The Best Sonnets

in the English language

The word 'sonnet' is derived from the the Italian word sonetto, meaning a little song. As originally conceived the sonnet was a highly stylised 14-line poem written in iambic pentameter, known as the Petrarchan sonnet. Introduced in England in the Sixteenth Century, Shakespeare modified the rhyming scheme to create what is known as the Shakespearean sonnet. Over the centuries poets have chosen to further vary the form, but quintessentially it is "a moment's monument", as Dante Gabriel Rossetti described it. Here are some of the best in the English language: