The Heroic Sonnet departs from the quatorzain and stretches the verse for eighteen lines which could put into question whether or not it is a true sonnet. But, John Donne’s The Token “sings” with the best of sonnets and convinced me this verse form easily qualifies. This longer sonnet form dates back to 16th century England.
The Heroic Sonnet is:
• metric, iambic pentameter.
• a poem in 18 lines made up of 4 alternate rhymed quatrains and ending with a rhymed heroic couplet.
• rhymed, rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef ghgh ii
• composed without designated arrival of the pivot, but the poem is summarized and concluded by the ending couplet.
Note dear friends: The Heroic Sonnet is the only 18 line poem I found.
The Token by John Donne (1572-1631)
Send me some token, that my hope may live,
Or that my easeless thoughts may sleep and rest;
Send me some honey to make sweet my hive,
That in my passions I may hope the best.
I beg no ribbon wrought with thine own hands,
To knit our loves in the fantastic strain
Of new-touched youth; nor ring to show the stands
Of our affection, that as that’s round and plain,
So should our loves meet in simplicity;
No, nor the corals which thy wrist enfold,
Laced up together in congruity,
To show our thoughts should rest in the same hold;
No, nor thy picture, though most gracious,
And most desired, because best like the best;
Nor witty lines, which are most copious,
Within the writings which thou hast addressed.
Send me nor this, nor that, to increase my store,
But swear thou think’st ‘I love thee,’ and no more.
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