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1 The Sonnet

2 The Sonnet Italian origin: The word sonnet comes from Italian sonetto, meaning "little sound" or "little song." Lyric poems 14 lines Iambic pentameter: U / U / U / U / U / Use of conceits: a metaphor that the poet usually extends and elaborates throughout the course of his poem. Poets chronicled stories of unrequited love in sonnet sequences, which were many sonnets tied together with the thread of narrative What is a sonnet? Before asking students to try to figure out these complex poems for themselves, teachers should outline the defining characteristics of the sonnet and its literary tradition. They may want to emphasize the following points: The word "sonnet" comes from Italian "sonetto," meaning "little sound" or "little song." The sonnet is a fourteen line poem. The sonnet was written in Iambic Pentameter (Each line contains ten syllables, five of which are usually stressed). (A mini-lesson in poetic metrics may be given to higher level students; For lower level students, it might be wise to skip this difficult concept.) Sonnets had to follow a set rhyme scheme. In the Renaissance, three rhyme schemes were popular (to be discussed later). Poets made use of conceits in their sonnets. A conceit is a kind of a metaphor that the poet usually extends and elaborates throughout the course of his poem. Sonnets are love poems. In the Renaissance, composing sonnets was a key part to the tradition of courtly love. A gentleman would write one of these poems to a particular young lady he wanted to impress. Since the sonnet was difficult to write (it had to adhere to strict rules in length, rhyming and metrics), it was sort of linguistic circus act a gentleman performed in service for his lover. In the tradition of courtly love, the heroine of the sonnet was usually out of reach, unattainable. Conventionally, the sonnet was a record of unrequited love. Poets chronicled stories of unrequited love in sonnet sequences, which were many sonnets tied together with the thread of narrative. The first sonnets were written in Italy in the Thirteenth Century. The most famous of the Italian sonneteers were Dante and Petrarch who wrote entire sonnet sequences in the Italian vernacular. The Italian sonnet was introduced into English poetry by Wyatt. In the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, English writers began to imitate their earlier Italian counterparts by writing sonnets in the English vernacular. The most important sonnet sequences written in English were written by Edmund Spenser (Amoretti , published in 1595), Sir Philip Sidney (Astrophel and Stella, published in 1582), and William Shakespeare (his untitled sequence of 154 sonnets was published in 1609). Thus, by the reign of Queen Elizabeth, sonnet production became the vogue for its aspiring writers Check out: Sonnet Central

3 Development of the Sonnet
The first sonnets were written in Italy in the Thirteenth Century. The most famous of the Italian sonneteers were Dante and Petrarch who wrote entire sonnet sequences in the Italian vernacular. The Italian sonnet was introduced into English poetry by Sir Thomas Wyatt. In the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, English writers began to imitate their earlier Italian counterparts by writing sonnets in the English vernacular. The most important sonnet sequences written in English were written by Edmund Spenser (Amoretti , published in 1595), Sir Philip Sidney (Astrophel and Stella, published in 1582), and William Shakespeare (his untitled sequence of 154 sonnets was published in 1609). By the reign of Queen Elizabeth, sonnet production became the vogue for its aspiring writers

4 English or Shakespearean
SONNETS Italian or Petrarchan Stanzas: Octave – first 8 lines: presents problem Sestet – last 6 lines: presents resolution of or meditation upon problem Rhyme: Octave – abba abba Sestet -- cdecde or cdccdc or cddcdd or variation English or Shakespearean Stanzas: 3 Quatrains – each presents similar images Heroic Couplet – presents a paradoxical resolution Rhyme: Quatrains – abab cdcd efef Couplet --gg

