Verse > Anthologies > Seccombe and Arber, eds. > An English Garner > Elizabethan Sonnets
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Seccombe and Arber, comps.  Elizabethan Sonnets.  1904.
 
Introduction
VII. The Zenith of the Sonneteering Vogue in Elizabethan England—Daniel and Constable
 
Before Sidney and Watson had laid down their pens, and before the vogue of the quatorzain had completed its conquest of England, there emerged in a very low rank of the literary hierarchy a writer of English sonnets, whose grotesque rusticity and plagiaristic habit were curious omens for the future. In 1584 there was printed a volume entitled ‘Pandora. The Musyque of the beautie of his Mistresse Diana. Composed by John Soothern, Gentleman, and dedicated to the ryght honorable Edward Deuer, Earle of Oxenforde, etc.’ 1 In discordant doggerel, and in a vocabulary freely strewn with French words and idioms, this writer composed a series of sonnets, odes, and ‘odellets,’ which were translated with an unsurpassable crudity from the French of Ronsard. Soothern’s ‘Diana’ is avowedly Ronsard’s ‘Cassandre’ or ‘Astrée.’ He declares himself a close observer of Ronsard’s worship of ‘an Astre divine.’ The eulogies which the French poet bestows on Henry II. of France and his courtiers, Soothern transfers without qualification to his patron, the Earl of Oxford. Ronsard’s recurring boasts that his pen is capable of making his patrons immortal are absorbed in Soothern’s verse with grotesque effect. Soothern affects to emulate the example of Ovid and Petrarch as well as of Ronsard. Pindar and Anacreon were, he pretends, also among his masters. But there is very little in his uncouth writing which is not the original property of the French poet. It was probably only in Ronsard’s adaptations that he studied Greek. Such rustic lines as
        ‘Vaunt us that never man before,
Now in England, knewe Pindar’s string.’
are merely Soothern’s grotesque rendering of Ronsard’s boast—
        ‘Le premier de France
J’ai Pindarisé.’
(Ronsard, Odes, Book ii. Ode 2.)    
  1
  The brutality with which Soothern ravaged Ronsard’s sonnets admits of endless illustration. The following parallelism is typical:—

        
Pandora, Sonnet iv.
  
When Nature made my Diana, that before
All other nymphes should force the hearts rebellant,
She gave her the masse of beauties excellent,
That she keepe since long, in her coffers in store.
  
RONSARD, Amours, Bk. I. Sonnet ii.
  
  Nature ornant la dame qui devoit
De sa douceur forcer les plus rebelles,
Lui fit présent des beautez les plus belles,
Que dès mille ans en espargne elle avoit.
  2
 
