is a one-stanza poem of fourteen lines, written in iambic pentameter. One means to illustrate a verse line is to speak about how many stressed and unstressed syllables are in the line. A simple grouping of syllables, some stressed, some unstressed, is called a foot. The iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. Pentameter means there are five feet in the line. "Iambic Pentameter," subsequently, means a line of ten syllables, which interchanges unstressed and stressed syllables according to the iambic measure. The rhyme scheme of a sonnet refers to the pattern shaped by the rhyming words at the end of each line. Every end-rhyme is assigned a letter, and the fourteen letters assigned to the sonnet illustrate the rhyme scheme. Different types of sonnets have dissimilar rhyme schemes. The Shakespearean or English sonnet was essentially developed in the sixteenth century by the Earl of Surrey, but is named after Shakespeare because of his great sonnet series (a sequence of sonnets all exploring the same theme) printed in the year 1609. The Shakespearean sonnet has the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, shaping three quatrains (four lines in a group) and a closing couplet (two rhymed lines). The trouble is generally developed in the first three quatrains, each quatrain with an original idea growing out of the preceding one. Sometimes the first two quatrains are dedicated to the same thought, similar to the octave of the Petrarchan sonnet, and followed by a similar Volta or turn. Most noticeably unlike the Petrarchan version, the Shakespearean sonnet is brought to a hard-hitting declaration in the diminutive final couplet. The Petrarchan or Italian sonnet, named because of the fourteenth century Italian poet Petrarch, has the rhyme scheme ABBAABBA CDECDE. The first eight lines, which all end in rhyme A or B, form the octave. The last six lines, which end in C, D, or E, form the sestet. Alternative rhyme schemes for the sestet also consist of CDCDCD and CDEDCE. There is frequently a pause or break in thought between the octave and sestet. That again is the Volta or turn. Conventionally, one main thought is set out in the octave and brought to a resolution in the sestet.

The general effect, of the poem, is...
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