Tennyson's Sonnet

The Kraken has been described as one of Tennyson's few "good" sonnets, in spite of it possessing fifteen lines. With a rhyme scheme of, a1. b. a2. b. c. d. d. c. e. f. e. a2. a1. f. e. it would appear to follow the Italian pattern rather than the English which concludes with a couplet. It's argued the sestet was changed to a septet to emphasise the enormity of the beast.

The Kraken

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson





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