What is the dramatic situation in Petrarch's Sonnet 333 (copied below)? What has happened to Laura and the Poet?   Petrarch's Sonnet 333 (translated by Morris Bishop)   Go, grieving rimes of...

What is the dramatic situation in Petrarch's Sonnet 333 (copied below)? What has happened to Laura and the Poet?  

Petrarch's Sonnet 333 (translated by Morris Bishop)
 
Go, grieving rimes of mine, to that hard stone
Whereunder lies my darling, lies my dear,
And cry to her to speak from heaven's sphere.
Her mortal part with grass is overgrown.
 
Tell her, I'm sick of living; that I'm blown
By winds of grief from the course I ought to steer,
That praise of her is all my purpose here
And all my business; that of her alone
 
Do I go telling, that how she lived and died
And lives again in immortality,
All men may know, and love my Laura's grace.
 
Oh, may she deign to stand at my bedside
When I come to die; and may she call to me
And draw me to her in the blessèd place!

 

 

Asked on by lehcir

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wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Here Petrarch’s beloved Laura has died; Petrarch is standing over her grave (“Her mortal part with grass is overgrown”).  Petrarch is asking that his poems (“grieving rimes of mine”) soar up to her in heaven, which are the sole purpose of his life now, That all men may know her worth, reflected in his words; he then asks that she be at his bedside when he dies, to be drawn to her in heaven.  The poem sums up their relationship – spiritual, immortal, a poet’s muse and at the same time the entire subject of his work; his fame in history pivots on this relationship,  an ideal one that represents all loves on the immortal plane. Petrarch saw his "Laura" in church, and probably never even actually met her -- theirs is a symbol of the non-physical aspect of love.

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teachersage's profile pic

teachersage | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In this sonnet, the poet is filled with grief because his beloved Laura has died. He misses her terribly as he contemplates her grave, and with his verse he cries out his wish that she "speak from heaven's sphere."

In the second stanza, he states that he is so grief stricken he is sick of living. All his thoughts revolve around her, and in the third stanza he speaks of immortalizing her by telling people about her, though, in fact, the sonnet generalizes her as the ideal love: we get no specific facts or details about her. In the final stanza, the poet expresses his deep longing to meet with her after his own death:

When I come to die; and may she call to me
And draw me to her in the blessèd place!

As the poem conveys, the death of a loved one can be overwhelming and come to dominate the life and thoughts of the person left behind. The poet misses Laura so profoundly that he can't stop thinking about her; life seems empty without her. Behind this lies the deeper human situation: why do people die? The poem also conveys the poet's strong sense that death is not the end, but that those who love are reunited in the afterlife. 

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