Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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Illuminate and extract the rhyme scheme in Petrarch's Sonnet II?

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The Petrarchan sonnet rhyme scheme is a very specific one, as specific as Petrarch's fourteen line structured sonnets comprising an octave, which is eight lines, followed by a sestet, which is six lines. For the octave, the rhyme scheme is an unvarying abbaabba. In "Sonnet II," this is the octave rhyme scheme that is present. The rhymes are as follows (I'll use capital letter rhyme indicator for visual ease):
smart  A
obtain  B
again  B
part  A
heart  A
gain  B
amain  B
dart  A
ABBAABBA, which is exactly the prescribed Petrarchan octave rhyme scheme: abbaabba.

For the sestet, the rhyme scheme is a varible cdecde. There are a number of recognized variations possible for a Petrarchan sestet stanza, some are cdeced, cdcedc, and cddcdc. The sestet of "Sonnet II" is in the cdeced variation. The rhymes are as follows (again, I'll use capital letter rhyme indicator for visual ease):
found  C
foe  D
need  E
ground  C
speed  E
know  D
CDECED, which accords with one of the recognized Petrarchan variations for sestet rhyme scheme variation: cdeced.

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