Directions: Copy the notes on the Italian sonnet onto your notes page. Read the notes so you understand the difference between the Shakespearean and Italian sonnets.
Petrarchan (Italian) Sonnet:
The Italian sonnet (sonnet means "little song") is a 14 line lyric poem written in iambic pentameter. It has a different rhyme scheme than the English sonnet because it is easier to find rhymes in the Italian language.
The rhyme scheme for the Italian sonnet is:
ABBAABBA = 1st 8 lines are called an octave.
CDECDE = next 6 lines are called a sestet. (A poet may use any variation of these last 6 rhymes, so they may use CDCDEE, or CCDDEE, etc.)
The octave (1st 8 line of the poem) normally presents a situation or a problem.
The sestet (next 6 lines of the poem) presents a solution or a reaction to the situation.
Down to the Puritan Marrow of my bones
There's something in this richness that I hate.
I love the look, austere, immaculate,
Of landscapes drawn in pearly monotones.
There's something in my very blood that owns
Bare hills, cold silver on a sky of slate,
A thread of water, churned to milky spate1
Streaming through slanted pastures fenced with stones.
I love those skies, thin blue or snowy gray,
Those fields sparse-planted, rendering meager sheaves;
That spring, briefer than apple blossom's breath,
Summer, so much too beautiful to stay,
Swift autumn, like a bonfire of leaves,
And sleepy winter, like the sleep of death.
1. spate: sudden downpour