Understanding and Appreciating Sonnets

An analysis of 6 different types of Sonnets including Italian, Spenserian, English, MIltonic, Curtal, and Caudate.
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  • Contents Video: 2 hours
    Other: 29 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
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About This Course

Published 9/2013 English

Course Description

One of the oldest and most powerful forms of poetry, the Sonnet is brought to life in this course. Consisting of 14 lines and a variable rhyme scheme, some of the world’s greatest poets have used the sonnet to discuss matters close to the heart and home. This collection explores the various styles in some of the finest examples of the sonnet form. Providence eLearning has provided more than two hours of video lectures throughout the course which help to explain the meaning behind these works. Each sonnet is narrated by William Lasseter and includes a review question to check your understanding.

What are the requirements?

  • High School Freshman Reading Level

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Gain an appreciation and understanding for sonnet poetry
  • Learn how to break down the rhyme scheme in poetry
  • Analyze and comprehend the meaning behind the lines of poetry

What is the target audience?

  • High School and College Students, Adult Learners

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Introduction
01:21

One of the oldest and most powerful forms of poetry, the sonnet or “little song” originated in Italy. It consists of 14 lines and has a variable rhyme scheme. Throughout history, some of the world’s greatest poets have used the sonnet to discuss matters close to the heart and home. It is often seen in poems about love and romance, as well as world issues like war and religion. This collection explores the various styles in some of the finest examples of the sonnet form.

Section 2: Preface
05:02

This video is a preface to Sonnets. This video will provide some background information on the poetry form, the sonnet.

1 question

Quiz based on Preface video lecture.

Section 3: The Italian Sonnet or Petrarchan Sonnet
01:46

The Italian Sonnet

or Petrarchan Sonnet

The Petrarchan Sonnet, perfected by the Italian poet Petrarch, divides the 14 lines into two sections:

An eight-line stanza (octave) rhyming ...

A B B A A B B A

And a six-line stanza (sestet) rhyming ...

C D C D C D or C D E E D E

Poets using Italian form

  • Francesco Petrarca- Known as “Petrarch” in English. Italian scholar and poet. Italian sonnet sometimes referred to as “Petrarchan Sonnet”
  • Thomas Wyatt-English poet credited with introducing the sonnet to England
  • William Wordsworth-Helped launch the “Romantic” age of poetry in the late 1700’s
  • John Keats-Main figure in second generation of the “Romantic Poets.” Died at young age from tuberculosis
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins-English poet, saw the world as both very dark and very beautiful

-Wanted some of his poetry destroyed after he died

00:55

Sonnet 12

“Alas, so all things now do hold their peace”

Petrarch

Translated by Henry Howard

Alas, so all things now do hold their peace,

Heaven and earth disturbèd in no thing;

The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease;

The nightes car the stars about doth bring.

Calm is the sea, the waves work less and less.

So am not I, whom love, alas, doth wring,

Bringing before my face the great increase

Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing

In joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease.

For my sweet thoughts sometime do pleasure bring,

But by and by the cause of my disease

Gives me a pang that inwardly doth sting,

When that I think what grief it is again

To live and lack the thing should rid my pain.

03:51

A video lecture based on Sonnet 12: "Alas, so all things now do hold their peace" by Petrarch (translated by Henry Howard).

1 question

A quiz based on the poem and video lecture for Sonnet 12 "Alas, so all things now do hold their peace" by Petrarch.

00:43

Sonnet 7

“The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings”

Petrarch

Translated by Henry Howard

The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings

With green hath clad the hill and eke the vale;

The nightingale with feathers new she sings;

And turtle to her mate hath told her tale.

Summer is come, for every spray now springs;

The hart hath hung his old head on the pale;

The buck in brake his winter coat he flings;

The fishes flete with new repairèd scale;

The adder all her slough away she slings;

The swift swallow pursueth the flies small;

The busy bee her honey now she mings;

Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale.

And thus I see among these pleasant things

Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs.

04:44

A video lecture based on Sonnet 7: "The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings" by Petrarch (translated by Henry Howard).

1 question

A quiz based on Text and Video Lecture of Sonnet 7: the soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings by Petrarch.

00:47

Sonnet 140

“The long love that in my heart doth harbor”

Petrarch

Translated byThomas Wyatt

The long love that in my heart doth harbor

And in mine heart doth keep his residence,

Into my face presseth with bold pretense,

And there campeth, displaying his banner.

She that me learneth to love and to suffer,

And wills that my trust and lust's negligence

Be reined by reason, shame, and reverence,

With his hardiness taketh displeasure.

