Sunday, January 11, 2009

External Structure (Sonnets)

Joy Sonnet in a Random Universe by Helen Chasin

“Joy Sonnet in a Random Universe” is questionably a sonnet. Its structure is 14 lines long, the typical sonnet length. It is printed as one stanza, as sonnets are typically printed. However, there is no rhyme scheme and the poem is not broken into either English or Italian form. This poem would only be considered a sonnet by its number of lines and its one stanza structure.

Sonnet 29 - When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes by William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings

“Sonnet 29” is a 4-4-4-2 sonnet, otherwise known as English or Shakespearian (surprise, surprise since it was written by him). The first four lines address the disgrace and loneliness of this ostracized man. “I all alone beweep in my outcast state” (line 2). The next four lines discuss the man’s envy of other men who have better luck. “Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope” (line 7). The poem turns at line 9 when he realizes his despair and become introspective. “Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising” (line 9). In the penultimate stanza (lines 9-12) his thoughts become uplifting because he has thought of another person and finds his situation more fortunate. “Like to the lark at break of day arising” (line 11). His language changes to nature. He mentions larks, the earth, and heaven. The last two lines wrap up the whole poem. He says that remembering love is what makes him happy but that his current state with kings is making him depressed.

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