Friday, November 11, 2011

Sonnet 1 from "Pamphilia to Amphilanthus" by Lady Mary Wroth


When nights black mantle could most darknes prove,
   And sleepe deaths Image did my senceses hiere
   From knowledg of my self, then thoughts did move
   Swifter then those most switnes need require;

In sleepe, a Chariot drawne by wing’d desire
   I sawe: wher sate bright Venus Queene of love,
   And att her feete her sonne, still adding fire
   To burning hearts which she did hold above,

Butt one heart flaming more then all the rest
   The goddess held, and putt itt to my brest,
   Dear sonne, now shutt sayd she: thus must wee winn;

Hee her obay’d, and martir’d my poore hart,
   I, waking hop’d as dreames itt would depart
   Yett since: O mee: a lover I have binn.

Source of the text - The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth, edited with an introduction and notes by Josephine A. Roberts.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983, p. 85.

TJB: This elegant sonnet begins with a remarkable image—sleep borrowing the poet’s senses & riding her thoughts hard—before the heartburn starts.

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