5 Dante Aligheri

6 Dante Aligheri Born in Florence to minor aristocracy, members of the Guelph party he belonged to the new poetic movement, which he named the Stilnovo (New Style) Involved on the losing side of Florentine politics in the struggles between the Geulphs and Ghibellines, he was exiled from Florence in 1303. Wrote both in Italian and Latin. Most famous Italian works (both dedicated to Beatrice): Vita Nuova (The New Life) Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy): Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradisio The historical period Dante lived in was the late Middle Ages, especially the XIV century. This century will see, just after Dante, the agony and death of the traditional Medieval culture, that is the one formed mainly by the influence of the Church, the Roman classical tradition and the German populations. Politically speaking, two were the auctoritates in the world: the Emperor and the Pope: the former represented the temporal power, the latter the religious power. In Italy, there was no political union, but the country was divided into many different town councils. The political parties were two: the Guelfi and the Ghibellini. The former ones were in favor of the Pope and the latter ones were in favor of the emperor. At the beginning of the XIV century, the Guelfi led most of the councils in Italy. In Florence, the Guelfo party split in two parts: the whites (bianchi, in favor of the Emperor) and the blacks (neri, in favor of the Pope). Dante was a white guelfo. The years around 1300 where the ones in which political fights between whites and blacks became stronger and more dramatic. In this period (especially between 1280 and 1310) a new poetical movement was born: the Stilnovo (the name, invented by Dante (see Purgatorio, XXIV, ll. 55–57) is the Italian for "new style"). It was really a new way to intend and to write poetry and was founded by Guido Guinizzelli (a poet who lived in Bologna) but widely diffused only in Tuscany, especially in Florence. The most important Stilnovo poets were Dante himself, his friend Guido Cavalcanti and Cino da Pistoia. This movement used the poetical art only to speak about love, to celebrate it. To do this, the Stilnovo poems were a deep analysis of the love feeling, even psychologically: the result is a sort of love theory. In this theory, love is seen as an absolute ideal, a sort of god, which is able to ennoble and save man; women are seen as angels, and often celebrated as examples of purity and virtue. So, the work of art must see the contents perfectly melted with the form: the poet has to use a precise and specific vocabulary and speak about love directly (they’re metaphorically seen as love’s scribes).

7 Stilnovo The use of poetry only to celebrate love.
Stilnovo poems were a deep analysis of love: the result is a sort of love theory. Love is seen as an absolute ideal, a sort of god, which is able to ennoble and save man Women are angelic and often celebrated as examples of purity and virtue. The contents must perfectly meld with the form: the poet has to use a precise and specific vocabulary Poets are considered love’s scribes.

8 Vita Nuova Anthology of Dante’s early poetry – sonnets and canzoniere – linked with a prose frame Chronicles his love for Beatrice, whom he first encountered when they were both nine years old. Nine years later she first greeted him, and Dante decided to begin praising her with his poems. With this work, finished just after Beatrice’s death, Dante exceeds Stilnovo ideals: at the end of his experience, Beatrice is no more the incarnation of a generic love-god, but is a tool of God’s will. He envisions her as the Beatrice of the Divina Commedia, who guides Dante towards God through Heaven The Vita Nuova is an anthology of Dante’s early poems collected together and linked with a frame in prose, which is also a comment on the poems. It’s divided into 42 chapters and is written in Italian language. The title means "new life" or better "life renewed by love". In fact this work is about Dante’s love for Beatrice (Bice di Folco Portinari); this love is described with the Stilnovo criterion and produces a spiritual renew in Dante. It is also a sort of poetical autobiography, which documents young Dante’s adhesion to Stilnovo ideals. The work begins with Dante’s first encounter with Beatrice, when she’s nine years old. Nine years later she will first greet him. From that moment on, Dante decides to begin praising her with his poems. He has many visions of her, which reveals him that she will prematurely die and she will ascend to Heaven. When it happens, Dante decides to stop writing poems about her until he will be able to write higher poetry. With this work, finished just after Beatrice’s death, Dante exceeds Stilnovo ideals: at the end of his experience, Beatrice is no more the incarnation of a generic love-god, but is a tool of God’s will (the Christian God). This will be the Beatrice of the Divina Commedia, who guides Dante towards God through Heaven

9 Poem XVI So many times there comes into my mind The dark condition Love bestows on me, That pity comes and often makes me say: "Could ever anyone have felt the same?" So forcefully and suddenly loves strikes That my life would all but abandon me Were it not for one last surviving spirit, Allowed to live because it speaks of you Hoping to help myself, I gather courage And pale, drawn, lacking all defense, I come to you expecting to be healed; But if I raise my eyes to look at you An earthquake starts at once within my heart And drives life out and stops by pulses' beat.

10 Poem XLI Beyond the sphere that makes the longest round, Passes the sigh which issues from my heart; A quickened understanding that sad Love Imparts to it keeps drawing it on high. When it has come to the desired place, It sees a lady held in reverence, And who shines so, that through her radiance The pilgrim spirit gazes upon her. It sees her so, that when it tells me this I cannot understand its subtle tale Spoken to the sad heart that makes it speak. I know it talks of that most gracious one, Because it often mentions Beatrice; This much, dear ladies, I well understand.

