Sonnet

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English Literature

What is a sonnet?

A sonnet is a form of poetry, which originated in Italy and was created by the Sicilian poet Giacomo da Lentini during the Renaissance. The term sonnet comes from the Italian word sonnetto, meaning “little song” and is a poem of fourteen lines, which can be broken down into four sections called quatrains. It follows a strict rhyme scheme, which is ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG. This means that the first and third lines and the second and fourth lines of each quatrain rhyme. The final quatrain consists of only two lines which both thyme. Each quatrain should have no more and no less than ten syllables.

Example of a sonnet:
SONNET 130
Author: William Shakespeare (British, 1564-1616)
A My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
B Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
A If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
B If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
C I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
D But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
C And in some perfumes is there more delight
D Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
E I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
F That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
E I grant I never saw a goddess go;
F My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
G And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
G As any she belied with false compare.

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