Free Sonnet Worksheet Essay Example
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1 When to the sessions of sweet silent thought 2 I summon up remembrance of things past, 3 I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought, 4 And with old woes new wail* my dear time's waste: *bewail5 Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow, 6 For precious friends hid in death's dateless night, 7 And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe, 8 And moan th' expense of many a vanish'd sight; 9 Then can I grieve at grievances foregone, 10 And heavily from woe to woe tell* o'er *count11 The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan, 12 Which I new pay as if not paid before. 13 But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, 14 All losses are restor'd, and sorrows end.
1. Italian or English in form?: This sonnet is English in form, as the final two lines offer the solution to the problem of moral complexity stated in the twelve first lines.
2-3. Where does the “turn” occur? Explain the shift, from what to what?In the beginning (lines 1-4) the author shifts from silent contemplation to outer expression of his feelings. He makes a deep sigh and a wail as symbols of regret over the past and unfinished things that the flow of time has taken away. Later on (lines 5-8) the reader feels that the “turn” cracks open. The author resorts to tears, since the grief he experiences is unbearable to his consciousness. The thought of a close friend who passed away tortures his mind and the scars that healed start to bleed anew. In lines 9-12 his mourning becomes unstoppable and never ending, as the author seems to be trapped in his remembrance and love for the deceased friend. It becomes obvious that a person who he is reminiscing was a dear companion of his and the loss of this person had slowly been shattering the author’s soul. However, the final couplet casts the dark shadow of grief off and gives the reader hope that the author would not sink in the ocean of despair. The author himself states that the thought of his friend makes him forget about his pain and restore his mental calm.
4-5. Summarize the main message of the poem in a sentence or two.The main message of the sonnet lies herein: people should learn the lesson that they should never live their lives in memories of the past, which may turn the whole living into torture. Life is precious in its every moment, so we need to enjoy every second of it and be thankful for all the good that we received.
6-7. Any significant uses of assonance or alliteration? Explain how this pattern of sound contributes to the meaning of the lines that convey the pattern.
Uses of alliteration: Lines 1-3: the sound /s/: sessions, sweet, silent, summon, sigh, sought; line 4: the sound /w/: with, woes, wail, waste, bewail; line 5: the sound /d/: death’s, dateless; line 9: the sound /g/: grieve, grievance, foregone
Uses of assonance: Line 4: the sound /ei/: wail, waste, bewail; line 6: the sound /e/: precious, friend, death’s. All of the examples above contribute to the particular rhythm of the sonnet. Some examples of alliteration and assonance are resulted by repetition of words or their derivatives (e.g. lines 4, 9, 11, 12). The stylistic devices used in the mentioned lines emphasize importance of the latter in development of the theme of the sonnet. They also add some dramatic flavor to sensitivity and emotional coloring that can literally be read between the lines in the sonnet.
8-9. Any significant clusters of rhyme that reinforce the meaning of the poem? Explain your choice. OR Can you see the “conceit” that runs through the sonnet (hint: check out the words in black font).
The clusters of rhyme that are especially palpable are highlighted in orange, purple, red and blue. These rhymes have been chosen because they deal with the rhythmical aspect of the sonnet’s perception. It is very important to discern rhyming lines, since their lack or inexistence causes difficulty in understanding the flow of the idea of the sonnet. Those mentioned focus on the turning points in the process of theme unfolding.
The “conceit” is highlighted in green. The idea of author’s suffering runs through the whole sonnet. It is gradually made explicit by means of expressively colored words with synonymic meanings, which accumulate the feeling of author’s grief to the climacteric point. This is the way “conceit” is actualized in the vertical perspective of the theme of this sonnet.
10. What does the phrase “death’s dateless night” mean?
In the context of the sonnet the phrase “death’s dateless night” means eternity. In line 6 it is metaphorically depicted as a place where the precious friend of the author is hidden. Consequently, it becomes clear that dateless night controlled by death means that this night has no end, i.e. it lasts forever. The friend that the author is talking about now belongs to the other world eternal in its essence.
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