Wherewithal unto the heart's forest he fleeth,

Leaving his enterprise with pain and cry,

And there him hideth and not appeareth.

What may I do when my master feareth

But in the field with him to live and die?

For good is the life ending faithfully.

05:15

A video lecture based on Sonnet 140: "The long love that in my heart doth harbor" by Petrarch (translated by Thomas Wyatt).

1 question

Quiz based on text and video for Sonnet 140: The long love that in my heart doth harbor by Petrarch.

00:47

“It is a beauteous evening calm and free”

William Wordsworth

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,

The holy time is quiet as a Nun

Breathless with adoration; the broad sun

Is sinking down in its tranquillity;

The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea:

Listen! the mighty Being is awake,

And doth with his eternal motion make

A sound like thunder--everlastingly.

Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,

If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,

Thy nature is not therefore less divine:

Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;

And worship'st at the Temple's inner shrine,

God being with thee when we know it not.

05:10

A video lecture based on "It is a beauteous evening calm and free" by William Wordsworth.

1 question

A quiz based upon the text and video lecture for "It is a beauteous evening calm and free" by William Wordsworth.

00:52

On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

John Keats


My spirit is too weak—mortality

Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,

And each imagined pinnacle and steep

Of godlike hardship tells me I must die

Like a sick eagle looking at the sky.

Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep,

That I have not the cloudy winds to keep,

Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.

Such dim-conceived glories of the brain

Bring round the heart an indescribable feud;

So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,

That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude

Wasting of old Time—with a billowy main—

A sun—a shadow of a magnitude.

05:46

A video lecture based on "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles" by John Keats.

1 question

Quiz based on the text and video of "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles" by John Keats.

01:09

Hurrahing in Harvest

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks arise

Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour

Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier

Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

—————————————————————

I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,

Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;

And, éyes, heárt, what looks, what lips yet gave you a

Rapturous love’s greeting of realer, of rounder replies?

————————————————————————

And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulder

Majestic—as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet!—

These things, these things were here and but the beholder

Wanting; which two when they once meet,

The heart rears wings bold and bolder

And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.

05:22

A video lecture based on "Hurrahing in Harvest" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

1 question

Quiz based on text and video lecture for "Hurrahing in Harvest" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

01:11

“As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme”

Gerard Manley Hopkins

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;

As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s

Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

———————————————————

Í say móre: the just man justices;

Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces;

Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—

Christ—for Christ plays in ten thousand places,

Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his

To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

04:39

A video lecture based on "As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for "As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Section 4: Spenserian Sonnet
01:00

Spenserian Sonnet

The Spenserian Sonnet is a 14-line poem developed by Edmund Spenser in his sonnet cycle, Amoretti, that varies the English form by interlocking the three quatrains ...

Rhyme Scheme:

ABAB BCBC CDCD EE

About the Spenserian sonnet

  • Developed by Sir Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)
  • Best known for “The Faerie Queene,” an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I
  • Known as one of the greatest poets in the English language
  • Spenserian Sonnet based on fusion of elements of Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets
  • Puts volta in a different location and doesn’t make it as pronounced
00:50

Sonnet 75

“One day I wrote her name upon the strand”

Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand

But came the waves and washed it away:

Again I wrote it with a second hand,

But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.

Vain man (said she), that dost in vain assay

A mortal thing so to immortalise!

For I myself shall like to this decay,

And eke my name be wiped out likewise.

Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise

To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:

My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,

And in the heavens write your glorious name:

Where, whenas Death shall all the world subdue,

Our love shall live, and later life renew.

04:33

A video lecture based on Sonnet 75: "One day I wrote her name upon the strand" by Edmund Spenser.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 75: "One day I wrote her name upon the strand" by Edmund Spenser.

00:52

Sonnet 68

Easter

Edmund Spenser

Most glorious Lord of Lyfe! that, on this day,

Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin;

And, having harrowd hell, didst bring away

Captivity thence captive, us to win:

This joyous day, deare Lord, with joy begin;

And grant that we, for whom thou diddest dye,

Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin,

May live for ever in felicity!

And that Thy love we weighing worthily,

May likewise love Thee for the same againe;

And for Thy sake, that all lyke deare didst buy,

With love may one another entertayne!

So let us love, deare Love, lyke as we ought,

— Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

04:00

A video lecture based on Sonnet 68: "Easter" by Edmund Spenser.

1 question

A quiz based on text and video lecture for Sonnet 68: "Easter" by Edmund Spenser.

00:50

Sonnet 37

“What guile is this, that those her golden tresses”

Edmund Spenser

What guile is this, that those her golden tresses

She doth attire under a net of gold;

And with sly skill so cunningly them dresses,

That which is gold or hair may scarce be told?

