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the power of poetry and pure love to defeat death. The final sonnets (127-154) are addressed to a promiscuous and scheming woman known to modern readers as the dark lady. Both the poet and his young man have become obsessed with the raven-haired temptress in these sonnets, and the poet's whole being is at odds with his insatiable "sickly appetite." The tone is distressing, with language of sensual feasting, uncontrollable urges, and sinful consumption. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In order to determine whether a poem is a Shakespearean or English sonnet, we have to ask four questions: 1) Does the poem have 14 lines, and 2) what is the poem's rhyme scheme? 2) What do the quatrains introduce? 4) What does the couplet achieve?Look at “Sonnet 130” below and try to identify the rhyme scheme and stanzas. What is a Spenserian Sonnet? The Spenserian sonnet is named after Edmund Spenser, a contemporary of Shakespeare, who popularized this type of sonnet in a famous sequence of sonnets that express his love for his future wife. It is a variation of the English sonnet with three quatrains and a rhyming couplet. It is most noted for its interlocking rhyme scheme of abab bcbc cdcd ee. Below is an example of one: “Sonnet 15”
Ye tradefull Merchants that with weary toyle do seeke most pretious things to make your gain: and both the Indias of their treasures spoile, what needeth you to seeke so farre in vaine? For loe my love doth in her selfe containe all this worlds riches that may farre be found: if Saphyres, loe her eies be Saphyres plaine, if Rubies, loe hir lips be Rubies found: If Pearles, hir teeth be pearles both pure and round; if Yvorie, her forhead yvory weene; if Gold, her locks are finest gold on ground; if silver, her faire hands are silver sheene, But that which fairest is, but few behold, her mind adornd with vertues manifold.