Petrarch and Wyatt Compared

Topics: Rhyme, Poetry, Sonnet Pages: 3 (911 words) Published: April 4, 2011
In the world of poetry, imitation occurs at every turn. Many poets will take an original form of poetry and copy the style. This can be said about Sir Thomas Wyatt who attempts to mimic Petrarch's form; when the symbols, tone, images, rhyme, and setting in Wyatt's poem "Whoso list to hunt" are compared to Petrarch's Rime 190 it becomes apparent that he failed to embody the essence of Petrarch in his writing.

Symbolism plays a large role in most poems. "A pure-white doe in an emerald glade/Appeared to me, with two antlers of gold" (Petrarch lines 1-2) is a perfect example of symbolism is poetry. Petrarch is not actually talking about a white deer with golden antlers, he's talking about a beautiful woman with golden hair. Wyatt also uses a deer as a symbol: "Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind" (Wyatt line 1) a hind is a deer and Wyatt is also using the deer as a symbol for a woman. This is the first similarity, or imitation, between Wyatt and Petrarch. The second symbolism the two poems share is the collar around the doe's neck. In Petrarch's poem it says "I spied on her neck, "No one dares touch me",/Graven in topaz and diamond stones,/"For Caesar wills I should always run free."" (Petrarch lines 9-11). In Wyatt's poem it says: "And graven in diamonds in letters plain/There is written, her fair neck round about,/"Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,/And wild to hold, though I seem tame" (Wyatt lines 11-14). The two are similar only in the idea of a collar and Caesar. Petrarch's doe's collar claims she is free while Wyatt's doe's collar claims she is property.

Although many strive to assimilate famous poets, sometimes they fall flat. Such is the case of Sir Thomas Wyatt's attempt to parallel Petrarch's tone. In Petrarch's Rime 190, the tone is reverence towards a woman's purity and beauty in the lines "A snow white doe in an emerald glade/To me appeared, with antlers soft of gold" (Petrarch lines 5-8). Wyatt's tone is more of sexual desire for an...
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