The Love And Lyrical Poetry Essay

The Love And Lyrical Poetry Essay

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Wyatt’s poetry has often been praised for its elegant style and intricate rhythm, his genius being described as a moral and didactic species. His love and lyrical poetry are described in the twentieth century as anticipating the metaphysical poets that would follow him in literary tradition. A significant amount of Wyatt’s poetry, particularly his sonnets, was adapted through translations of the Italian poet Petrarch’s work. However, despite taking the majority of his subject matter from Petrarch, he made substantial departures from his ‘source’ in his rhyme scheme and discussion of emotions and the female form. Many of his poems deal in the trials of courtly, romantic love; often featuring a tormented suitor pursuing an unavailable or cruel mistress. This attitude towards women and courtly love makes him one of the originators of the convention in love poetry in which the mistress is painted in poor light and focus is brought to her negative attributes, often viewing her as cold-hearted and vicious. Two poems in particular that Wyatt drew especially from Petrarch are ‘I find no peace’ and ‘Whoso list to hunt’, taking from Pace non trovo and Una candida cerva, respectively. In addition to these two poems, I will also be studying ‘Farewell, Love’ and ‘They flee from me’, both poems in which Wyatt demonstrates both his technical skill and allows him to explore his emotional response to courtly romance.

As Baldi suggests, Wyatt’s poetry did not ‘linger’ over ‘glimpses’ of his lady’s beauty, as Petrarch’s poetry before him had done. Wyatt often tended toward using extended metaphors to describe the ‘mistress’ of the poem, most commonly likening them to animals. In ‘They flee from me’, Wyatt describes the women who used to visit him ...


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...ted miniatures, and the lack of the pictorial in his poetry. Illuminated miniatures were drawings that were used to frame poetry in the renaissance period and earlier, and Wyatt’s lack thereof demonstrates his simple style, but complex meaning. Even in his focus upon women, Wyatt does not merely describe the ‘glimpses’ of his lady’s beauty, but chooses to depict a mistress that is not always kind and delicate. Many of the women depicted in Wyatt’s poetry are not described, only their actions are record. Still, ‘Whoso list to hunt’ does not focus so much on the beautiful appearance of the deer, but upon the detail that she is ‘owned’ by another man, and this is the cause of the speaker’s pointless anguish. The ‘pointlessness’ of love is also asserted in ‘Farewell, Love’, in which the speaker rejects love and assails its ‘tangled boughs’ which had captured him in love.

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