In Surrey's "The Soote Season", how did he use rhythm, meter, tropes and figures?

lit24 | Student

Surrey (1517 to 1547)  revived the principles of Chaucer's versification, which his predecessors had failed to grasp, perhaps because the value of the final e was lost. He never allowed the accent to fall on a weak syllable, nor did he permit weak syllables as rhymes. Surrey's poem although published in 1557 still retains a medieval flavour, "soote" reminds us of Chaucer's opening lines of the "prologue" to his "Canterbury Tales."

Surrey's sonnet has the following rhyme scheme:ababababababaa. Syllabic monotony results because there are only two rhymes, 'a' and 'b.' In fact, lines 5 and 14 are not rhymes at all because "springs" is merely repeated . This monotony is further enhanced by the repetition of the same argument in every single line throughout the poem: everything in Nature has changed for the better but the poet's personal "sorrow" remains the same.

The poem is a picturesque description of the English countryside just when winter is over and spring has begun. Each item symbolises the shedding of the old and the regeneration of the new: the green vegetation of the hills and the vales, the new feathers on the nightingale, the turtle dove making love to its mate, the hart has a new pair of antlers and the buck a new coat, the fishes new scales and the snake a new skin, and the bee is busy collecting honey from the newly blossomed flowers.

All these symbols are in sharp contrast to the sorrow of the poet who has not been able to win the love and affection of his lover.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question