Bowlesian Sonnet Notes

Created by: William Lisle Bowles
Meter: Iambic pentameter or decasyllabic
Structure: Three quatrains and a couplet
Rhyme Scheme: abba cddc effe gg

Example: On hearing the Bells at Sea by William Lisle Bowles

How sweet the tuneful bells’ responsive peal!
As when at opening dawn the fragrant breeze
Touches the trembling sense of pale disease,
So piercing to my heart their force I feel.
And hark! with lessening cadence now they fall,
And now along the white and level tide
They fling their melancholy music wide;
Bidding me many a tender thought recall
Of summer days, and those delightful years
When by my native streams, in life’s fair prime,
The mournful magic of their mingling chime
First waked my wondering childhood into tears!
But seeming now, when all those days are o’er,
The sounds of joy once heard and heard no more

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