In what sense is Petrarch insincere in Sonnet 18 (sonnet inside)?
a. Through professing his desire to be alone, he really craves the attention of other people.
b. While asserting he wants to keep his love a secret, he nevertheless tells many friends about it.
c. While failing to describe his lover's beauty, he still manages to flatter her.
d. Despite denying the power of his own poetry, he actually praises himself in the last lines.
Ashamed sometimes thy beauties should remain
As yet unsung, sweet lady, in my rhyme;
When first I saw thee I recall the time.
Pleasing as none shall ever please again.
But no fit polish can my verse attain,
Not mine is strength to try the task sublime:
My genius, measuring its power to climb,
From such attempt doth prudently refrain.
Full oft I oped my lips to chant thy name;
Then in mid utterance the lay was lost:
But say what a muse can dare so bold a fight?
Full oft I strove in measure to indite;
But ah, the pen, the hand, the vien I boast,
At once were vanquish'd by the mighty theme!
1 Answer | Add Yours
If those four are your options, I would have to go with C. It is the only one that makes sense.
To me, what the poem is saying is basically "you are so wonderful and beautful that I can't even manage to write a poem about or talk about you -- you're just too good for words."
If that's what he's talking about in this poem, then only C really makes sense. He's not really trying to get attention for himself so it's not A. He never claims his love is a secret so it's not B. He doesn't praise himself in the last lines so it's not D.
C kind of makes sense because he does flatter her even though he can't actually describe her.
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