English Sonnet Shakespearean Sonnet Elizabethan Sonnet A

variation of the sonnet (14-line poem) found in the English literary tradition, the English sonnet was developed by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, earl of Surrey. Because of William Shakespeare's popularity, this form is sometimes called the Shakespearean sonnet; it has also been called the Elizabethan sonnet after Queen Elizabeth I.

The English sonnet exhibits four divisions of verse instead of the two sections commonly found in Italian (Petrarchan) sonnets: three quatrains and a conclud ing rhyming couplet. The quatrains may have differing rhyme schemes, but the most common one is abab, cdcd, efef, gg. Typically in this form, the narrative background begins in the first quatrain and is explained in the second. The third quatrain usually begins with a volta, or turn, in which the story shifts, with the couplet providing a "summing up" at the end. Scholars suggest that this form was easily adapted to drama, a development found in early modern theatre.

ENJAMBMENT Enjambment is a term describing the prosody (rhythm) of poetry, in which the meaning and the structure of a line runs into the following line. Often used in poetry composed of couplets, it also became an important device used in SoNNETs. For instance, in Sonnet 104 from Astrophil and Stella, Sir Philip Sidney creates a sense of distance from his beloved through enjambment. In Sonnet 45 from Delia, Samuel Daniel links the first two quatrains through enjamb-ment, extending the pun on mourn and morn, and drawing the reader into the poet's dream.

ENVOI (ENVOY) From the Middle French word envoy, "to send," an envoi is the final part of a poem wherein the poet addresses the person to whom the poem is directed; it often contains a moral interpretation. originally part of the French troubadour tradition, English poetry increasingly used the envoi after the 14th century. Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde contains an envoi at the end in which he directs his "litel boke" to be subject to Poetry and kiss the footprints of Virgil, Ovid, Homer, Lucan, and Statius. Two of Chaucer's shorter lyrics—"Envoy to Scogan" and "Envoy to Bukton"—apparently use envoy in the sense of "message," but they also incorporate the taut moral aspect of traditional envois. John Lydgate and Thomas Hoccleve also used envois in a number of their poems, such as at the end of Lydgate's Troy Book and in Hoccleve's Regiment of Princes. Another example of the envoi can be found at the close of The Kingis Quair by James I, king of Scotland. During the Renaissance, envois became a part of the SoNNET tradition, and many individual poems as well as sonnet sequences feature elegant envois.

See also Fall of Princes, The; sestina.

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