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10 Examples of Most Famous Sonnets

Muhammad Rafiq is a freelance writer, blogger, and translator with a master's degree in English literature from the University of Malakand.

Examples of Sonnets

Examples of Sonnets

A sonnet is a 14-line poem with a specific rhyme scheme. Sonnets typically explore deep emotions or universal themes, making them a popular choice for writers throughout history. In this post, we'll explore 13 examples of sonnets written by some of the most famous poets in the world.

13 Examples of Sonnets

When it comes to sonnets, Shakespeare is probably the first name that comes to mind. However, the sonnet form is actually quite popular, and there are many examples of sonnets written by other poets. Here are 13 examples of sonnets from a variety of poets:

  1. Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day
  2. How Do I Love Thee?
  3. Whoso List to Hunt, I Know where is an Hind
  4. When, in Disgrace With Fortune and Men’s Eyes
  5. Composed upon Westminster Bridge
  6. Death, Be Not Proud
  7. Sonnet 1
  8. My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun
  9. Sonnet 75
  10. When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be

Example # 1 — Shall I Compare thee to a Summer's Day

Shakespeare's sonnet "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" is one of the most beautiful and renowned examples of the sonnet form. The poem's speaker reflects on the eternal beauty of their beloved, comparing them to the transitory nature of summer.

Though summer days are eventually replaced by the harshness of winter, the speaker's love will never fade. The poem ends with a plea for the beloved to live on forever in the speaker's memory. Shakespeare's masterful use of language and metre creates a truly stunning poem that has captivated readers for centuries.

Examples of Sonnets

Examples of Sonnets

Example # 2 — How Do I Love Thee?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee?" is a beautiful example of a sonnet. This fourteen-line poem is full of emotion and passion, making it a perfect expression of love. The poem follows a strict rhyme scheme and meter, which gives it a musical quality.

The speaker in the poem asks how she could possibly love her beloved any more than she already does. She lists a number of ways in which her love could grow stronger, but ultimately conclude that she will always love him just as much as she does at this moment. This poem is a perfect way to express the deep, abiding love that you have for someone.

Examples of Sonnets

Examples of Sonnets

Example # 3 — Whoso List to Hunt, I Know where is an Hind

"Whoso List to Hunt, I Know where is an Hind" by Sir Thomas Wyatt is one of the most beautiful of sonnets. It is a perfect example of a sonnet, with its fourteen lines of iambic pentameter and its rhyme scheme. The poem is about a man who is hunting a hind, but he knows that she is elusive and he will never be able to catch her.

The poem is a metaphor for the speaker's unrequited love for a woman who is unattainable. The poem is full of beautiful images and language, and it is a perfect example of the sonnet form.

Examples of Sonnets

Examples of Sonnets

Example # 4 — When, in Disgrace With Fortune and Men’s Eyes

"When, in Disgrace With Fortune and Men’s Eyes" by William Shakespeare is one of the most beautiful and touching sonnets in English literature. It is a beautiful example of a Shakespearean sonnet, with its excellent use of rhyme and meter, and its deep exploration of love and despair. This sonnet is sure to touch the hearts of all who read it.

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Sonnet Examples

Sonnet Examples

Example # 5 — Composed upon Westminster Bridge

"Composed upon Westminster Bridge" by William Wordsworth is one of the most beautiful sonnets in English literature. It's a beautiful example of a sonnet because of the way it captures the feeling of being in London and looking at the city from Westminster Bridge. The sonnet has a sense of awe and wonder at the sight of the city, and its beauty lies in the way it captures that feeling.

Sonnet Examples

Sonnet Examples

Example # 6 — Death, Be Not Proud

"Death, Be Not Proud" by John Donne is another beautiful example of a sonnet. Although it is ostensibly about the speaker's view of death, it is also a searing indictment of death itself. Death, in the poet's view, should not feel proud or triumphant, as it so often does. Death is not something to be feared or revered, but merely an inconvenience. The speaker challenges death to do its worst, and in doing so, reveals his own fearlessness in the face of mortality.

Sonnet Examples

Sonnet Examples

Example # 7 — Sonnet 1

"Sonnet 1" by Sir Philip Sidney is one of the most beautiful and excellent examples of a sonnet. It is a great demonstration of the form and its potential. The speaker in the sonnet wants to share his love with his beloved through writing and nothing more than to win her heart. He thinks that if she reads his sonnets, she will understand his love for her and reciprocate those feelings.

Sonnet Examples

Sonnet Examples

Example # 8 — My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun

My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun by William Shakespeare is one of the most famous sonnets in English literature. The sonnet is about the speaker's love for his mistress, who is not conventionally beautiful. The speaker compares his mistress to various natural objects like the sun, the coral, the snow, or the black wires (hairs) and finds her wanting in each case. Even though she is not as beautiful as these things, the speaker still loves her.

13 Examples of Sonnets

13 Examples of Sonnets

Example # 9 — Sonnet 75

Edmund Spenser's Sonnet 75 is one of the most famous sonnets in English literature. It is a beautiful and powerful poem about the enduring nature of love and poetry. The speaker argues that his love for his beloved will never die, even though she herself may someday. He wants her to be remembered forever and believes that poetry is the key to immortality. The poem is a touching and moving tribute to the power of love and art.

Examples of Sonnets

Examples of Sonnets

Example # 10 — When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be

John Keats' "When I have Fears" is another beautiful and moving example of a sonnet. In this poem, Keats expresses his fear that he will die before he has had a chance to fully develop his talent as a writer. He compares his potential literary output to a rich harvest, and his fear of dying prematurely to the stars disappearing from the night sky. The poem is both sad and uplifting, and ultimately reassures the reader that Keats' talent will live on even if he does not.

Examples of Sonnets

Examples of Sonnets

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Muhammad Rafiq

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