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sonnet


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Edmund Spenser (1552—1599) poet and administrator in Ireland

Thomas Wyatt (1503—1542) poet and ambassador

Philip Sidney (1554—1586) author and courtier

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A poem consisting of fourteen lines (of eleven syllables in Italian, generally twelve in French, and ten in English), with rhymes arranged according to one or other of certain definite schemes, of which the Petrarchan and the Elizabethan are the principal, viz.: 1.a b b a a b b a, followed by two, or three, other rhymes in the remaining six lines, with a pause in the thought after the octave (not always observed by English imitators, of whom Milton and Wordsworth are prominent examples); 2.a b a b c d c d e f e f g g. The sonnets of Shakespeare are in the latter form.

1.a b b a a b b a, followed by two, or three, other rhymes in the remaining six lines, with a pause in the thought after the octave (not always observed by English imitators, of whom Milton and Wordsworth are prominent examples); 2.a b a b c d c d e f e f g g.

The sonnet was introduced to England by Wyatt and developed by Surrey (see also Metre) and was thereafter widely used, notably in the sonnet sequences of Shakespeare, Sidney, Daniel, Spenser, and other poets of the Golden period, most of which are amatory in nature, and contain a certain narrative development: later sonnet sequences on the theme of love include those of D. G. Rossetti and E. B. Browning. Milton, Donne, Keats, and Yeats have all used the form to great and varied effect, and it continues to flourish in the 20th cent.

Subjects: Literature.


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