  A contemporary English critic, Puttenham, in his Arte of English Poesie, writing in 1589 in ignorance of the exalted English poetry that the near future had in store, blindly credited this halting English sonneteer with ‘reasonable good facility in translation.’ But the critic at the same time justly complained of his impudent thefts from Ronsard. 2 The episode of Soothern’s strangely contrived robberies is merely of value as a straw denoting the quarter from which the wind was about to blow in full blast on the Elizabethan sonnet.  3
  With 1591, the date of the publication (although not of the composition) of Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, the sonneteering rage opened in England in earnest. Between that date and 1597 amorous sequences came from the printing presses of London in a continuous stream. Many of the writers acknowledged that they emulated Sidney’s example. Of discipleship to him they made repeated boast; but their imitative temper did not restrict them to so narrow a field of study. Most of them pitched their tents in France, making occasional excursions into Italy. All worshipped at the shrine of Petrarch, but they were often content with second or third-hand knowledge of his achievement. Ariosto and Tasso were at times more immediate sources of inspiration; but the most popular of the French sonneteers, notably Ronsard and Desportes, were the masters who boasted the largest following. The names which the Elizabethans bestowed on their sonnet-sequences were invariably borrowed from France. ‘Delia,’ ‘Diana,’ ‘Idea,’ all did duty as titles of French collections of love-poetry before they were enlisted in the like service in Elizabethan England. The Elizabethans rang bold changes on the conventional phrases and sentiments to which the French tongue introduced them. They quickly proved that Soothern’s clumsy endeavour was a crude freak, and that theft from France could be made with grace and dexterity. The frigid conceits were not always literally produced; they were at times amplified with a good deal of ingenuity, and were clothed in warmer tones. But they rarely bore any trace of genuine passion or substantive originality. The Elizabethan sonnet, as it multiplied, travelled further and further from personal emotion or experience.  4
  Samuel Daniel may be reckoned Sidney’s first successor on the throne of Elizabethan sonneteers. The adventurous publisher Newman issued piratically twenty-eight sonnets by Daniel at the end of his unauthorised edition of Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella. In self-defence Daniel published on his own account a collection of fifty-five sonnets to which he gave the general title Delia. 3  5
  Daniel pretends to be a follower of Petrarch, although at a long interval. His ‘attire,’ he says, is ‘base’ compared with the great master’s. His ‘pen’ cannot achieve the same ‘consistent style.’ He tells his poetic mistress that, ‘thou, a Laura, hast no Petrarch found’ (Sonnet xxxviii.), yet he hopes that his affections are not inferior to Petrarch’s in warmth. This precise form of self-depreciation is a convention of the French sonneteers of the Pléiade, and serves as a warning that Daniel’s claim of discipleship to Petrarch should not be taken too literally. Du Bellay had lately written in a sonnet which was probably the foundation of Daniel’s:—
        ‘Mais je n’ay pas ceste divine grace,
Ces hauts discours, ces traits ingénieux
Qu’avoit Pétrarque, et moins audacieux,
Mon vol aussi tire une aile plus basse.’ 4
  6
  There is a likelihood that Daniel was better read in the later Italian poetry which was produced in his own lifetime than in the Italian poetry of Petrarch. The verses entitled ‘The Description of Beauty,’ the last of three poems which he appended to his collected sonnets, are honestly described as ‘translated out of Marino.’ With a more characteristic secrecy Daniel failed to disclose that the immediately preceding ‘Pastoral’ was a literal rendering of a song or ‘choro’ in Tasso’s recently published pastoral play of Aminta. 5  7
  But on the whole the signs of French influence in Daniel’s sonnets are far greater than those of Italian influence. It was not Daniel’s ordinary custom to adapt Italian poetry at first hand. Reminiscences of Petrarch undoubtedly abound in Daniel’s sonnets, but they prove on examination to be borrowed from the adaptations of Petrarch’s work by recent French disciples. Nor did he disdain recourse to the original work of French writers, especially Ronsard and Du Bellay. 6 From the work of the former he clearly drew those pathetic sonnets in which he prophetically describes the havoc that old age will work upon his strength and his mistress’s beauty. To the example of Ronsard must be assigned, too, Daniel’s insistence on his belief that his verses have the power of immortalising those whom they celebrate. That conceit spread from classical literature through the whole of Renaissance poetry. But Ronsard was mainly responsible for its universal vogue among the Elizabethan sonneteers. 7  8
  But the French contemporary Desportes, of all foreign writers, is Daniel’s most conspicuous creditor. It is to the French renderings of Petrarch’s poetry by Desportes that Daniel’s sonnet-sequence is at nearly all points indebted. The student of Petrarch will often detect a resemblance between the Italian text and Daniel’s words, but will recognise at the same time variations in the English sonnet which he might easily be misled into assigning to the invention of the English poet. A reference to Desportes’ adaptation of the same poem of Petrarch is needed to explain the situation. Daniel borrowed from Desportes the latter’s version of the Italian, occasionally changing the French phraseology, but more often exhibiting a servility that a nice literary morality could hardly justify.  9
  The evidence on this point is conclusive. Daniel’s Sonnets xv. and xxxii. closely reflect Petrarch’s Sonnets xxxvii. and clxxxviii. In the first, Petrarch reproaches Laura’s looking-glass with absorbing her interests; in the second, he generally deplores the misery which comes of his loyalty to his mistress. 8 Daniel worked alone on Desportes’ renderings of the Italian.

        
DANIEL, Delia, XXXII.
  
