From "Remarks on the Shepherd's Calendar, etc.," The Works of Mr. Edmund Spenser by John Hughes (1715)

. . . the Sonnets, a Species of Poetry so entirely disus'd, that it seems to be scarce known among us at this time. Here again we find our Author [Spenser] copying the Italians. The Sonnet consists generally of one Thought, and that always turn'd in a single ~Stanza, of fourteen lines, of the Length of our Heroicks, the Rhime being interchang'd alternately; and in this it differs from the Canzone, which are not confin'd to any Number of Lines or Stanzas. The famous Petrarch is the Original of this kind of little Odes, and has fill'd a whole Book with them in honour of his Laura, with whom he was in Love, as himself tells us, for twenty one Years; and whose Death he lamented, with the same Zeal, for ten Years afterwards. The uncommon Ardor of his Passion, as well as the Fineness of his Wit and Language, establish'd him the Master of Love-Poetry among the Moderns. . . the Rule for this kind of Writings, which are only recommended by their natural Tenderness, Simplicity and Correctness. Most of Spenser's sonnets have this Beauty. Milton has writ some, both in Italian and English, and is, I think, the last who has given us any Example of them in our own Language.