A sonnet is made of up 14 ryhmed lines, called iambic pentameter. Meaning, in each line we have 10 syllables.
The Italian or, the Petrarchan sonnet as it is commonly known as, was named after an Italian poet, Petrarch. His sonnets happen to be divided between the octave (the first eight lines) which happens to be followed by the sestet (the final six lines). This rhyme scheme is abba, abba, cdecde or cdcdcd.
A Shakespearean Sonnet, has the following rhyme scheme, abab cdcd, efef, gg. Each letter is a line and if you do it right, all the lines ending with the same letter will rhyme. Our example, Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, will show us our to form the lines.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? (a)
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: (b)
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, (a)
And summer's lease hath all too short a date: (b)
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, (c)
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; (d)
And every fair from fair sometime declines, (c)
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; (d)
But thy eternal summer shall not fade (e)
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; (f)
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, (e)
When in eternal lines to time thou growest: (f)
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, (g)
So long lives this and this gives life to thee. (g)Resources:
Thinkquest: Poem Forms- Sonnets
To learn more: Famous Sonnets
So, have you ever written any sonnets? Do you have a favorite one? What type is it?