11 Francesco Petrarca

12 Francesco Petrarca Italian scholar, poet, and humanist, a major force in the development of the Renaissance, Famous for his poems addressed to Laura, an idealized beloved whom he met in 1327 and who died in 1348. The latter part of his life he spent in wandering from city to city in northern Italy as an international celebrity. Petrarch settled about 1367 in Padua Petrarch was regarded as the greatest scholar of his age. He wrote the majority of his works in Latin, although his sonnets and canzoni written in Italian were equally influential. francesco petrarca italian scholar, poet, and humanist, a major force in the development of the renaissance, famous for his poems addressed to laura, an idealized beloved whom he met in 1327 and who died in attempts have been made to identify her, but all that is known is that petrarch met laura in avignon, where he had entered the household of an influential cardidal. she is generally believed to have been the 19-year-old wife of hugues de sade. petrarch saw her first time in the church of saint claire. according to several modern scholars, it is possible that laura was a fictional character. however, she was a more realistically presented female character than in the conventional songs of the troubadours or in the literature of courtly love. petrarch was born in arezzo as the son of a notary who was expelled from florence by the black guelfs, who had seized power. also dante, born in florence, became at the same year a victim of political reprisals. petrarch spent much of his early life at avignon and carpentras. he studied at montpellier ( ) and moved to bologna, where he studied law in petrarch was primarly interested in writing and latin literature, sharing this passion with his friend giovanni boccaccio ( ), the writer of decameron. in avignon petrarch composed numerous sonnets which acquired popularity. in search for old latin classics and manucripts, he travelled through france, germany, italy, and spain. as a scholar and poet, petrarch soon grew famous, and in 1341 he was crowned as a poet laureate in rome. he was subsequently charged with various diplomatic missions. the latter part of his life he spent in wandering from city to city in northern italy as an international celebrity. petrarch settled about 1367 in padua, where he passed his remaining years in religious exercises. he died in arquà in the euganean hills on july 18, petrarch bequeathed to boccaccio a small sum of money for a new cloak. petrarch was regarded as the greatest scholar of his age. he wrote the majority of his works in latin, although his sonnets and canzoni written in italy were equally influential. petrarch was known as a devoted student of antiquity. he combined interest in classical culture and christianity and left deep influence on literature throughout western europe. a prolific correspondent, he wrote many important letters, and his critical spirit made him a founder of renaissance humanism. among petrarch's latin works are de viris illustribus, the epic poem africa, which has scipio africanus as its hero, the dialogue secretum, a debate with st. augustine, an rerum memorandarum libri, an incomplete treatise on the cardinal virtues, de remediis utriusque fortunae, his most popular latin prose work, itinerarium, a guide book to the holy land, and de sui ipsius et multorum ignorantia, against aristotelians. petrarch's sonnets: written and revised during the years between 1327 and canzoniere (song book) was inspired by the lady whom petrarch names laura, chronicling his first encounter with her at the age of 23. however, his love was not returned, her presence causes him unspeakable joy, and on the other hand it creates unendurable desires. there is no definite information concerning laura, exepth that she is lovely to look at, with golden hair, and her bearing is modest and dignified. upon her death, the poet finds that his grief is as difficult to live with as was his former despair.

13 Canzoniere: Petrarch’s Sonnets
Written and revised during the years between 1327 and 1374 in the Italian vernacular: considered, along with Dante’s Commedia, a landmark in Italian literature Canzoniere (song book) a collection of 366 lyrics (including sonnets, canzones, sestinas, ballads and madrigals), totaling the number of days in the yearly cycle, was inspired by the lady whom Petrarch names Laura. Although his love was not returned; her presence causes him unspeakable joy, and, on the other hand, it creates unendurable desires. There is no definite information concerning Laura, except that she is lovely, with golden hair, and her bearing is modest and dignified. Upon her death, the poet finds that his grief is as difficult to live with as was his former despair. Petrarch wrote the Canzoniere in the Italian vernacular rather than Latin. It was considered, along with Dante's Commedia a landmark in vernacular literature. The Canzoniere is a collection of 366 lyrics (including sonnets, canzones, sestinas, ballads and madrigals), totaling the number of days in the yearly cycle. The subject of this work is a singular--the praise of a woman named Laura. It is widely accepted among scholars that Laura was an actual person in Petrarch's life, perhaps a burgher's daughter, with whom the poet had fallen in love. The character of Laura is the model of the Troubadour heroine: blonde, blue-eyed and inaccessible until the end. The story of this sonnet sequence is bipartite: The first part deals with the poet's infatuation with Laura's beauty; the second part deals with the poet's reaction to her untimely death. The "Italian" or "Petrarchan" sonnet used an abbaabba cdcdcd rhyme scheme. In this form the poem was divided into two sections, an octave (the first eight lines) and a sestet (the last six lines). The shift from the octave to the sestet often marks a dramatic turn ("volta") in the poem.

