A Dictionary of the English Language
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View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1882

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1882

So'nnet. n.s. [sonnet, French; sonnetto, Italian.]

  1. A short poem consisting of fourteen lines, of which the rhymes are adjusted by a particular rule. It is not very suitable to the English language, and has not been used by any man of eminence since Milton.

        A book was writ of late call'd Terachordon,
    And woven close, both matter, form, and stile;
    The subject new: it walk'd the town a-while,
        Numb'ring good intellects, now seldom por'd on:
        Cries the stall-reader, Bless us, what a word on
    A title-page is this! and some in file
    Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile—
        End-green. Why is it harder, sirs, than Gordon,
    Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
        Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek,
    That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp:
        Thy age like ours, soul of sir John Cheek,
    Hated not learning worse than toad or asp,
        When thou taught'st Cambridge and king Edward Greek.

  2. A small poem.

            Let us into the city presently,
    To sort some gentlemen well skill'd in musick;
    I have a sonnet that will serve the turn.

Sources: Milton, John (449) · Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona (41)

Attributes: French (385) · Italian (29) · Noun Substantive (1269)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Sonnet." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 24, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/sonnet/.

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