Analyze the meaning and literary devices in Petrarch's sonnet beginning with "The gentle breeze."
This sonnet, like many penned by Petrarch, is written in honor of a woman named Laura. Petrarch was madly in love with Laura, a somewhat mysterious woman about whom little is known. But this sonnet actually opens with a literary device--a pun--that is a play on Laura's name. In Italian, "l'aura" translates to "the breeze." So by referring to a "gentle breeze" at the beginning of the sonnet, Petrarch associates his would-be lover with the renewing power of a pleasant breeze. A few lines later, we see a familiar example of the literary device of personification, as Petrarch describes "Love" giving him a "deep, although delightful wound." Petrarch also plays on the double meaning of the word "locks," which he uses to describe Laura's beautiful hair flowing in the breeze, and "braids," which have, Petrarch says, "bound" his heart like ropes. The entire poem, in fact, is a flashback, a literary device that invites the reader to imagine how deeply Petrarch loves Laura, and how this love (which was not returned by Laura) has affected him. Every experience in his life--here the sensation of a gentle breeze--recalls Laura's beauty. "To think on it," Petrarch tells the reader, "still thrills the sense."