Why doth my mistress credit so her glass
  Gazing her beauty, deigned her by the skies?
  And doth not rather look on him, alas!
  Whose state best shows the force of murdering eyes.
The broken tops of lofty trees declare
  The fury of a mercy-wanting storm;
  And of what force your wounding graces are,
  Upon myself, you best may find the form.
Then leave your glass, and gaze yourself on me!
  That mirror shows the power of your face:
  To admire your form too much may danger be,
  Narcissus changed to flower in such a case.
I fear your change! not flower nor hyacinth;
Medusa’s eye may turn your heart to flint.
  
DESPORTES, Les Amours D’Hippolyte, XVII.
  
Pourquoy si folement croyez-vous à un verre,
  Voulant voir les beautez que vous avez des cieux?
  Mirez-vous dessus moy pour les connoistre mieux,
Et voyez de quels traits vostre bel œil m’enferre.
Un vieux chesne ou un pin, renversez contre terre,
  Monstrent combien le vent est grand et furieux:
  Aussi vous connoistrez le pouvoir de vos yeux,
Voyant par quels efforts vous me faites la guerre.
Ma mort de vos beautez vous doit bien asseurer,
  Joint que vous ne pouvez sans peril vous mirer:
  Narcisse devint fleur d’avoir veu sa figure.
Craignez doncques, madame, un semblable danger,
  —Non de devenir fleur, mais de vous voir changer,
Par vostre œil de Méduse, en quelque roche dure.
  
DANIEL, Delia, XV.
  
If a true heart and faith unfeigned;
  If a sweet languish with a chaste desire;
  If hunger-starven thoughts so long retained,
  Fed but with smoke, and cherished but with fire:
And if a brow with Care’s characters painted:
  Bewray my love, with broken words have spoken,
  To her which sits in my thoughts’ temple, sainted:
  And lay to view my vulture-gnawen heart open:
If I have wept the day and sighed the night,
  While thrice the sun approached his northern bound;
  If such a faith hath ever wrought aright,
  And well deserved, and yet no favour found.
Let this suffice; the whole world it may see,
The fault is hers, though mine the most hurt be.
  
DESPORTES, Les Amours de Diane, I. 8.
  
Si la foy plus certaine en une ame non feinte,
  Un desir temeraire, un doux languissement,
  Une erreur volontaire, et sentir vivement,
Avec peur d’en guarir, une profonde atteinte;
Si voir un pensée au front toute dépeinte,
  Une voix empeschée, un morne estonnement,
  De honte ou de frayeur naissans soudainement,
Une pasle conleur, de lis et d’amour teinte;
Bref, si se mespriser pour une autre adorer,
  Si verser mille pleurs, si toujours soupirer,
  Faisant de sa douleur nourriture et breuvage;
Si, loin estre de flamme, et de pres tout transi,
  Sont cause que je meurs par defaut de mercy,
  L’offense en est sur vous, et sur moy le dommage.
  10
 
  Another example of Daniel’s relations with Desportes may be quoted as an effective illustration of his ingenuity as a translator. 9

        
DANIEL, Delia, XXXIII.
  
Once may I see, when years may wreck my wrong,
  And golden hairs may change to silver wire:
  And those bright rays (that kindle all this fire),
Shall fail in force, their power not so strong.
Her beauty, now the burden of my song,
  Whose glorious blaze the world’s eye doth admire,
  Must yield her praise to tyrant Time’s desire;
  Then fades the flower, which fed her pride so long.
When, if she grieve to gaze her in her glass,
  Which then presents her winter-withered hue,
  Go you my verse! go tell her what she was!
  For what she was, she best may find in you.
Your fiery heat lets not her glory pass,
But Phœnix-like to make her live anew.
  
DESPORTES, Les Amours de Cleonice, LXII.
  
Je verray par les ans, vengeurs de mon martire,
  Que l’or de vos cheveux argenté deviendra,
  Que de vos deux soleils la splendeur s’esteindra,
Et qu’il faudra qu’Amour tout confus s’en retire.
La beauté qui, si douce, à présent vous inspire,
  Cedant aux lois du tans, ses faveurs reprendra;
  L’hyver de vostre teint les fleurettes perdra,
Et ne laissera rien des thresors que j’admire.
Cet orgueil desdaigneux qui vous fait ne m’aimer,
  En regret et chagrin se verra transformer,
  Avec le changement d’une image si belle,
Et peut estre qu’alors vous n’aurez déplaisir
  De revivre en mes vers, chauds d’amoureux désir,
  Ainsi que le phénix au feu se renouvelle.
  11
 
  A fourth instance may be cited in which Daniel, while following Desportes at no great interval, yet contrives somewhat greater changes in the phraseology. 10

        
DANIEL, Delia, IX. (1592 edition).
  
