“Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare, English (1564-1616)
Today’s balmy breezes and the “darling buds of May” bring to mind one of my favorite sonnets written by William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18,” with its famous first line: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” During his lifetime, Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets. The word sonnet comes from the Italian word sonetto, meaning little song. A sonnet is a simple lyric poem with fourteen lines and a fixed rhyming pattern. Each line is written in iambic pentameter. An iamb is a word with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The word compare from the first line of this sonnet is an example of an iamb. And pentameter? Penta means five, so there are five stressed syllables in each line. That’s it!
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Sarah M. Fredericks © 2015
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