> Sonnet down the Ages (1)

Sonnet down the Ages (1)

Par |2018-08-21T16:31:28+00:00 4 décembre 2013|Catégories : Blog|

The first thing that comes to our mind while dea­ling with son­nets is tra­di­tion, struc­ture and cer­tain terms. Terms such as a four­teen line poem, qua­tor­zain, four­tee­ner, Shakespearean etc. are often used by people whe­ne­ver they try to defy the dic­tio­na­ry mea­ning of son­net and go into the cave of details. The rea­son might be the fact that Sonnet has always been in lite­ra­ture with a strong nerve but never has been on the peak of popu­la­ri­ty in com­pa­ri­son with other lite­ra­ry genres. Had the Italian and Occitan lan­guages not exis­ted or crea­ted per­haps the Literary min­ded people would not have been able to muse over, cri­ti­cize and create lite­ra­ture through the popu­lar well-known genre of poe­try which we call as Sonnet. Not a single era of poe­tics can be ima­gi­ned without the crea­tion of com­plex Sonnets along with its seve­ral pos­tu­lates that had ser­ved as food for poe­try worms of the concer­ned per­iod. Starting from the son­ne­teer Giacomo da Lentini in the 12th cen­tu­ry, to Derozio in the 20th cen­tu­ry this form of poe­try has been one of the most lucra­tive genus of lite­ra­ture for mythi­cal expe­ri­ments down the ages. If we com­pare son­net with other poe­tic forms from the phi­lo­so­phi­cal, the­ma­tic and aes­the­ti­cal point of view, it does not create a notable dif­fe­rence but where the forte of Sonnets lies is in its struc­ture and num­ber of bifur­ca­tions this form expe­ri­men­tal­ly pos­sesses. All expe­ri­ments on son­net have been with its struc­tures like rhy­ming pat­tern, divi­sion of stan­zas, num­ber of lines etc. Critics say the mathe­ma­tics invol­ved with son­net often cur­tails one’s free­dom of expres­sion. This is one of the main rea­sons that make the usage of son­net intri­cate. However the extreme phi­lo­so­phy and power of Sonnet as a poe­tic genre is unde­niable.
“The crea­tor of Sonnet” is still an issue of argu­ment. Though Petrarch has been wide­ly accep­ted as the father of Sonnet it is more par­ti­cu­lar­ly due to the popu­la­ri­ty and polish he gave to Sonnet. Giacomo da Lentini (1188-1240), head nota­ry at Sicilian School (the first school of ver­na­cu­lar Italian poets) of Court Poetry is cre­di­ted with the inven­tion of Sonnet which might be sour­ced from any Sicilian song form for the very mea­ning of Sonetto(the Italian word from which Sonnet has been deri­ved) is a lit­tle song. However, none of his poems fol­low the Sicilian dia­lect but they rather seem to conform to Tuscan. It is a pos­si­bi­li­ty that he chan­ged his poems ori­gi­nal­ly writ­ten in Sicily into Tuscan after he came to Tuscany and popu­la­ri­zed it with his other contem­po­ra­ries main­ly Dante Alighieri, Guido Cavalcanti and Petrarch . Giacomo da Lentini, the head of Sicilian school under Frederick-II in the 13th cen­tu­ry who wrote about 300 son­nets most­ly dea­ling with pain, suf­fe­ring, and uncer­tain­ty of love with a strong sense of emo­tio­nal out­burst. Another asso­cia­tion of Giacomo da Lentini is asso­cia­ted with his inven­tion of his mul­ti-stro­phed com­po­si­tion Canzone. The son­net is, in actua­li­ty, an iso­la­ted strophe of a can­zone with the rhy­ming pat­tern of ABBAABBACDECDE. However, later ABBAABBACDCDCD became the stan­dard for Italian Sonnet. This rhy­ming pat­tern was first used by Guittone d’Arezzo (1230-94). Among the ear­ly son­ne­teers wri­ters were Giacomo da Lentini, Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) and Guido Cavalcanti (c. 1250 – 1300) who also belon­ged to the Sicilian school of poe­try. Iambic penta­me­ter was fol­lo­wed tho­rough­ly by all of these poets.


An example of Italian Sonnet.


I have set my heart on ser­ving God

by Giacomo de Lentini,

I have a place in my heart for God reser­ved,
So that I may go to Heaven,
To the Holy Place where, I have heard,
People are always hap­py and joyous and mer­ry.
I wouldn't want to go there without my lady
The one with fair hair and pale com­plexion,
Because without her I could never be hap­py,
Being sepa­ra­ted from my lady.
But I do not say that with blas­phe­mous intent,
As if I wan­ted to sin with her :
If I did not see her sha­pe­ly figure
And her beau­ti­ful face and ten­der look :
Since it would great­ly com­fort me
To see my woman shine in glo­ry.

lo m'aggio posto in core a Dio ser­vire,
com 'io potesse gire in para­di­so,
al san­to loco, c'aggio audi­to dire,
o' si man­tien sol­laz­zo, gio­co e riso.
Sanza mia don­na non vi voria gire,
quel­la c'a blon­da tes­ta e cla­ro viso,
che san­za lei non pote­ria gau­dere,
estan­do da la mia don­na divi­so.
Ma no lo dico a tale inten­di­men­to,
perch 'io peca­to ci volesse fare ;
se non veder lo suo bel por­ta­men­to
e lo bel viso e 'l mor­bi­do sguar­dare :
che'l mi teria in gran conso­la­men­to,

veg­gen­do la mia don­na in ghio­ra stare.

Giacomo da Lentini (pre 1250)