If this be Love, to draw a weary Breath,
  To paint on Floods, till the Shore cry to th’ Air;
  With downward Looks, still reading on the Earth
These sad Memorials of my Love’s Despair:
If this be Love to war against my Soul,
  Lie down to wail, rise up to sigh and grieve;
  The never-resting Stone of Care to roll;
  Still to complain my Griefs, whilst none relieve.
If this be Love to cloath me with dark Thoughts,
  Haunting untrodden paths to wail apart;
  My Pleasure’s Horror, Musick Tragick Notes;
  Tears in mine Eyes, and Sorrow at my Heart.
If this be Love, to live a Living Death;
Then do I love, and draw this weary breath.
  
DESPORTES, Les Amours de Diane, I. xxix.
  
Si c’est aimer que porter bas la vue
  Que parler bas, que soupirer souvant,
  Que s’égarer solitaire en rêvant,
Brûlé d’un feu qui point ne diminue;
Si c’est aimer que de peindre en la nue,
  Semer sur l’eau, jetter ses cris au vant,
  Chercher la nuict par le soleil levant,
Et le soleil quant la nuict est venue;
Si c’est aimer que de ne s’aimer pas,
  Hair sa vie, embrasser son trespas,
  Tous les amours sont campez en mon ame;
Mais nonobstant, si me puis-je louer
  Qu’il n’est prison, ny torture, ny flame,
  Qui mes desirs me sçeust fair avouer.
  12
 
