Sonnets - the language of love?
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.