Sonnet 61

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Love Prevails
“Idea: Sonnet 61” by Michael Drayton is a fourteen line Petrarchan sonnet that dramatizes the conflicting emotions that arise from an intimate relationship coming to an abrupt end. After analyzing and doing several closer readings, I learned that “Idea: Sonnet 61” is actually about the poet’s own conflicting emotions and feelings from a harsh break up. However, it was no ordinary and flippant relationship. It was a serious relationship that involved great amounts of passion that came to a sudden abrupt end. It was a relationship that had a great amount of importance to the poet, whether he is talking about his first wife or even his first love. I believe I confidently can determine and come to the conclusion that this poem is about the poet’s love of his life and his contradicting feelings he is having during and after their separation. The first part of the poem the author is implying that he wants to disperse and split up and that it’s completely the best thing for him to do. However, some things suggest to the reader that this is not true and he wants to continue with this relationship. For example, the phrase “kiss and part” (line 1) clue the reader in on the poet’s confusion. When you break up with someone, you don’t kiss them goodbye. The splitting usually will conclude with a handshake or even a hug, something a lot less intimate than a kiss. With the use of these words, the speaker is unconsciously allowing his inner emotions to be seen. A caesura appears in line two separating “Nay, I have done:” and “You get no more of me.” This break allows both of these thoughts to be extra powerful lines. They are also worded abruptly and intensely. “And I am glad, yea, glad, with all my heart…” (line 3). This line, which repeats “glad” (3) twice, shows the narrator is reassuring himself, since he is insecure with the decision in the first place. The poet is trying to prove to himself that this separation is a good thing and striving to maintain a sense of pride. “Shake hands forever…” (line 5). This implies that the writer doesn’t want to just shake hands and part, but continue shaking forever. These words also convey to the reader that the poet truly does not want to end the relationship. “Be it not seen in either of our brows, that we one jot of former love retain…” (line 8). When I first read this, the line just seems to emulate that he wants to forget completely that they even had a relationship. However, once I read the whole poem more thoroughly and analyzed this line separately, I came to another conclusion of what this line truly means. The poet knows he will eventually see his former love again. He realizes and comes to truth with himself that he will still love her and has to cover it up, pretending as if he has no love for her whatsoever. It’s almost as though he is wishing to put on a mask when the encounter occurs. It is quite obvious that she has the power to rekindle and reconnect this relationship, if she should choose to do so. A Petrarchan sonnet, such as this one, is divided into two main parts, called the octave and the sestet. The octave is the first eight lines long of the sonnet. The sestet occupies the remaining six lines of the sonnet. Between the octave and the sestet, an imperative change takes place within the poem. The speaker switches from colloquial, or informal, to melodramatic and metaphorical language. This also expresses Drayton’s feigned ambivalence to revealing his true inner feelings. “Now, at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath,

When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies…” (lines 9 and 10). At first reading, these two lines lead me to believe that the poet is now on his deathbed wishing he’d had the opportunity to make the move he failed to make years ago. However, once again, after reading the poem over and over again, I conclude that its not his actually deathbed but the deathbed of his love for her. Love is personified as a...
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