Scan the lines provided from Sonnet 73. Mark the syllables, separate the feet with short vertical lines, and indicate the rhyme scheme.  That time of year thou mayst in me behold ____ When yellow...

Scan the lines provided from Sonnet 73. Mark the syllables, separate the feet with short vertical lines, and indicate the rhyme scheme.


That time of year thou mayst in me behold ____

When yellow leaves, or non, or few, do hang ___

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, ____

Bare ruined, choirs where late the sweet birds sang _____





Expert Answers
shakespeareguru eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's confusing, yes, to mark up a passage of verse with all the signs and symbols.  I will scan the first few lines for you and give the rhyme scheme of these line, and then you can finish it!  Once you understand the task/tools, I think you will find it easier. and when you have seen my scansion of the text, if you want further explanation, follow the link below to "iambic pentameter" and scroll down to the "simple example" given there.

The fact that the verse is written in iambic pentameter is the key.  The poetic rhythm of this is based upon our heartbeat and, in stress goes something like this: da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, da DUM, etc.  The DUM is in all caps and bolded because this is the syallable of each foot that is stressed.  There should be five feet, each foot comprised of two syllables (one unstressed and one  stressed), in a line of iambic pentameter verse.

Here's the way I would begin to scan the lines of verse you provide:

That time -- of year -- thou mayst-- in me -- be hold

When yel -- low leaves -- or none -- or few -- do hang

Please note that I can't create the symbols easily on my computer so, instead of a vertical line between the feet, I have used a dash, and instead of the forward slash placed above the stressed syllables, I have made the syllable bold.  Instead of the little "u" or breve mark, I have italicized the unstressed syllables.  You can see, if you consult the imabic pentameter link below, how to create the slash and the breve above your stressed and unstressed syllables.  It will also show you how to separarte you feet.

As for rhyme scheme, sonnets follow a particular rule.  Begin with the last word of the first line.   This will be your A word.  Look at the second line.  The last world should not rhyme with word A, so call this word B.  In line three you have a rhyme with line one, so this is A again, and in line four, B.  Like this:

...behold   A

...hang   B

...cold   A

...sang   B

Hope this helps!


favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That time | of year | thou mayst | in me | be hold 

When yel | low leaves, | or none, | or few, | do hang 

Up on | those boughs | which shake | a gainst | the cold

Bare ru | ined, choirs | where late | the sweet | birds sang 

This poem is written in iambic pentameter, one of the most common meters in the English language.  This means that each line has ten syllables (which I have separated above), divided into five feet, each foot consisting of two syllables; each foot has one unaccented syllable (I used no special typographic features for these syllables) followed by one accented syllable (in bold). 

We can start to determine the meter by beginning with the multisyllabic words (or the words with more than one syllable).  If we determine which of those syllables should be emphasized, that gives us a place to begin.  For example, in line 1, the word "behold" is pronounced beHOLD, not BEhold; so we can mark the second syllable as accented.  In line 2, the word "yellow" is pronounced YELlow, not yelLOW, so we can mark that one.  Also, we can sometimes assume that insignificant words like "a" or "the" or "or" will not be accented, although this isn't always the case.