  Probably the best known of all Daniel’s sonnets is the finely phrased appeal to
        ‘Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born.’
  13
  This is again for the most part a mere adaptation from Desportes (Amours d’Hippolyte, lxxv.):—
        ‘Sommeil, paisible fils de la nuict solitaire,…
O frère de la mort, que tu m’es ennemy!’
  14
  Even the epithet ‘care-charmer’ is borrowed. It renders the conventional chasse-soin, which is commonly applied to sleep (sommeil) by French sonneteers. 11  15
  Sleep was, indeed, one of the most constant themes of French poetry of the epoch. Daniel was only one of a number of Elizabethans who applied to the topic the phraseology and imagery which prevailed in France. But his handling of it especially impressed the Elizabethan public, and was itself a fruitful parent of later English imitations. Bartholomew Griffin boldly plagiarised Daniel, when in his sonnet-sequence of Fidessa (No. xv.) he penned an address to ‘Care-charmer sleep,’ ‘brother of quiet death.’ So endless is the chain which links sonneteer to sonneteer in the sixteenth century.  16
  The imitative habit of Daniel’s Muse renders it unnecessary to inquire, with former critics, into the precise identity of the lady to whom he affected to inscribe his sonnet miscellany. Delia is a mere shadow of a shadow—a mere embodiment of what Petrarch wrote of Laura, and Ronsard wrote of Marie, and the other ladies of his poetic fancy. To Petrarch ultimately belong such lines by Daniel as these which have hitherto been mistaken for an attempt at a portrait from the life:—
        ‘Chastity and Beauty, which were deadly foes,
Live reconcilèd friends within her brow.’ 12
(Sonnet vi.)    
The theory that the hazy features of this phantom of Italian and French poetry were drawn directly from a lady residing in the west of England, whose home was on the banks of a river Avon, possibly that in Wiltshire, hardly merits discussion. There is no reason to quarrel with the suggestion that Daniel may have been acquainted with a lady dwelling by the Avon. He resided in the part of the country through which the Wiltshire Avon runs. Accordingly he wrote:—
        ‘Avon, poor in fame, and poor in waters,
Shall have my song, where Delia hath her seat.’
(Sonnet liii.)    
  17
  But the example of Petrarch and his French imitators made it obligatory for sonneteers to apostrophise rivers of their acquaintance. Sidney had lately addressed a sonnet to the Thames. ‘Avon shall be my Thames’ echoed Daniel (Sonnet liii.) by way of friendly emulation. Anxiety to conform at all points to the sonneteering fashions of his day at home and abroad, was Daniel’s dominating impulse. His Delia does not admit of examination from any more human point of view.  18
  Despite the lack of originality, Daniel’s sonnets enjoyed vast popularity. Spenser lauded their ‘well tuned song.’ 13 ‘The sweet-tuned accents’ of ‘Delian sonnetry’ rang, according to another admirer, through the whole country. 14 Their influence is especially perceptible in the sonnet-sequence called Diana, by Henry Constable, which came from the press immediately after the appearance of Delia—in the autumn of 1592.  19
  Constable’s rare volume contains only twenty-three poems. It was licensed for the press 22nd September 1592, and its full title ran: ‘Diana, the praises of his Mistres in certaine sweete Sonnets, by H. C.’ (London, Printed by I. C. for Richard Smith, 1592.) 15 The publisher, Richard Smith, reissued the collection with very numerous additions in 1594. That reissue is a typical publishing venture of the age. The new title ran: ‘Diana, or, The Excellent conceitful Sonnets of H. C. augmented with divers Quatorzains of honourable and learned personages. Divided into VIII. Decades.’ With this miscellany Constable had small concern.  20
  The printer, James Roberts, and the publisher, Richard Smith, who supplied dedications respectively to the reader and to Queen Elizabeth’s ladies-in-waiting, had swept together sonnets in manuscripts from all quarters, and presented their customers with a disordered assembly of what they called ‘orphan poems.’ Besides the twenty-three sonnets which Constable claimed for himself in the original edition, the new issue contained eight by Sir Philip Sidney. Seventy-six sonnets were included in all; the ‘honourable and learned personages,’ to whom the remaining forty-one quatorzains belonged, were not indicated, and have not been positively identified.  21
  Apart from internal evidence, the Franco-Italian spirit of Constable’s work is betrayed, both by the general title Diana, which is directly borrowed from Desportes’ chief sonnet-sequence, and by the Italian words—sonetto primo, sonetto secundo, and so forth—which form the headlines of each poem in the authentic issue. Echoes of Sidney, Watson, and Daniel mingle with the foreign voices. Constable’s 3rd Decade, Sonnet i., on his mistress’s sickness, shows the influence of Astrophel and Stella (Sonnet ci.), as well as of Petrarch’s lamentations on Laura’s failing health (Sonnets cciii., cxcv., cxcvii.). The sorrow which the sonneteer affects at the waywardness of his mistress usually paraphrases Ronsard—at times clumsily and unimpressively.
        ‘Unhappy day, unhappy month, and season
When first proud love, (my joys away adjourning)
(Decade V. Sonnet viii.),    
is an awkward rendering of Ronsard’s lines—
        ‘Heureux le jour, l’an, le mois et la place,
L’heure et le temps, où vos yeux m’ont tué.
(Amours, Book. I. cxi.)    
  22
  Most of the familiar conceits—how the lady’s lips make the roses red (Decade I. Sonnet ix.), 16 how the eye and heart accuse each other of causing love’s wounds (Decade VI. Sonnet vii.), how verse has the faculty of immortalising its hero or heroine (Decade VIII. Sonnet iv.)—reappear with due precision. Obedient to convention, Constable likens Diana to sun, moon, and stars (Decade VI. Sonnet i.), and when he complains of the wounds with which Love’s arrows have tortured his heart, he follows the old French poet Melin de St. Gelais in comparing his state with that of Saint Francis. 17 Constable’s language, which can be on occasion tuneful and dignified, seems at times to owe more than Daniel’s diction to the poet’s invention. But the main poetic ideas offer convincing testimony of foreign origin. Evidence that Shakespeare read Constable’s verse and borrowed from it probably gives it its most lasting interest.  23
 
