2.17 Sonnets

You will have the opportunity to write poems using several different poetic forms like the villanelle, the ode, the rondeau, and two of my personal favorites, the English sonnet and free verse poetry. 

Let’s use a sonnet right now to further discuss rhyme scheme. The English sonnet, a 14 line poem consisting of three quatrains, which again are four line stanzas and ends with a couplet, two lines in a row that rhyme. The rhyme scheme for a sonnet is as follows: abab  cdcd  efef  gg. The a lines rhyme together, the b lines have the same rhyme as each other, the c’s team up as do the d’s with one another finishing off with the rhyming g rhymes. 

In Shakespeare’s Sonnet #29, take a listen to just the words at the end of each line to better “hear” the rhyme scheme:

Eyes/state/cries/fate  hope/possess’d/scope/leased  
Despising/state/arising/gate  brings/kings

Activity: Please read Shakespeare’s Sonnet #29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, (a)
I all alone beweep my outcast state (b)
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries (a)
And look upon myself and curse my fate, (b)
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, (c)
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d, (d)
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope, (c)
With what I most enjoy contented least; (d)
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, (e)
Haply I think on thee, and then my state, (f)
Like to the lark at break of day arising (e)
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate; (f)
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings (g)
That then I scorn to change my state with kings. (g)

*least is pronounced “lest”

Scroll to Top