E211 Fall 2010 Students' Blog

Adira Edmund on Milton's Sonnets

Published by admin_main on Sat 30 Oct, 2010

I. Milton's Sonnets

Of the 24 sonnets written by Milton, only 5 were written in Italian to what is thought to be an "imaginary" Italian woman. The rest were written in English and the topics he addressed were not the typical romantic topics associated with sonnets. Instead the issues raised in Milton's sonnets ranged from personal crisis, politics, people, and historical facts.

Milton's early sonnets seemed to be written in the Petrarchan form, but later he created his own style and flow; "sense runs from line to line", he "override{s} the expected end-stop line", and there is an "octave/sestet shift"

In all of his sonnets, Milton creates some kind of tension where meaning and emotion break the formal style of Petrarchian Sonnets.

He influenced romantic poets such as Wordsworth and Shelley.

"How Soon Hath Time"
A. Describe the tension in this poem between what the young speaker considers his lack of inner maturity and the Providential order he believes in. How, mainly, do you interpret the relationship between the poem's first two quatrains (four-line units) and the sestet (final six lines)?
What is the tension between Immaturity and Providential Order and what is the relationship of the first 2 quatrains and the sestet?

In the first 2 quatrains it appears that Milton states his problem or the issue he's addressing in the poem, namely the

Lines 1-4: Maturity needs time to ripen, to grow and develop while Time itself moves by quickly by pushing him closer to his destined end

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