14 Sonnet 90 She used to let her golden hair fly free For the wind to toy and tangle and molest; Her eyes were brighter than the radiant west. (Seldom they shine so now.) I used to see Pity look out of those deep eyes on me. ("It was false pity," you would now protest.) I had love's tinder heaped within my breast: What wonder that the flame burned furiously? She did not walk in any mortal way, But with angelic progress; when she spoke, Unearthly voices sang in unison. She seemed divine among the dreary folk Of earth. You say she is not so today? Well, though the bow's unbent, the wound bleeds on. Translated by Maurice Bishop

15 Translated by Maurice Bishop
Sonnet 181 Love made a snare, a beautiful device woven of gold and pearls, and this he laid twined in the grass, under the sorrowful shade of the laurel tree to which I sacrifice. Sweetmeats were strown therein, of greatest price, though bitter at the core. I took them unafraid. Ever unearthly-lovely music played, Unheard since Adam's hour in Paradise. The radiance of her eyes outdid the sun, transfiguring the earth in a holy blaze. Then with her ivory hand she twitched the rope! And so I fell in the net, and was undone Notes: In the ancient world a crown of laurels was the prize for literary greatness. In "sacrificing" (line 4) himself to this pursuit, the speaker is showing a tendency for "self-centeredness, self examination, and torturing introspection. His love for Laura turned his thought at least tempororaily outward, to an object outside himself" (Bishop,154). In this poem a trap of desire is set by Laura, to catch the speaker's attention. It also should be pointed out that Petrarch is obviously making a pun: the speaker is abandoning the pursuit of the "laurel" (poetic achievement) for a new inspiration, the lovely "Laura." Questions: How does the speaker describe the physical characteristics of Laura in this poem? (at least three details are required) by her angelic words, her darling ways; also by pleasure, by desire; by hope. Translated by Maurice Bishop

16 Petrarchan Conceits A conceit is a fanciful notion, generally expressed through an elaborate analogy or metaphor. From Petrarch, the sonneteers of the Renaissance took not only a conventional form but also conventional sentiments. The relation between the poet and his beloved is presented in terms of an idealized courtly love: the persona is a "humble servant" tossed by a tempest on the sea of despair, the beloved can wound with a glance her beauty is described in stereotypical fashion: her eyes sparkle, her complexion is ivory, her lips are ruby red, her hair is blonde, and her bearing is angelic. Shakespeare pokes great fun at such conventions with his "Sonnet 130: My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun."

17 William Shakespeare: CXXX My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red, than her lips red: If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound: I grant I never saw a goddess go, My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare, As any she belied with false compare.

18 Check out: The Makings of Literature in English:The Sonnet Tradition
English Sonnets In the court of Henry VIII, a group of poets arose who would make significant contributions to the development of English literature. Chief among these "courtly makers" were Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. With their translations of Petrarch's work, Wyatt and Surrey are responsible for introducing the sonnet form into English. Wyatt and Surrey also wrote their own sonnets in English, establishing a poetic form and a poetic tradition. Although its rules of order and arrangement are strict, the sonnet required the sort of discipline that prepared poets for more creative, original works. In polishing their own writing and technique, they also polished English as a fit language for poetic endeavors. Check out: The Makings of Literature in English:The Sonnet Tradition

19 Sir Thomas Wyatt Sir Thomas Wyatt. Sketch by Hans Holbein. The Royal Collection © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

