Practical Theory - The Origin
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two Love Sonnets

Yesterday I told you I would explore two famous Love Sonnets. We can use the same tools we used yesterday to deconstruct these two sonnets today. One sonnet is by Shakespeare and the other sonnet is by E. B. Browning.

William Shakespeare
Sonnet #18
Apr 23, 1564 - Apr 23 1616

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 dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shalt 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.


XLIII. "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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Here is the beginning of an analysis sheet for Shakespeare's sonnet, we created in class to help the scholars work through the sonnet.

"Let me compare thee.." Shakespeare

A. Type of poem
1. sonnet
2. 14 lines

B. rhyme scheme
1. ababcdcdefefgg
2. quatrains
a. paraphrase 1, Q/P
b. paraphrase 2
c. paraphrase 3
d. rhyming couplet A/S

C. meter
1. iambic
2. pentameter
3. different line ? importance

D. literary terms
1. metaphors
a. which one
b. which one
2. personification
a. example

E. repetition of words (importance)
1. more 2X
2. fair 3X
3. eternal 2X
4. so long 2X
5. summer 4X
6. this in last line

F. theme = beauty, love

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Here is the work sheet for Browning's sonnet.

How do I Love thee? E B Browning
A. type of poem
1. sonnet
2. 14 lines

B. Rhyme Scheme
1. abbaabbacdcdcd: function
2. octet/sestet
a. question: ?
b. answer: ?
3. paraphrase poem

C. Meter
1. Iambic
2. pentameter
3. different line, which one?

D. literary elements
1. metaphors
a. 2-3; 12-13, explain them
b. SIMILES 7&8
2. images: 5 senses

E. repetition of words
1. i love thee 7 X
2. the last line

F. theme of love

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I will leave you to have fun with these on your own and to play around in class.

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