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Welcome to Young Writers' free Poetry Glossary

What is a Shakespearean Sonnet?

A Shakespearean Sonnet is a poem expressive of thought, 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

(a) My Mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
(b) Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
(a) If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
(b) If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

(c) I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
(d) But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
(c) And in some perfumes is there more delight
(d) There in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

(e) I love to hear her speak; yet well I know
(f) That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
(e) I grant I never saw a goddess go;
(f) My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground

(g) Any yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
(g) As any she belied with false compare.

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

More poetry types below.

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Have you visited the rest of our website yet? There are lot more free resources such as poetry workshops, activities and games for young writers as well as lesson plans and themed packs for teachers - come have a look!

Please see below for other poetry types!
Please also visit our Poetry Glossary – Poetry terms

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