How 14 eloquent lines bring clarity

How 14 eloquent lines bring clarity

"Allegory of Lyric Poetry," 1753, by François Boucher. Oil on canvas. 45 1/4 inches by 62 3/4 inches. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, 1969. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

“They are eloquent who can speak low things acutely, and of great things with dignity, and of moderate things with temper,” Cicero wrote in “The Orator.”


The traditional sonnet can allow this level of communication to occur. The rhyme and rhythm of a sonnet may even evoke the poem’s meaning before the words are actually understood. This is due to the structural integrity of the sonnet.


If the structure is lost, so too is the harmony—of the rhyme and the reason. Like musical notation without its bars, it falls from grace into discord.


The two main types of sonnet are the Petrarchan sonnet and the English sonnet, also known as the Shakespearean sonnet, as this is the type of sonnet