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The sonnet, being a distinct kind of poem, demands separate treatment, and is therefore not dealt with here as a mere fourteen-line stanza. Besides, its nature and construction are so complex, and it occupies at the present time such an important and popular part in our poetic literature, that a more detailed account of its position in verse seems desirable.
The form of the sonnet is of Italian origin, and came into use in the fifteenth century, towards the end of which its construction was perfected, and its utmost melodious sweetness attained in the verse of Petrarch and Dante. In the perfect Italian type it consists of fourteen decasyllabic lines, which are divided into two unequal groups of eight and six lines, the former the octave, the latter the sestet. The octave is made up of two quatrains, and the sestet of two tercets. The rhymes through­out are unequally blended, and in the normal type are rigidly adhered to, their arrangement being based upon well-tested laws of melody. In the octave only two rhymes are admissible, one for the first, fourth, fifth and eighth lines, the other for the second, third, sixth, and seventh. The tercet