20 Sir Thomas Wyatt Wyatt can be identified as the father of modern English poetry: with his translations from Petrarch the tradition in English begins. He uses typical Petrarchan conventions (the lover as a ship tossed on the seas of love; the lover alternately freezing and burning hot, among them]; His language and syntax are more difficult, making his sonnets a bit tougher to "crack." He generally translates from Italian models, which means his themes or issues don't usually originate with him; He generally follows the rhyme scheme abba cddc effe gg He often presents the two sides of love--physical and spiritual--but no union between them, which makes his work slightly different from the Petrarchan mold. Thomas Wyatt was born at Allington Castle in Kent, and educated at St John's College, Cambridge. While travelling as a diplomat for Henry VIII he developed his interest in Continental poetry; he was the first English poet to use the Italian forms of the sonnet and terza rima, and the French rondeau. His translation of the Penitential Psalms is based on a version by the Italian poet Pietro Aretino. In the course of his career Wyatt served his King Henry in a variety of offices, including those of Marshal of Calais, Sheriff of Kent and Ambassador to Spain, and he was also jailed several times. His first imprisonment, in 1534, was for brawling; two years later his relationship with the disgraced Anne Boleyn resulted in a short spell in the Tower of London. Thomas and Anne had been lovers before her marriage to Henry, and his sense of loss at their separation forms the subject of the famous sonnet 'Whoso List To Hunt'. Wyatt was restored to favour and knighted in 1537, and spent the next two years on his embassy to the court of Charles V of Spain. In 1540 however, his trusted patron Thomas Cromwell was executed, leaving him without an ally at court. The following year Wyatt was accused of treason by his enemies and imprisoned in the Tower once more. He managed to secure his own release but died of a fever soon afterwards.

21 My galley charged with forgetfulness     Through sharp seas in winter nights doth pass     'Tween rock and rock; and eke mine enemy, alas That is my lord, steereth with cruelness; And every oar a thought in readiness     As though that death were light in such a case.     An endless wind doth tear the sail apace Of forced sighs and trusty fearfulness. A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain     Hath done the wearied cords great hindrance,     Wreathed with error and eke with ignorance. The stars be hid that led me to this pain     Drowned is reason that should me comfort. Wyatt’s translation of Petrarch’s Sonnet 189

22 Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind, But as for me, alas, I may no more; The vain travail hath wearied me so sore, I am of them that furthest come behind. Yet may I by no means my wearied mind Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore Fainting I follow; I leave off therefore, Since in a net I seek to hold the wind. Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt, As well as I, may spend his time in vain. And graven with diamonds in letters plain, There is written her fair neck round about, "Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am, And wild for to hold, though I seem tame." Sir Thomas Wyatt Anne Boleyn

23 Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517?-1547)
Earl of Surrey by Hans Holbein, 1542

24 Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517?-1547)
Much of his verse handles the traditional Petrarchan theme of love, with typical Petrarchan conceits. He uses a natural imagery that is livelier and more "English" than that found in Petrarchan models; His language is often more "modern" than Wyatt's; thus, his meanings are often clearer; His rhymes are often "smoother" and easier than Wyatt's; His favorite rhyme scheme is 3 quatrains + a couplet: abab cdcd efef gg (with some variations); and He is fond of using the conceit of antithesis, a figure of speech characterized by strongly contrasting words, ideas, clauses, sentences. An example is "Man proposes, God disposes."

25 Alas, so all things now do hold their peace, Heaven and earth disturbed in no-thing; The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease, The nightes chair the stars about do bring. Calm is the sea: the waves work less and less; So am not I, whom love, alas, doth wring, Bringing before my face the great increase Of my desires, whereat I weep and sing In joy and woe as in a doubtful ease; For my sweet thoughts sometime do pleasure bring, But by and by the cause of my disease Gives me a pang that inwardly doth sting. When that I think what grief it is again To live and lack the thing should rid my pain. --Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, 1557

26 The soote season, that bud and bloom forth brings, With green hath clad the hill and eke the vale: The nightingale with feathers new she sings; The turtle to her make hath told her tale. Summer is come, for every spray now springs: The hart hath hung his old head on the pale; The buck in brake his winter coat he flings; The fishes fiete with new repairèd scale. The adder all her slough away she slings; The swift swallow pursueth the flies smale; The busy bee her honey now she mings; Winter is worn that was the flowers' bale. And thus I see among these pleasant things Each care decays, and yet my sorrow springs. --Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, 1557

27 Edmund Spenser ( )

28 Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) Spenserian sonnet: abab bcbc cdcd ee
Amoretti: “little loves” or “little cupids” Sonnet sequence celebrating the poet’s courtship and marriage to Elizabeth Boyle Portrays a happy and successful love