Is it that men’s frail eyes, which gaze too bold,

She may entangle in that golden snare;

And, being caught, may craftily enfold

Their weaker hearts, which are not well aware?

Take heed, therefore, mine eyes, how ye do stare

Henceforth too rashly on that guileful net,

In which, if ever ye entrappèd are,

Out of her bands ye by no means shall get.

Fondness it were for any, being free

To covet fetters, though they golden be.

04:39

A video lecture based on Sonnet 37: "What guile is this, that those her golden tresses" by Edmund Spenser.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 37: "What guile is this, that those her golden tresses" by Edmund Spenser.

00:51

Sonnet 81

“Fair is my love, when her fair golden hairs”

Edmund Spenser

Fair is my love, when her fair golden hairs

With the loose wind ye waving chance to mark;

Fair, when the rose in her red cheeks appears;

Or in her eyes the fire of love does spark.

Fair, when her breast, like a rich-laden bark,

With precious merchandise she forth doth lay;

Fair, when that cloud of pride, which oft doth dark

Her goodly light, with smiles she drives away.

But fairest she, when so she doth display

The gate with pearls and rubies richly dight;

Through which her words so wise do make their way

To bear the message of her gentle sprite.

The rest be works of nature’s wonderment:

But this the work of heart’s astonishment.

03:25

A video lecture based on Sonnet 81: "Fair is my love, when her fair golden hairs" by Edmund Spenser.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 81: "Fair is my love, when her fair golden hairs" by Edmund Spenser.

Section 5: The English Sonnet or Shakespearean Sonnet
01:08

The English Sonnet

or Shakespearean Sonnet

A sonnet that condenses the 14 lines into one stanza of three quatrains and a concluding couplet, the English (or Shakespearean) sonnet has the rhyme scheme of ...

A B A B C D C D E F E F G G

About the Shakespearean Sonnet

  • First introduced by Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, in the 16th century
  • Named for William Shakespeare because he became its most famous practitioner
  • The third quatrain typically introduces a very sharp turn or “volta”
  • Shakespeare often wove sonnets in to his plays such as “Macbeth” and “Romeo and Juliet” which begins with a sonnet
  • Adapted in the 17th century by poets such as Milton and Donne for works discussing religion
00:59

Sonnet 18

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”

William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd,

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

04:57

A video lecture based on Sonnet 18: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" by William Shakespeare.

1 question

A quiz based on text and video for Sonnet 18: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" by William Shakespeare.

00:45

Sonnet 116

“Let me not to the marriage of true minds”

William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments: love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

05:55

A video lecture based on Sonnet 116: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds" by William Shakespeare.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 116: "Let me not to the marriage of true minds" by William Shakespeare.

00:53

Sonnet 130

“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”

William Shakespeare

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips' red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

02:51

A video lecture based on Sonnet 130: "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" by William Shakespeare.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 130: "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun" by William Shakespeare.

00:54

Sonnet 73

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold”

William Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see'st the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west,

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the death-bed whereon it must expire,

Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.

This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

04:04

A video lecture based on Sonnet 73: "That time of year thou mayst in me behold" by William Shakespeare.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 73: "That time of year thou mayst in me behold" by William Shakespeare.

00:52

Divine Meditation 14

“Batter my heart, three-person’d God”

John Donne

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

I, like an usurp'd town to another due,

Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,

But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov'd fain,

But am betroth'd unto your enemy;

Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

04:46

A video lecture based on Divine Meditation 14: "Batter my heart, three-person'd God" by John Donne.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Divine Meditation 14: "Batter my heart, three-person'd God" by John Donne.

00:57

Anthem for Doomed Youth

Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

Only the monstrous anger of the guns.

Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.

No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;

Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –

The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

———————————————————

What candles may be held to speed them all?

Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

03:49

A video lecture based on "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen.

Section 6: The Miltonic Sonnet
00:54

The Miltonic Sonnet

In an effort to bring the sonnet back into vogue after a half-century lull, John Milton used an 8-line/6-line format and simplified the rhyme scheme into

A B B A A B B A - C D C D C D

which many Romantic poets later adopted for their larger works.

About the Miltonic Sonnet

  • Milton revived the sonnet form after it lost favor for roughly 50 years
  • Milton created a simplified two quatrain, one sestet sonnet
  • Most of Milton’s sonnets deal with political or religious issues
  • Milton tried to use the sonnet as more than just a love poem
00:52

Sonnet 22

To Cyriack Skinner

John Milton

Cyriack, this three years' day these eyes, though clear

To outward view of blemish or of spot,

Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;

Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear

Of sun or moon or star throughout the year,

Or man or woman. Yet I argue not

Against Heav'n's hand or will, not bate a jot

Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer

Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?