Note 1. Only two copies seem known: a perfect exemplar is in the Christie-Miller Library at Britwell; an imperfect copy, with manuscript notes by George Steevens (formerly in the Corser Collection), is in the British Museum. Of another alleged imperfect copy, which is said by Heber and by Corset to be among Capell’s books at Trinity College, Cambridge, nothing is known there. (See Capell’s Shakespeareana, by W. W. Greg, 1903.) [back]
Note 2. Puttenham is especially wrathful with Soothern for his shameless use of ‘these French wordes fredden, egar, superbous, filanding, celest, calabrois, thebanois, and a number of others, for English wordes, which haue no maner of conformitie with our language either by custome or deriuation which may make them tollerable.’ (The Arte of English Poesie, ed. Arber, p. 259.) Puttenham makes many quotations by way of proving the unjustifiable clumsiness of Soothern’s numerous Gallicisms. The whole passage is worth studying. [back]
Note 3. The volume was licensed by the Stationers’ Company to Simon Waterson, a publisher in whom Daniel had every confidence, on 4th February 1591–2. Daniel here abandoned nine of his previously published sonnets and added thirty-one. He revised and enlarged the sequence in a reissue two years later in the volume entitled Delia and Rosamond augmented, and it is in this shape that his collection is printed in these volumes. [back]
Note 4. Du Bellay, ed. 1597, Les Amours, p. 308b, Sonnet x. Cf. Desportes’ sonnet already quoted, pp. xxvi, xxvii, supra. [back]
Note 5. I give the opening stanza and the envoy in both English and Italian:—

  
TASSO, Aminta, Atto I. Sc. 2 (last chorus).
  
O Bella età de l’oro
Non già perche di latte
Sen’ corse il fiume, e stillò mele il bosco,
Non perchè i frutti loro
Dier da l’aratro intatte
Le terre, e gli angui errar senz’ ira, ò tosco,
Non perchè nuuol fosco
Non spiego allhor suo velo,
Ma, in Primavera eterna,
C’ hora s’accende, e verna,
Rise di luce, e di sereno il Cielo,
Nè portò peregrino
O guerra, o merce, à gli altrui lidi il pino….
Amiam, che’l Sol si muove, e poi rinasce.
A noi sua breve luce
S’asconde, e ’l sonno eterna notte adduce.
  
DANIEL, Delia.
  
