Describe the rhyme pattern of a sonnet, giving examples from the given sonnet by Milton

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There are several different rhyme patterns for sonnets. All sonnets have fourteen lines, but the division of these lines can vary. The two major rhyme schemes for sonnet poetry, however, are the Petrarchan sonnet, an older form, and the Shakespearean sonnet, the rhyme scheme used by William Shakespeare in his sonnet sequence.

This poem by Milton is a Petrarchan sonnet. This can be observed in its rhyme scheme, which progresses ABBA ABBA CDE CDE. It does not exhibit the concluding couplet we see in a Shakespearean sonnet. This affects the division of meaning in the poem.

In the context of this poem, the A rhyme is shown in the first and fourth lines: “spent” rhymes with “bent,” while the B rhyme is on “hide” and “wide.” This ABBA rhyme scheme is repeated twice. Then in the latter half of the poem, the rhyme scheme shifts to CDE CDE, so we have “need/best/State” rhyming with “speed/rest/waite.”

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