The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied

In liberty's defence, my noble task,

Of which all Europe talks from side to side.

This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask

Content, though blind, had I no better guide.

04:15

A video lecture based on Sonnet 22: "To Cyriack Skinner" by John Milton.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 22: "To Cyriack Skinner" by John Milton.

00:50

Sonnet 18

On the late Massacre in Piedmont

John Milton

Avenge O Lord thy slaughter'd Saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold,
Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old
When all our Fathers worship't Stocks and Stones,

Forget not: in thy book record their groans,
Who were thy Sheep, and in their ancient Fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese that roll'd
Mother with Infant down the Rocks. Their moans

The Vales redoubled to the Hills, and they
To Heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O're all the Italian fields where still doth sway

The triple Tyrant: that from these may grow
A hundred-fold, who, having learnt thy way
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

05:35

A video lecture based on Sonnet 18: "On the late Massacre in Piedmont" by John Milton.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 18: "On the late Massacre in Piedmont" by John Milton.

00:54

Sonnet 23

“Methought I saw my late espoused Saint”

John Milton

Methought I saw my late espoused Saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove’s great son to her glad Husband gave,
Rescu'd from death by force, though pale and faint.

Mine, as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint,
Purification in the old Law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,

Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight,
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd

So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But Oh! as to embrace me she inclin'd,
I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.

03:39

A video lecture based on Sonnet 23: "Methought I saw my late espoused Saint" by John Milton.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 23: "Methought I saw my late espoused Saint" by John Milton.

00:49

Sonnet 16

On His Blindness

John Milton

When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

And that one Talent which is death to hide

Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning chide,

"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,

And post o'er land and ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait."

04:35

A video lecture based on Sonnet 16: "On His Blindness" by John Milton.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 16: "On His Blindness" by John MIlton.

00:58

Sonnet 1

“O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy Spray”

John Milton

O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy Spray
Warbl'st at eve, when all the Woods are still,
Thou with fresh hope the Lovers heart dost fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May,

Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day,
First heard before the shallow Cuccoo's bill
Portend success in love; O if Jove's will
Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay,

Now timely sing, ere the rude Bird of Hate
Foretell my hopeless doom in some Grove ny:
As thou from year to year hast sung too late

For my relief; yet had’st no reason why,
Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.

00:31

An audio footnote based on Sonnet 1: "O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy Spray" by John Milton.

00:52

Sonnet 7

On His Being Arrived at the Age of Twenty-Three

John Milton

How soon hath Time the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.

Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That som more timely-happy spirits indu'th.

Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean, or high,

Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-master’s eye.

00:53

An audio footnote based on Sonnet 7: "On His Being Arrived at the Age of Twenty-Three" by John Milton.

00:44

Sonnet 10

“Daughter to that good Earl, once President”

John Milton

Daughter to that good Earl, once President
Of England's Counsel, and her Treasury,
Who liv'd in both, unstain'd with gold or fee,
And left them both, more in himself content,

Till the sad breaking of that Parliament
Broke him, as that dishonest victory
At Chæronéa, fatal to liberty,
Kil'd with report that Old man eloquent,

Though later born, then to have known the days
Wherin your Father flourisht, yet by you,
Madam, me thinks I see him living yet;

So well your words his noble virtues praise,
That all both judge you to relate them true,
And to possess them, Honour'd Margaret.

00:34

An audio footnote based on Sonnet 10: "Daughter to that good Earl, once President" by John Milton.

Section 7: Curtal Sonnet
01:11

Curtal Sonnet

The 10-line, two-stanza Curtal Sonnet actually pre-dated the Petrarchan form, but was only used by the more masterful structural poets. Mathematically, the Curtal Sonnet can be represented as ...

6 + 4 1/2 = 10 1/2
(exactly 3/4 of a whole Petrarchan Sonnet)

The Curtal Sonnet follows an ABCABC rhyme scheme for the sestet and a DBCDC for the 4 1/2-line stanza that it precedes.

About the Curtal Sonnet

  • The Curtal Sonnet in other words is a “curtailed” sonnet
  • Instead of a lead octave, it has a lead sestet, followed by a stanza of 4 1/2 lines
  • A good example is embedded within the 29 movements of Dante’s La Vita Nuova
  • Used extensively by Gerard Manley Hopkins
00:30

From La Vita Nuova

“And now (for I must rid my name of ruth)”

Dante Alighieri

Translated by D.G Rossetti

And now (for I must rid my name of ruth)

Behooves me speak the truth

Touching thy cruelty and wickedness:

Not that they be not known; but ne'ertheless

I would give hate more stress

With them that feed on love in every sooth.