29 SONNET LXIV. Coming to kiss her lips, (such grace I found)   Me seemed I smelt a garden of sweet flowers:   that dainty odours from them threw around   for damsels fit to deck their lovers' bowers. Her lips did smell like unto Gillyflowers,   her ruddy cheekes, like unto Roses red:   her snowy brows like budded Bellamoures   her lovely eyes like Pinks but newly spread, Her goodly bosom like a Strawberry bed,   her neck like to a bunch of Cullambynes:   her breast like lillies, ere their leaves be shed,   her nipples like young blossomed Jessemynes, Such fragrant flowers do give most odorous smell,   but her sweet odour did them all excel. -- Edmund Spenser

30 Sir Philip Sidney ( )

31 Sir Philip Sidney ( ) Astrophel and Stella: sequence of 108 sonnets and 11 songs Charts unhappy love of Astrophel (“lover of a star”) for Stella (“star’) Stella identified with Penelope Rich Real relationship with Sidney unknown Petrarchan sonnets

32 SONNET XXXI With how sad steps, O Moone, thou climbst the skies! How silently, and with how wanne a face! What, may it be that even in heav'nly place That busie archer his sharpe arrowes tries? Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lovers case, I reade it in thy lookes: thy languist grace, To me that feele the like, thy state discries. Then, ev'n of fellowship, O Moone, tell me, Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit? Are beauties there as proud as here they be? Do they above love to be lou'd, and yet Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possesse? Do they call vertue there ungratefulnesse? . -- Sir Philip Sidney

33 William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Check out: The Amazing Website of Shakespeare’s Sonnets Shakespeare by Gerard Soest, c

34  XVIII Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed: But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st, Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st, So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.   This is one of the most famous of all the sonnets, justifiably so. But it would be a mistake to take it entirely in isolation, for it links in with so many of the other sonnets through the themes of the descriptive power of verse; the ability of the poet to depict the fair youth adequately, or not; and the immortality conveyed through being hymned in these 'eternal lines'. It is noticeable that here the poet is full of confidence that his verse will live as long as there are people drawing breath upon the earth, whereas later he apologises for his poor wit and his humble lines which are inadequate to encompass all the youth's excellence. Now, perhaps in the early days of his love, there is no such self-doubt and the eternal summer of the youth is preserved forever in the poet's lines. The poem also works at a rather curious level of achieving its objective through dispraise. The summer's day is found to be lacking in so many respects (too short, too hot, too rough, sometimes too dingy), but curiously enough one is left with the abiding impression that 'the lovely boy' is in fact like a summer's day at its best, fair, warm, sunny, temperate, one of the darling buds of May, and that all his beauty has been wonderfully highlighted by the comparison.

35 LXXIII That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. In me thou see'st the twilight of such day As after sunset fadeth in the west; Which by and by black night doth take away, Death's second self, that seals up all in rest. In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire, That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, As the death-bed, whereon it must expire, Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by. This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong, To love that well, which thou must leave ere long. The sonnet is the third in the group of four which reflect on the onset of age. It seems that it is influenced partly by lines from Ovid's Metamorphoses, in the translation by William Golding. However the verbal parallels are somewhat sparse. Shakespeare's presentation is much more individualistic and cannot easily be attributed to any one mould or influence. It is worth noting that, if the sonnet were written in 1600, Shakespeare would only have been 36, and it is quite probable that it was written before that date. An age that we would not consider to be the threshold of old age. Of course the group of four sonnets, of which this is the third, begins with a putative skirmish with death and finality, so that it is in a sense merely thematic within that group to discuss the autumn of one's years, which will shortly lead to parting and separation. We can therefore allow that it uses some poetic licence in painting a gloomy portrayal of the withered tree.

36 CXVI Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments
 CXVI Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark, That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. Although in former times this sonnet was almost universally read as a paean to ideal and eternal love, with which all readers could easily identify, adding their own dream of perfection to what they found within it, modern criticism makes it possible to look beneath the idealism and to see some hints of a world which is perhaps slightly more disturbed than the poet pretends. In the first place it is important to see that the sonnet belongs in this place, sandwiched between three which discuss the philosophical question of how love deceives both eye and mind and judgement, and is then followed by four others which attempt to excuse the poet's own unfaithfulness and betrayal of the beloved. Set in such a context it does of course make it appear even more like a battered sea-mark which nevetheless rises above the waves of destruction, for it confronts all the vicissitudes that have afflicted the course of the love described in these sonnets, and declares that, in the final analysis, they are of no account. 


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