Richard Watson Gilder

(1844-1909 / the United States)

What Is A Sonnet?

Poem by Richard Watson Gilder

What is a sonnet? 'Tis the pearly shell
That murmurs of the far-off murmuring sea;
A precious jewel carved most curiously;
It is a little picture painted well.
What is a sonnet? 'Tis the tear that fell
From a great poet's hidden ecstasy;
A two-edged sword, a star, a song- Ah me!
Sometimes a heavy-tolling funeral bell.
This was the flame that shook with Dante's breath;
The solemn organ whereon Milton played,
And the clear glass where Shakespeare's shadow falls:
A sea this is- beware who ventureth!
For like a fjord the narrow floor is laid
Mid-ocean deep to the sheer mountain walls.

Topic(s) of this poem: poem


Comments about What Is A Sonnet? by Richard Watson Gilder

  • Jagdish Singh RamánaJagdish Singh Ramána (3/16/2020 10:42:00 PM)

    Very useful information in poetic lines. Beautiful imagery holding the exact meaning of Sonnet.(Report)Reply

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  • Sylvia Frances ChanSylvia Frances Chan (4/19/2019 9:19:00 AM)

    I like ALL LINES you created here, such fascinating words in all 14 lines. I have enjoyed a very lot reading this time and again. Sheer poetry in honour of The Sonnet. Thank you. Richard.(Report)Reply

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  • Sylvia Frances ChanSylvia Frances Chan (4/19/2019 9:15:00 AM)

    A SONNET is as exactly as you have described here in your own Sonnet,14 lines and each line ten syllables.
    That's it. About the story, the content, you can explain and write as long as you wish, only in the end on the 14th line, you have to have a well told poem. The 14th line is the final. Thank you for sharing this lovely 14 liners, so sweetest uttered.. Shakespeare was the founder of the sonnet. God's Blessings. A 10++++++++++++++++++++(Report)Reply

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  • Aniruddha PathakAniruddha Pathak (1/26/2019 11:03:00 PM)

    What is a sonnet? 'Tis the pearly shell
    That murmurs of the far-off murmuring sea;
    'Tis the tear that fell
    From a great poet's hidden ecstasy;
    A beautiful piece that chanced upon.,
    and refreshing reading in a long time.
    Thanks for sharing.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Tinashe Mupedzapasi (8/21/2018 1:30:00 AM)

    What is a sonnet? 'Tis the tear that fell
    From a great poet's hidden ecstasy;

    i love this line...wonderful(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kumarmani MahakulKumarmani Mahakul (4/14/2015 8:02:00 AM)

    Very much informative on sonnet. Wonderfully drafted and shared really. Nice job done.10.(Report)Reply

    Souren MondalSouren Mondal(2/8/2016 11:02:00 PM)

    I agree...

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015