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What is the rhyme scheme and meter of Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare?

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manaljaber | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted March 7, 2011 at 4:44 AM via web

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What is the rhyme scheme and meter of Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 7, 2011 at 9:02 AM (Answer #1)

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Sonnet 73 is a typical Shakespearean sonnet.  Therefore, it is written in iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, gg. There are three quatrains that develop the theme, or action, with a concluding rhyming couplet.

In Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, in the first quatrain, the speaker acknowledges to his lover that he is growing older: 

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang....

However, this aging and possibility of dying--"Death's second self that seals up all the rest"--should "ignite the fire" in the lover into embracing him and enjoying him more fully and urgently.

Sonnet 73 is from a subgroup that includes sonnets 18-77.  While the latter ones relate in theme to time, as does Sonnet 73, the earlier ones relate to the complications that develop with rival lovers. Each one of Shakespeare's sonnets holds its own beauty, nevertheless.

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