Sir Thomas Wyatt

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How does Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem "The long love" resemble Henry Howard's "Love, that doth reign"?

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Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem beginning “The long love” and Henry Howard’s poem beginning “Love, that doth reign” are highly similar, mainly because both translate poem 140 from the Rima sparse (“scattered rhymes”) sonnets by the Italian poet Francesco Petrarca (known in English as “Petrarch”). Nevertheless, despite all their similarities, the two poems also reflect the distinctive styles of their respective authors.

The basic “plots” of the two poems are the same: Love (that is, Cupid, the god associated in the Renaissance with selfish physical desire) has taken over the speaker’s heart, where he now lives and reigns. Cupid is compared to a great general who sometimes sets up his banner in the speaker’s forehead – a metaphorical way of saying that selfish yearning causes the speaker to blush. Like many Petrarchan lovers, the speaker in this poem blames his sufferings on the woman he desires. The woman encourages the speaker to control his desire by reminding himself to be reasonable, to consider the shame he should feel about his desires, and to revere God. In the meantime, she is angry about his obsession with her. In fact, her anger terrifies Cupid, who quickly retreats like a coward. At the conclusion of the poem, the speaker proclaims that he, nevertheless, will be loyal to his lord – a ironic conclusion since loyalty to Cupid means disloyalty to God.

Wyatt’s poem resembles Howard’s in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Both poems depict the speaker as subservient to Cupid, the god of false love, instead of being loyal to the Christian God, the god of true love.
  • Both speakers ironically accuse the woman of causing their suffering,...

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felocan | Student

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