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The Sonnet 
Sonnet Comparison Chart
English Verse

Although the sonnet began in Italy in the 13th century, Thomas Wyatt 1503-1542, was one of the first English poets to translate and utilize the form. He used the Petrarchan octave but introduced a rhyming couplet at the end of the sestet. His friend the Earl of Surrey also initiated more rhyme.

The Italian form was restricted to 5 rhymes. After Wyatt and Surrey the sonnet could have 7 rhymes. They also shifted the sonnet away from the slightly more intellectual and argumentative Petrarchan form, and gave new importance to the ending, declamatory couplet. This Wyatt/Surrey adaptation of the sonnet has not been officially named, at least I haven't found an assigned designation yet. So for the sake of identification I call it the Wyatt/Surrey Sonnet.

The elements of the Wyatt/Surrey sonnet are:

  1. a quatorzain, written with a Petrarchan octave followed by an envelope quatrain ending with a rhyming couplet.
  2. metric, primarily iambic pentameter.
  3. the rhyme scheme is abbaabba cddc ee.
  4. it is composed with the volta (non physical gap) or pivot (a shifting or tilting of the main line of thought) sometime after the 2nd quatrain.
  5. distinguished by the declamatory couplet.
    A Renouncing of Love by Sir Thomas Wyatt                             

    Farewell, Love and all thy laws for ever;
    --- Thy baited hooks shall tangle me no more.
    Senec, and Plato, call me from thy lore,
    To perfect wealth, my wit for to endeavour;
    In blind error when I did persever,
    Thy sharp repulse, that pricketh aye so sore,
    Taught me in trifles that I set no store ;
    But scaped forth thence, since, liberty is lever

    Therefore, farewell ! go trouble younger hearts,
    And in me claim no more authority :
    With idle youth go use thy property,
    And thereon spend thy many brittle darts :
    --- For, hitherto though I have lost my time,
    --- Me list no longer rotten boughs to clime.

    The fancy of a wearier lover by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

    The fancy, which that I have served long,
    That hath alway been enemy to mine ease,
    Semed of late to rue upon my wrong,
    And bade me fly the cause of my misease.
    And I forthwith did press out of the throng,
    That thought by flight my painfull heart to please
    Some other way: til I saw faith more strong:
    And to my self I said: alas, those days
    In vain were spent, to run the race so long.
    And with that thought, I met my guide, that plan
    Out of the way wherin I wandered wrong,
    Brought me amidst the hills, in base Bullayn:
    Where I am now, as restless to remain,
    Against my will, full pleased with my pain.


Next Sir Edmund Spenser gets into the act

4. Spenserian Sonnet

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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