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The Petrarchan Sonnet

As the oldest sonnet form, the Petrarchan Sonnet, or Italian Sonnet, has a special place in history and literature. Here, it is honored with these examples that should bear some light on just what can be accomplished using this pure form introduced by Petrarch in the 14th century.

One of the most famous architects of this form is the English poet John Milton. Below is the Petrarchan Sonnet "When I Consider How My Light is Spent."

If you liked the above poem be sure to read more John Milton verse. Contemporary poets, whether they write sonnets, other forms, or in free verse, can learn a great deal from this poet of the Renaissance era.

Edna St. Vincent Millay was an early 20th century poet who wrote some beautiful poems, including the above sonnet.

Another female poet who wrote some beautiful poems of the Petrarchan Sonnet style was Elizabeth Barrett Browning. This English poet who wrote at the cusp of the Romantic and Victorian eras is famous for her verse and has given posterity a huge volume of poetry for study and consumption.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning had a very famous love affair and married another famous poet, Robert Browning. Even today, their love story is one of the best love stories ever told, and much of it was told in their poems to each other.

"My Letters! all dead paper...(Sonnet XXVIII)" by Elizabeth is a gem:

For more on Petrarch and his contribution to literature, read all about the development of the sonnet, particularly the Petrarchan Sonnet and the English sonnet forms.

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