Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sonnet IV

Sonnet IV is an Italian sonnet with a submissive, almost deject tone as the speaker expressed the unworthiness she felt next to her suitor. The entire sonnet is centered on comparisons between the life of the speaker and the life of her suitor, the “singer of high poems.” She is referring to him with reverence, placing him above herself. While she may write verse herself, his words are higher than hers. His entire lifestyle is higher than hers, his life characterized by a “palace” and hers characterized by “broken” and “desolation.” There are two possibilities for his verse being higher than hers. The first is simply that she feels unworthy in his presence. She thinks his poems are beautiful and poignant like “golden fullness”, attracting the attention of everyone around him. She cannot fathom why he would send his poems to a lonely, poor woman where they would go unheard and “unaware.” The other possibility could stem from his male gender and would look more at the comparisons of the two’s poetry rather than two’s lifestyles. As a male his verse is looked at with more respect and he can write whatever he feels, while she is limited in her speech due to her female gender. People yearn to listen to his poetry, “watching up thy pregnant lips for more” while she is sort of left in the dust.

The volta occurs after the first octet and the comparisons begin to focus more on the speaker and her suitor themselves, rather than the settings they come from and his prestige. She compares herself to a “cricket chirping against thy mandolin.” This metaphor seems to be the epitome of how she compares herself to him. A cricket’s chirp is not a unique sound; it blends into numerous other cricket’s chirping and one cricket is not identifiable from another. On the other hand, a mandolin is a stringed instrument that plays beautiful and unique melodious tunes. Her comparison creates a disheartening tone, as the speaker continues to beg her suitor to “call no echo up in further proof” or to ignore her ramshackle of a home and simple, pastoral lifestyle. The sonnet closes with even more melancholy as the speaker “weeps” to herself about her “alone, aloof” lifestyle in comparison to his prestigious life.

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