THE PETRARCHAN SONNET
named after the 14th century Italian poet, Petrarch
14 lines, iambic pentameter
Form: Rhyme Scheme
a) an OCTAVE (8 lines) ABBA ABBA
b) a SESTET (6 lines) CDE CDE (or some variation e.g.CDC CDC)
Content: traditionally about the hopes and pains of an adoring male lover : the OCTAVE states the problem, situation : the SESTET tries to resolve the matter : can be played around with, as in “Sonnet on the Sonnet” and “Knockout”
“Sonnet on the Sonnet”
They say the discipline of form and rhyme
Is good for budding poets who must try
To balance theme and structure, sigh for sigh
And fill the fourteen lines with thought sublime.
The verse must march, of course, in measured time
With five iambic feet and thus defy
The writers of free verse who leap and fly
Regardless of the rules: a heinous crime!
And then one must observe the classic pause
Between the eight and six as Petrarch did,
And Wordsworth too (though sometimes he forgot!).
What else? The rhyme—the rigid sonnet laws
Permit a meager five. Now God forbid
That one should know these rules and heed them not!
ENG3U1 Petrarchan Sonnet
“The World is Too Much With Us”
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather’d now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn,
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.
1. Demonstrate your understanding of the Petrarchan sonnet’s form by identifying:
The rhyme scheme
One line of iambic pentameter