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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Sonnet Sonnet Comparison Chart English Verse The Spenserian Sonnet was named for Edmund Spenser 1552-1599, a 16th century English Poet. The Spenserian Sonnet inherited the tradition of the declamatory couplet of Wyatt / Surrey although Spenser used Sicilian quatrains to develop a metaphor, conflict, idea or question logically, with the declamatory couplet resolving it. Beyond the prerequisite for all sonnets, the elements of the Spenserian Sonnet are: a quatorzain made up of 3 Sicilian quatrains (4 lines alternating rhyme) and ending in a rhyming couplet metric, primarily iambic pentameter. rhymed, rhyme scheme ababbcbccdcdee. composed with a volta (a non physical gap) or pivot (a shifting or tilting of the main line of thought) sometime after the 2nd quatrain. The epiphany is arrived at logically. written with each quatrain developing a metaphor, conflict, idea or question, and the end declamatory couplet providing the resolution. Sonnet LXXV One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away; Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide and made my pains his prey. "Vain man," said she, "that dost in vain assay A mortal thing so to immortalize, For I myself shall like to this decay, And eke my name be wiped out likewise "Not so." quod I, "Let baser thing devise To die in dust, but you shall live by fame; My verse your virtues rare shall eternize And in the heavens write your glorious name, Where, when as death shall all the world subdue, Our love shall live, and later life renew." ------Sir Edmund Spenser Amoretti Fresh Spring! the herald of Loves mighty king, In whose coat-armour richly are displayed All sorts of flowers, the which on earth do spring In goodly colours gloriously arrayed - Go to my love, where she is careless laid, Yet in her winters bower, not well awake; Tell her the joyous time will not be staid, Unless she do him by the forelock take: Bid her, therefore, herself soon ready make To wait on Love amongst his lovely crew, Where every one that misseth then her make, Shall be by him amerced with penance dew. Make haste, therefore, sweet Love! whilst it is prime; For none can call again the passed time. ---- Edmund Spenser 1552-1599 Next William Shakespeare brings popularity to the sonnet
Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry The Frame Couplet Construction An open couplet is a rhymed two-line poetic unit that is enjambed. The end of the frame is not closed but the subject is carried forward into the subsequent couplet without pause or punctuation at the end of the line. This technique was introduced to English poetry by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400) and continued to gain popularity into the 17th century when it was nicknamed "riding rhyme". This stanzaic form is also called Chaucer's couplet because of its use in his Canterbury Tales which demonstrated its particular suitability to narratives and didactic verse. Even as new occasion appears? Or shall we tie ourselves for certain years To any service, Or to any place? For it behooves ere that into the race We enter, to resolve first hereupon. Now surely brother (said the Fox anon) ---Sir Edmund Spenser from Mother Hubbard's Tale 1591 L118-L124