Magazine topic: 
Total votes: 101

Sonnets - the language of love?

by : 

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s interesting to delve into the history of Europe and to look at where one of the most romantic traditions surrounding Valentine’s Day came from.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I just want you to know
I think the world of you.

These poems are great for declaring your love on Valentine’s Day. They are interchangeable and can be personalised to fit the person you love, be it a boyfriend or girlfriend, your mother, father, sister, brother or friend … But how did people declare their love in the 17th Century?

‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments …’

Funnily enough, the sonnet was the original love poem and it stems from the Italian word for ‘little song’. It originated in Italy in the 14th Century and was adopted by England, France and Spain in the 16th Century and then Germany in the 17th Century.

There are different kinds of sonnets; one such example is the Shakespearean sonnet, named after William Shakespeare, because he liked to use this particular type. Each sonnet has its own style and rhyme scheme.

This type of poetry flows beautifully and mimics the pattern of speech. In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, he talks about love and what it means to him. He says that true love is not easily altered, that it remains strong and does not fade with time, even if it is a hopeless love. He concludes the 14 lines by saying that he cannot possibly be wrong in his interpretation because he feels so strongly, that if the way he feels is not love, no man can ever possibly have loved anyone! 

Sonnets are nice, because they have multiple meanings and can be interpreted differently by each person who reads them. They reflect the different kinds of love and friendships encountered throughout life and reflect the personal nature of love itself.


Do you have any special kinds of poetry for Valentine’s Day? How do people show their love in your country?


rosyclouds's picture
rosyclouds 13 May, 2017 - 12:21

I've just leart about poems in English class! My teacher gave us several topics and ordered us to write a poem and I chose "what is love". Sonnet is hard for me so I wrote a list poem.
what is love
love is like violent eruption
love is continuous attention
love is the rainbow after the rain
love is the unexpected meeting on the train
love is the swear
love is the pain we share
love is a drop of dew
love is the time I am with you
Maybe some of the sentences are plain, but I try my best to rhyme them.

23 users have voted.
rosyclouds's picture
rosyclouds 19 May, 2017 - 13:38

Hi, hadia! I'm so glad that you approve of my poem!Maybe love is beyond any word, but we are still eager to express it using various metaphors and continue to pursuit it.

20 users have voted.
hadia's picture
hadia 20 May, 2017 - 08:28

So true. You really have a poetic heart and mind. Love is a pure, magical and royal feeling. I love yout name by the way, Rosyclouds. :))

18 users have voted.
Luluzinha's picture
Luluzinha 11 March, 2017 - 05:45

I don't know, but i love it. In my country the people use music whit sonnets. But i have no idea, because i never see in my life one declaring, so i'm sorry for this. I live in Brazil and my inglish is very simple so i hope you guys anderstand my mistakes xxxxx

25 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 11 March, 2017 - 14:06

Hi Luluzinha. Thanks for your comment and don't worry, you wrote well! Yes, it's true - music is another common way to express feelings. There are so many love songs and romantic songs. Do you have any favourite songs or singers?
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

29 users have voted.
hadia's picture
hadia 17 February, 2017 - 13:22

I loved reading your article. I thought sonnets were 14 verses' poems but not that they were ''language of love".
I don't celebrate Valentine's day. But I have something to share.
Umm......last month I was reading a book. There were two supporting characters in the story and they confessed to each other in a cute way.
Basically, it's the story of a girl who fights for child abuse as she has gone through the same phase in her childhood. She goes to a Uni. and there she meets a group of people. They become friends. The group has three sophomores and four freshmen. Shay(one of the girls) likes this boy in their group. He is mostly quiet and don't pay others attention. Laila-the main girl- tries to explain shay that he isn't going to understand her feelings but Shay is persistent.
On Music Festival, as there's much crowd.....while the boy is singing song Shay sends a letter to him that says....
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
Someone from your group,
Loves YOU.

The boy opens it up and tries to look for his friends. He spots Laila, who gives him a smile. He misunderstands her as the sender. While doing Drama practice for the annual film festival , he tells Laila that he couldn't reciprocate her feelings, for he loves somebody else At first Laila's confused but then explain him that it's not she who sent her that message. She asks him about who he loves. He hesitantly tells her about Shay. Laila becomes so happy for their mutual feelings.
On the night of Film Festival, In a quite romantic way(which was absurd for him-the boy), Faris speaks in the mic and tells the audience that he wants to say something. He speaks up. And tells that although he's the Head of the Student Writing Club and Editor of University's Mag., he had to think for days to come up for answer. He then declares;
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I don't know,
But I feel the same too!

Roars and cheers from the audience fills the hall. He heads towards Shay and she beams with happiness.
-taken from the book "Don't Remind Me"

Ha ha. That was a lovely and quite interesting chapter in that book. I loved the small verses they dedicated to each other.
I just thought to share, :)

37 users have voted.
EllenBlogger's picture
EllenBlogger 2 March, 2017 - 19:51

Hi Hadia,

I'm glad you enjoyed reading the article! I absolutely love sonnets-so much so that I've borrowed a book which has Shakespeares sonnets in Spanish, as well as English! 

I love your story - that's perfect and exactly what I was talking about! I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day either- I don't need one day of the year to tell my boyfriend that I love him and it has become so commercialised. I tend to stay away from the commercial aspect and make things - like a photo album. Do you have a similar celebration in Pakistan? 

30 users have voted.
hadia's picture
hadia 5 March, 2017 - 06:13

Wow Ellen!
That's a cool idea to make a photo album. I really liked it.
Hm... Well, here in Pakistan, mostly people don't celebrate Valentine's Day. There's no celebration at all. Perhaps, some teenagers celebrate it. Or some married couples would confess again to each other. :))
This time, I was quite surprised. Because when I went around for a ride with my Family (on Valentine's day-not for the day actually) I saw some shops that were decorated with red balloons, stuffed know, Valentine's theme. That's because, we are Muslims, and we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. But I guess many young teens would even do. Just for enjoyment.

29 users have voted.
Jo - Coordinator's picture
Jo - Coordinator 20 February, 2017 - 11:43

HI Hadia, thanks sharing that. It sounds like a good read with a sweet ending! Please could you let us know who the author is? Thanks and best wishes, Joanna (LearnEnglish Teens team)

36 users have voted.
hadia's picture
hadia 20 February, 2017 - 12:38

Hi Jo! Thanks.
I read it online and the the author was Esha. She used her pen name as @ShutupandCoffee. That's what I know. No more. :)

27 users have voted.