Rather, I would argue that the coordinating conjunction "Yet" in line nine, like a volta in an Italian sonnet
to join the octave with the sestet, logically leads to a sharp contrast between the first part and the last part of the poem, giving it the overall effect of joining both.
One could say that the sonnets sent to the South African review were Miltonic for Anon, both by virtue of the form adhered to (Italian sonnet
: an octave followed by a sestet), and the reference to current political events.
The Italian sonnet
, on the other hand, forces poets to work within even stricter limitations.
Sulam's sonnets bridge multiple steams of influence--emulation of the magnificent Italian sonnet
tradition; echoes of Biblical Hebrew (particularly The Psalms); firm handling of early seventeenth-century poetic trends; and finally distinctive individual talent and style.
The Early Italian Sonnet
: The First Century (1220-1321).
Later on, the English writer and poet, William Shakespeare, evolved the Italian sonnet
into the then popular Shakespearean sonnet consisting of three rhyming quatrains and a couplet.
Ah, maybe that's it: the sestet, the last six lines of the Italian sonnet
form (lines 9-14) after the octave, which begin with a "turn," a change, in their first line.
It's the Italian sonnet
turned on its head: 14 lines of meter, not iambic but cardiac, diastolic, systolic.
Whitman's "sonnet," then, follows the bi-partite structure of the Italian sonnet
, and it is that structure that Whitman is borrowing, not such external markers of the form as a specific number of lines or a particular rhyme scheme.
Washington" opens with "The word is writ that he who runs may read," a strong statement as is characteristic of the Petrarchan form, and the octave is divided into quatrains, as is also common in the Italian sonnet
. The first quatrain is philosophical and focuses on what constitutes a meaningful life and what entitles one to fame, the second specifies Washington's roots and shows him as a Christ-like presence in the world.
The critic Charles Gayley's anatomy of the didactic structure of the Italian sonnet
is an instructive tool for reading Milton's sonnet: "The octave bears the burden; a doubt, a problem, a reflection, a query, an historical statement, a cry of indignation or desire, a vision of the ideal.
But it was mainly in adapting the prosody of the Italian sonnet
to Hebrew, successfully conveying its unique musicality, that Immanuel showed his deepest poetic insight and refinement.