HISTORY OF THE SONNET

Frederick Second, last Holy Roman Emperor and celebrated patron of arts and letters, established his court at Palermo, about the year 1230 A.D. Of the many Sicilian poets who gathered round him, the foremost was Giacomo da Lentino. This author invented a new and very important kind of poetry.

The circumstances appear to have been as follows: In medieval Sicily a common form of popular verse was the strambotto. Poetry of this kind never was set down in writing but was learned by heart and was sung or recited by professional minstrels for the enjoyment of the common people. The poems usually were about love. They were eight lines in length and were divided into groups of two lines each. Divisions of thought often agreed with one or more of these groups and very frequently occurred at the end of the fourth line. The strambotto had two rhymes, which kept alternating throughout the poem. We may represent their pattern by the letters ab, ab, ab, ab. Often a few extra lines were added as a sequel.

Giacomo da Lentino made the popular strambotto a basis for his new, artistic form of poetry. He wrote always as if he were presenting his own ideas, and almost always he wrote about love. The tone of his

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Sonnets and Sestinas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • SONNETS 1
  • Single Sonnets 3
  • Sonnets from the Chinese 19
  • Sonnets for Christmas Time 27
  • SESTINAS 39
  • Single Sestinas 41
  • Double Sestinas 77
  • HISTORY OF THE SONNET 91
  • History of the Sonnet 93
  • HISTORY OF THE SESTINA 179
  • History of the Sestina 181
  • INDEX OF AUTHORS 215
  • INDEX OF POETICAL FORMS 229
  • INDEX OF POETICAL FORMS: THE SESTINA 235
  • SHAKESPEARE'S INFLUENCE ON SIR WALTER SCOTT 237
  • DANTE'S ECLOGUES - The Poetical Correspondence between Dante and Giovanni Del Virgilio 239
  • OVID'S METAMORPHOSES IN EUROPEAN CULTURE 242
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