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What is a Shakespearean Sonnet?

A Shakespearean Sonnet is a poem expressive of thought or emotion or idea. It is usually 14 lines which are formed  by three quatrains with a rhyming couplet for the last two lines.

A Shakespearean Sonnet poem

Sonnet 130

My Mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;  a
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;  b
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;  a
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.  b
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,  c
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;  d
And in some perfumes is there more delight  c
There in the breath that from my mistress reeks.  d
I love to hear her speak; yet well I know e
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;  f
I grant I never saw a goddess go;  e
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground  f
Any yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare  g
As any she belied with false compare.  g

Why don't you try writing a Shakespearean sonnet and enter it into one of our poetry competitions.

For information on poetry types other than a Shakespearean sonnet visit our poetry glossary – poetry types.

Poetry Types

Acrostic Epigram Lyric Shakespearean Sonnet
Ballad Free verse Ottava rima Sonnet
Ballade Haiku Pantoum Tanka Poem
Blank verse Horatian Ode Pindaric Ode Terza rima
Cinquain Irregular Ode Riddle Tetractys
Diamante Kennings Rondeau Triolet
Echo Verse Kyrielle Senryu Tyburn
Epic Limerick Shape Poem  
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