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Petrarch's sonnet 116:

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Hope Schmalzried

on 24 April 2014

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Transcript of Petrarch's sonnet 116:

Petrarch's Sonnet 116:
Gli Occhi Di ch' lo Parlai

"The Eyes of Which I Spoke"
Those eyes, 'neath which my passionate rapture rose,
The arms, hands, feet, the beauty that erewhile,
Could my own soul from its own self beguile,
And in a separate world of dreams enclose,
The hair's bright tresses, full of golden glows,
And the soft lighting of the angelic smile,
That changed this earth to some celestial isle,
Are now but dust, poor dust, that nothing knows.

And yet I live! Myself I grieve and scorn,
Left dark without the light I loved in vain,
Adrift in tempest on a bark forlorn;
Dead is the source of all my amorous strain,
Dry is the channel of my thoughts outworn,
And my sad harp can sound but notes of pain.
Summary/ Paraphrase
As a whole:
- praising, admiring, pining after the woman he loves
- this mystery woman is incredibly beautiful and angelic
- further down in the poem, it becomes apparent that there is a shift, this is typical of Italian sonnets! Petrarch is explaining that either

a) this love is unrequited, and the feeling of not being loved by this woman is comparable to death

b) his lover has in fact died, and he is morning the loss of her
Structure of Sonnet 116
Francesco Petrarca
a.k.a Petrarch
Bio and Historical Context (1304-1374)
-Growing up in the disastrous 14th century, he witnessed the death of both his parents and many loved ones via the plague and other diseases.

- Petrarch was also incredibly modern for his time period, seeing as though he was a few decades before the nascence of the Renaissance.

-HUMANISM! Petrarch is know as "The Father of Humanism" meaning that a majority of humanism tenets sparked from his concepts






Lyrical Poem= personal emotions/feelings and has a musical quality ----->
Sonnet= a 14 line poem written in iambic pentameter ---->
Petrarchan or Italian Sonnet
= rhyme scheme of ABBA ABBA for the first octave and the sestet with CDCDCD
Some vocabulary to note
rapture
: extreme and intense happiness or joy

erewhile
: some time ago

beguile
: charm in a deceptive way, similar to tempting

tresses
: long lock of a woman's hair

celestial
: relating or belonging to the heavens

tempest
: a violent, windy storm

forlorn
: hopeless, pitiful

amorous
: love or sexual desire
Cultural Context

Diction
Those eyes, 'neath which my passionate
rapture
rose,
The arms, hands, feet, the
beauty
that erewhile,
Could my own soul from its own self beguile,
And in a separate world of
dreams
enclose,
The hair's bright tresses, full of golden glows,
And the soft lighting of the
angelic
smile,
That changed this earth to some
celestial
isle,
Are now but dust, poor dust, that nothing knows.

And yet I live! Myself I
grieve
and
scorn
,
Left dark without the light I loved in vain,
Adrift in tempest on a bark
forlorn
;
Dead is the source of all my amorous
strain
,
Dry is the channel of my thoughts outworn,
And my sad harp can sound but notes of
pain
.
Personification/ Visual Imagery
Those eyes, 'neath which my passionate rapture rose,
The arms, hands, feet, the beauty that erewhile,
Could my own soul from its own self beguile,
And in a separate world of dreams enclose,
The hair's bright tresses, full of golden glows,
And the soft lighting of the angelic smile,
That changed this earth to some celestial isle,

Are now but dust, poor dust, that nothing knows.

And yet I live! Myself I grieve and scorn,
Left dark without the light I loved in vain,
Adrift in tempest on a bark forlorn;
Dead is the source of all my amorous strain,
Dry is the channel of my thoughts outworn,
And my sad harp can sound but notes of pain.
Direct Metaphor/ Symbolism
Those eyes, 'neath which my passionate rapture rose,
The arms, hands, feet, the beauty that erewhile,
Could my own soul from its own self beguile,
And in a separate world of dreams enclose,
The hair's bright tresses, full of golden glows,
And the soft lighting of the angelic smile,
That changed this earth to some celestial isle,
Are now but dust, poor dust, that nothing knows.

And yet I live! Myself I grieve and scorn,
Left dark without the light I loved in vain,
Adrift in tempest on a bark forlorn;

Dead is the source of all my amorous strain,
Dry is the channel of my thoughts outworn
,
And my sad harp can sound but notes of pain.
Apostrophe/ Repetition
Those eyes, 'neath which my passionate rapture rose,
The arms, hands, feet, the beauty that erewhile,
Could my own soul from its own self beguile,
And in a separate world of dreams enclose,
The hair's bright tresses, full of golden glows,
And the soft lighting of the angelic smile,
That changed this earth to some celestial isle,
Are now but dust, poor dust, that nothing knows.

And yet I live!
Myself I grieve and scorn,
Left dark without the light I loved in vain,
Adrift in tempest on a bark forlorn;
Dead is the source of all my amorous strain,
Dry is the channel of my thoughts outworn,
And my sad harp can sound but notes of pain.
How does this poem make us feel?
What is Petrarch trying to convey?
Tone: Intensely passionate, almost blinded and capricious about his feelings

Mood: Incredulous sympathy, sense of longing

Theme/messages conveyed: Love is an all encompassing, intense emotion

... through all the rapture and heartache, the emotion of love is one of the most precious human emotions

...Love and the human ability to do so should be valued and appreciated

E2H/EHAP
Poetry
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Literary Connections: William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet
, one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, also harbors the idea of passionate love, and in the beginning of the play, Romeo suffers from unrequited love via Rosaline

BENVOLIO
[…] What sadness lengthens Romeo's hours?

ROMEO
Not having that, which, having, makes them short.

BENVOLIO
In love?

ROMEO
Out—

BENVOLIO
Of love?

ROMEO
Out of her favour, where I am in love.
"Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vex'd a sea nourish'd with lovers' tears:
What is it else? a madness most discreet,
A choking gall and a preserving sweet."

Cont.
- Similarly as in Petrarch's Sonnet 116, Shakespeare portrays Romeo as a lovesick romantic who is in love with a woman who doesn't feel the same way. Just like Petrarch, Romeo's emotions are passionate and fluctuating constantly
- Fun Fact: It is said that the Rosaline/Romeo dynamic in the play mirrors the relationship between Petrarch and his love, Laura
- Though the love between Edgar and his Annabel Lee was mutual, Poe uses similar themes and concepts in his poem to describe their tragic love:

For example:
"With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me."

"The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee."

Literary Connection: Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee
Cont.
"And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride"
Fun Connections: Jacob in Twilight
The literal and metaphoric underdog
Thank You!!!!
Petrarch's Sonnet 116 artfully proves humanism ideas such as:


- enjoying life and emotions on Earth

- the divinity and perfection in humans

- the changing concept of life and afterlife, enjoying life in the now despite problems
Full transcript