What is the style and form of the poem "Avarice" by George Herbert?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"Avarice" by George Herbert is written in the form of the established English sonnet.  "Avarice" displays all the standard features found in an English sonnet.  The poem has fourteen lines and is divided into four major sections. 

The first three sections are known as quatrains, stanzas comprised of four lines each; each of Herbert's quatrains address some aspect of Money which he personifies throughout the poem. 

The final section is a couplet, a pair of lines that rhyme.  Typically, in an English sonnet, the couplet at the end of the poem resolves a conflict or question that the poet may be trying to answer through the course of the sonnet; Herbert's sonnet 'Avarice' suggests that the end result of man's lust for riches is a dire consequence:

"Man calleth thee his wealth, who made thee rich

And while he diggs out thee, falls in the ditch" (13-14).


The rhyme scheme of Herbert's poem also follows the scheme of the traditional English sonnet: ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG

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