———————————————————

Out of this world thou hast driven courtesy,

And virtue, dearly prized in womanhood;

And out of youth’s gay mood

The lovely lightness is quite gone through thee.

01:35

A video based on From La Vita Nuova: "And now (for I must rid my name of ruth)" by Dante Alighieri (translated by D.G. Rossetti).

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for from La Vita Nuova: "And now (for I must rid my name of ruth)" by Dante Alighieri (translated by D.G. Rossetti).

00:44

Sonnet 13

Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things—

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.


All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

03:31

A video lecture based on Sonnet 13: "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 13: "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

00:52

Sonnet 56Ash-boughs

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Not of all my eyes see, wandering on the world,

Is anything a milk to the mind so, so sighs deep

Poetry to it, as a tree whose boughs break in the sky.

Say it is ashboughs: whether on a December day and furled

Fast ór they in clammyish lashtender combs creep

Apart wide and new-nestle at heaven most high.

They touch heaven, tabour on it; how their talons sweep

The smouldering enormous winter welkin! May

Mells blue and snowwhite through them, a fringe and fray

Of greenery: it is old earth’s groping towards the steep

Heaven whom she childs us by.

00:33

An audio footnote based on Sonnet 56: "Ash-boughs" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Section 8: Caudate Sonnet or Coda Sonnet
01:16

Caudate Sonnet

or Coda Sonnet

A caudate sonnet is an expanded version of the sonnet. It consists of 14 lines in standard sonnet form followed by a coda (Latin cauda meaning “tail,” from which the name is derived). The first of these is a short line that rhymes with a line of the original sonnet, usually the last line; the other two form a rhyming couplet, reverting to iambic pentameter.

About the Caudate Sonnet

  • Invention credited to Francesco Berni in the 16th century
  • Frequently used for satire
  • Most prominent English instance is John Milton’s, “On the New Forcers of Conscience Under the Long Parliament”
01:13

On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament

John Milton

Because you have thrown off your Prelate Lord,

And with stiff vows renounced his Liturgy,

To seize the widowed whore Plurality,

From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorred,

Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword

To force our consciences that Christ set free,

And ride us with a Classic Hierarchy,

Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rutherford?

Men whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent,

Would have been held in high esteem with Paul

Must now be named and printed heretics

By shallow Edwards and Scotch What-d’ye-call!

But we do hope to find out all your tricks,

Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent,

That so the Parliament

May with their wholesome and preventive shears

Clip your phylacteries, though baulk your ears,

And succour our just fears,

When they shall read this clearly in your charge:

New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large.

06:09

A video lecture based on "On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament" by John Milton.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for "On the New Forcers of Conscience under the Long Parliament" by John Milton.

02:14

Sonnet 48

That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-

built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs ' they throng; they glitter in marches.

Down roughcast, down dazzling whitewash, wherever an elm arches,

Shivelights and shadowtackle in long lashes lace, lance, and pair.

Delightfully the bright wind boisterous ropes, wrestles, beats earth bare

Of yestertempest’s creases; in pool and rut peel parches

Squandering ooze to squeezed dough, crust, dust; stanches, starches

Squadroned masks and manmarks treadmire toil there

Footfretted in it. Million-fuelèd, nature’s bonfire burns on.

But quench her bonniest, dearest to her, her clearest-selvèd spark

Man, how fast his firedint, his mark on mind, is gone!

Both are in an unfathomable, all is in an enormous dark

Drowned. O pity and indig nation! Manshape, that shone

Sheer off, disseveral, a star, death blots black out; nor mark

Is any of him at all so stark

But vastness blurs and time beats level. Enough! the Resurrection,

A heart’s-clarion! Away grief’s gasping, joyless days, dejection.

Across my foundering deck shone

A beacon, an eternal beam. Flesh fade, and mortal trash

Fall to the residuary worm; world’s wildfire, leave but ash:

In a flash, at a trumpet crash,

I am all at once what Christ is, since he was what I am, and

This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,

Is immortal diamond

05:40

A video lecture based on Sonnet 48: "That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

1 question

A quiz based on the text and video for Sonnet 48: "That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection" by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

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Instructor Biography

Mr. Lasseter has more than fifteen years teaching experience. He holds both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Dallas. He has an accomplished professional background, including directing the men’s chant choir at the University of Dallas and producing and directing various dramatic performances in Irving, Texas. Mr. Lasseter currently serves as a teacher of high school literature.

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