English sonnet examples

he English sonnet is also known as the Shakespearean sonnet because it was created by William well as over 1500 words. 

It is written in iambic pentameter (10 syllable alternately unstressed and then stressed (iambic), two beats or syllables is also known as a "foot" and each line has five (5) feet (pentameter). 

The rhyme scheme for a Shakespearean/English sonnet is ABABCDCDEFEFGG. A modern gimmick, I will politely call it, is to break the sonnet up into three(3) quatrain stanzas and a couplet: 
ABAB CDCD EFEF GG; I do not hold to such thinking. 

An example of a Shakespearean sonnet is my sonnet "Necessary": 

Such tears, all flowed, have tired my eyes and heart. 
Where others held success as I had none, 
There hoped a bosom cored of reasoned art 
For instances made true had smiles begun 
To fissure ice and armoured shells turned rust; 
But none I knew sustained the gauntlet Time. 
And none maintained their days to earn a trust, 
Just processed thoughts a-swirl in rhyme. 
From ponderous beginnings never seen— 
For man presumed hung by queries and jest— 
A beauty did shine where none before had been; 
And I, unseen, bartered stone ’f my chest 
If only she approved th’ guarantee 
Made desperate, yearn as I, and she for me.

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Sonnet, Beautiful

I saw you and you looked like an angel 

My eyes fluttered and stared in utter awe 

I prayed for your touch, your hand so gentle 

I searched, and looked, but could not find a flaw 

I'm amazed at how you're always smiling 

Shaking off the stabs and pangs, tainted life 

They shove and push but you're persevering 

Lasting, tasting the bitter taste of strife 

You glanced at me and flashed a pretty smile 

My mind raced round, I could only stutter 

You laughed and I laughed, comfortable cycle 

Your beauty, they say, can never falter 

I lean in and the sparkle I can't miss 

As I reach shakily for my first kiss 

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Betrayal (sonnet)

I'm crushed, heartbroken, with eyes open wide.

My soul lies there, it sleeps, all cold and frail.

He breathes so heavy, doesn't want to try.

After all, he's been there, tried and tried, fail.

I need you, my heart calls for you alone.

It's a losing battle I understand.

But these poor emotions hath felt forlorn.

That hole you left me was sincerely grand.

You dropped me as if I'm a piece of coal.

What you didn’t see, is how you hurt me.

I hit the ground, absolutely no control.

You ran away because you only flee.

So, now you've left me completely alone.

Standing frozen in this phlegmatic zone.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

For theatre class

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Eternity's Plan

I wish I were the note that made you smile.

I wish I were the key that sway your head

To the tune you listened to all the while

And played before you crept into the bed.

The bed I wish were still mine. Yet I sing

The lullaby you sang when you lay in my mind

And play like a motif. The distinctive ring

Of your voice forever in the mind entwined.

But Death was deaf to our sweet song sung-

Just as we were blind to Eternity’s plan;

Onto the hopes of harmony we clung

Until the very last moments of our span.

At last, I have learnt to master that piece-

A hymn I must play, now you are at peace.

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My Beautiful Catherine

    My Beautiful Catherine



My dear you are more beautiful than she,


If any you would be the best by far.


 You always fill me with oh such great glee,


 I feel as if I've won a brand new car. 


 Your eyes are like a beauteous surprise.


 I love the way your smile is so sweet.


You make me feel as if on wings up high.


To be with you is always such a treat.


 My favorite thing is just to see your face,


 But your smile can put me in a daze. 


Without you I feel just as a disgrace.


 I need you darling now and for always. 


You are the light that shines within the sky, 



The only thing that keeps my soul alive.


With words I try to find the best approach

To quell my love from wav'ring, wond'ring thoughts

But as she hold to them as if their coach

I find loves messenger remains unwrought.

O if my words could cut them like a sword

Then thine own pesky thoughts may then cut free.

To draw the balence of my loves afford

Becomes a bitter risk, I fear, to me.

Will not then truth proceed her way to light?

In newest phrase shall then my heart come through

And prove my souls perpetual delight

That you may have such knowledge ever true.

  In all there is just one thing to be told.

  Your hearts the only one I wish to hold.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

My first attempt at writing a sonnet, or any poety for that matter. I figured it would be a great way to learn to more fully appreciate the great poets! I would love any analysis, criticism or feedback. 

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Semi-Sonnet on Inspiration

In days of yore I always longed

to be a tortured poet true,

suff'ring, stark 'neath skies of blue,

alone and heartsick, bright yet wronged,

toying with a language pronged

by contrasting Me and You,

and your ever-present crew-

you are by greener pastured thronged


Yet solitude can be a friend,

I realized 'neath my Bodhi tree,

and anguish no necessity;

Inspiration has no end.

Melancholy won't wring free

the poetry that time will send. 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I wanted to write an Italian sonnet in iambic tetrameter. I screwed up the tetrameter by occasionally alternating stressed and unstressed syllables at the beginning of lines, so I suppose one could consider it an experiment with the form. Anyhow, the subject was my question of whether or not I needed to be heartsick and spurned to write, and the conclusion is that pain and inspiration are independent of one another. 

A Song Sweetly

The eyes from the soul a song do compose, 
and freely from emotion doth it flow.
Pure melody it should be i suppose,
but dreamers' beat could be a bleating crow.
To aspire to be all that one can be,
a spirit's call to transcend destiny.
With harmony to put to rest one's fate,
a sad sonnet to ward against world's hate. 
A solemn hymn to shine against dark strife. 
Steady rhythm expresses sadly love, 
maybe ballads to tell of lonely life.
A faster beat to rise the fallen dove. 
Peace, eternally, a sweet song doth sing, 
and forever love from our hearts doth ring.
Author's Notes/Comments: 

I love sonnets and what they can be imbued with.

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Up the riverbanks we scrambled.

Across the herb speckled meadows we ran.

Lungs full of dust: how our lives dangled!

Between life and death; as the dust did fan.

A wind sprung up, diverting the dust:

Towards the river and farm it spread.

Quickly to hospital - Oh! yes we must!

Shall we soon be really and truly dead?

But insectestides, are not the answer.

Intensified chemical sprayed!

Do you think it casues cancer?

I daresay and I heard you prayed.

Dead birds and fish float in the river.

Oh! now my lips are all of a quiver.

Author's Notes/Comments: 



My childhood memories of playtime interrupted by crop dusting during the 1960's. What chaos!!

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