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Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sonnetsday 6


by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

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 night├Ęs car the stars about doth 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 case.
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.


Before Shakespeare, before Spenser and Sidney, came Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Henry Howard, the fathers of the English Sonnet.  Their sonnets were published in printer Richard Tottel's Songs and Sonnets written by the Right Honorable Lord Henry Howard late Earl of Surrey and other in 1557. Until modern times it was called simply Songs and Sonnets, but now it is generally known as Tottel's Miscellany.

Tags: Sonnets

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