O happy Golden Age!
Not for that Rivers ran
With Streams of milk, and Honey dropt from Trees;
Not that the earth did gage
Unto the Husbandman
Her voluntary fruits, free without Fees,
Not for no cold did freeze,
Nor any cloud beguile,
Th’ Eternal flow’ring Spring,
Wherein lived ev’ry thing;
And whereon th’ Heavens perpetually did smile:
Not for no ship had brought
From foreign Shores, or wars or wanes ill sought….
Let ’s love—the Sun doth set, and rise again;
But when as our short Light
Comes once to set, it makes Eternal Night.
 [back]
Note 6. Delia, the title of Daniel’s collection, is clearly borrowed from France. Maurice Sève of Lyons first published in 1544 a very popular collection of dizains or epigrammes of love on the Petrarchan model, under the title of Delie, obiect de plus haulte vertu. Another edition was prepared at Paris in 1564. A beautiful reprint was issued at Lyons in 1862. [back]
Note 7. See pp. xcvii, xcviii, infra. I have traced this conceit of the ‘eternising’ power of poetry through classical poetry in my Life of Shakespeare, p. 114. Cf. especially Pindar’s Olympic Odes, xi.; Horace’s Odes, iii. 30; Ovid’s Metamorphoses, xv. 871, sq.; and Virgil’s Georgics, iii. 9. The conceit was universal in Elizabethan poetry addressed to both men and women. Sidney, in his Apologie for Poetrie (1595), wrote of the habit of poets to ‘tell you that they will make you immortal by their verses.’ ‘Men of great calling,’ Nashe wrote in his Pierce Pennilesse (1593), take it of merit to have their ‘names eternised by poets.’ [back]
Note 8. Petrarch’s Sonnet xxxvii. begins:—
  ‘Il mio avversario, in cui veder solete
Gli occhi vostri, ch’Amore, e ’l ciel onora.’
Sonnet clxxxviii. begins:—
  ‘S’una fede amorosa, un cor non finto,
Un languir dolce, un desiar cortese.’
 [back]
Note 9. Here, too, Desportes doubtless had an Italian original, but I have not yet discovered it. [back]
Note 10. Desportes is here adapting one of Ronsard’s madrigals which consists of sixteen lines. The first, fifth, and ninth lines run respectively:—
  ‘Si c’est aimer, Madame, et de jour et de nuit rever.
  Si c’est aimer de suivre un bonheur qui me fuit,
Si c’est aimer de vivre en vous plus qu’en moy-mesme.—
The last three lines run:—
  ‘Si cela est aimer, furieux je vous aime,
  Je vous aime et sçay bien que mon mal est fatal.
Le cœur le dit assez, mais la langue est muette.’
(Ronsard, ed. Blanchemain, vol. i. p. 311.) De Baif has a similar sonnet (Amours de Francine, Bk. i. p. 102, ed. Marty-Laveaux, 1881): ‘Si ce n’est pas Amour, que sent doncques mon cœur?’ So, too, Claude de Pontoux, L’Idée, cxxvi.: ‘N’est Amour qu’est ce donc que ie sens?’ [back]
Note 11. Cf. Pierre de Brach, Œuvres Poetiques, ed. Dezeimeris, i. 59. The admirable epithet, ‘care-charmer,’ as well as the description of sleep as ‘brother of death,’ which Daniel borrowed from Desportes, is ultimately of Greek origin. Meleager in the Greek Anthology (Pal. xii. 127), sings of [Greek]. Homer and Hesiod both called sleep ‘brother of death.’ Such imagery was thoroughly naturalised in France. Very numerous instances of its employment could be given from the Pléiade writers. Cf. Ronsard’s ode to sleep (Odes, Book IV. Ode iv.):—
  ‘A grand tort Homère nomme
Frère de la morte la somme.’
  De Baif, i. 113:—
  ‘Somme, que je te hay, vray frère de la mort.’
  Desportes, p. 74 (Prière au Sommeil):—
  ‘Somme, doux repos de mes yeux,
Aimé des hommes et des dieux,
Fils de la nuict et du silence,…
On te dit frère de la mort.’
 [back]
Note 12. Cf. Petrarch, Sonnet cclvi. (To Laura in Heaven):—
  ‘Due gran nemiche insieme erano aggiunte,
Bellezza, ed Onestà, con pace tanta,’ etc.
  Ronsard’s Sonnet Amours, Second Part, ‘Sur la mort de Marie,’ Book II. Sonnet ix., adapts the same sonnet of Petrarch, with little change. [back]
Note 13. Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, l. 418. [back]
Note 14. Zepheria, Introd. Sonn. l. 15. [back]
Note 15. Only one copy is known to be extant; it belongs to Mrs. Christie-Miller of Britwell. [back]
Note 16. The notion that the flowers take their colour and smell from the poet’s mistress, is very common in the sonnets of Ronsard and his friends. Cf. Ronsard, Amours, I. cxl.:—
  ‘Du beau jardin de son printemps riant
Sort un parfum qui mesme l’orient
Embasmeroit de ses douces haleines.’—
  The converse conceit, that the flowers lend their beauty to the lady, also recurs frequently. Cf. Du Bellay, Olive, ii.:—
  ‘Ell’ print son tein des beaux lis blanchissans,
Son chef de l’or, ses deux leures de roses,
Et du Soleil ses yeux resplendissans.’
  The first of these conceits forms the topic of Shakespeare’s Sonnet xcix. Shakespeare closely followed Constable’s treatment of it. [back]
Note 17. Constable writes:—
  ‘Saint Francis had the like; yet felt no smart,
Where I in living torments never die….
Now, as Saint Francis, if a saint am I
The bow that shot these shafts a relic is.’
(Decade II. Sonnet ix.).    
  Cf. Melin de St. Gelais:—
  ‘Quand vous verrez S. François en peincture,
D’un seraphin les playes recevant,
Souvienne vous que plus forte poincture
Vous m’avez mis en l’ame plus avant.
(1873 edition [ed. Blanchemain, Paris], vol. ii. p. 10, No. xiii.).    
 [back]
 
 
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