Essay on Love Sonnets by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Philip Sidney

Essay on Love Sonnets by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Philip Sidney

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Love is a difficult thing to express in words in any given language. It is near impossible to convey the paradoxical pain and pleasure of love that sounds dreadfully horrid but simultaneously magical. Most people are often confused and have a hard time figuring and sorting out exactly how they feel and felt about their love and relationship. However, to love someone or be loved by someone is a special gift, and to be able to convey your gratitude for whatever you received out of the relationship is an extremely intense and concentrated task.

Poetry is one of the best ways to express oneself sincerely. With the time and convections that go into writing poetry, it allows the reader to think of exactly what he or she desires to say, and then allows them to craft and sculpt it in a manner the writer sees fit. The form into which a poet puts his or her words is always something of which the reader ought to take conscious note.

Many love poems are written in the form of a sonnet. A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines in iambic pentameter with a complex rhyme scheme. In the English sonnet, the rhyme scheme is abba abba cddc ee, leaving to the poet’s discretion the choice of whether to form the lines into an octave, turn, and then sestet, three quatrains and an ending couplet, or any other pattern of lines imaginable.

When poets have chosen to work within such a strict form, that form and its structures make up part of what they want to say. In other words, the poet is using the structure of the poem as part of the language act: we will find the "meaning" not only in the words, but partly in their pattern as well.

Both Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder and Sir Philip Sidney were English poets of the renaissance. They were both courtier poets who wrote many sonnets about love and the unsettled course of relationships. In Wyatt’s “Farewell, Love” and Sidney’s “Leave Me, O Love,” one can see many similarities and some differences in their writing. Language, theme, tone, and other important aspects of the poem reflect such similarities and differences among the two poets’ works.

Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder uses the structure of the sonnet to his advantage. He uses the octave, turn, and then sestet in “Farewell, Love.” Although he did not make the breaks in between the lines to actually show the reader, one can get the feel of them simply by reading the poem. T...


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...to move from line to line without much haste except for the given punctuation. It also gives a more placid sound to the sonnet, leaving out harsher sounds like those found in “Leave Me, O Love.” In “Leave Me, O Love,” Sidney uses a lot of harder sounds like hard Ts and Es, which give a lot more emphasis to the endings of each of the lines along with the already given hard punctuations like periods and semi-colons. This gives the sonnet a harder feel and sound than the other, with coincides with the different tones and messages of the two. The softer sound goes with the softer peaceful message of “Farewell, Love,” while the harder sounds of “Leave Me, O Love” go with its more dramatic and stronger message.

     Sir Thomas Wyatt the Elder and Sir Philip Sidney were both wonderful craftsmen of the sonnet. With careful skill and attention to spacing, emphasis, and detail, they both managed to create some of the best love sonnets to date. Though they are similar in some ways, and contrasting in others, each writer managed to construct their own unique sonnet with appropriate form, fitting language, and a unique idea on how to express an emotion or interpretation of love within it.

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