Give a critical analysis of Wyatt’s sonnet, “A Renouncing of Love”. Or Asses “A Renouncing of Love” as a typical Elizabethan Sonnet

In the realm of English Sonnet, Sir Thomas Wyatt holds a unique position as a pioneer. He was the first individual who imported the style of writing sonnet from Petrarch into English. His sonnet, "A Renouncing of Love" is a typical Elizabethan sonnet on love and deals the lover’s feeling and sentiment.

The very title word ‘renouncing’ suggests ‘reigning’ or ‘giving up’. The title clearly implies the withdrawal of all claims on love. Hence the frustrated lover is no longer wish to stick to his love. In a tone of utter disgust, he frankly says “Farewell, Love...” . He bids good bye to his love forever. The lover’s outburst is impulsive and angry.

The poet lover has been suffering continually by the piercing pangs and bitter experiences of love. He is bleeding and tormenting badly. Now he craves to free himself from the cage of love.  The bewitching beauty and romantic illusion of his lady love would no longer keep him captive and caprice: “Thy baited hook shall tangle me no more.” He now comes to understand that life is not but a crude reality where emotion and illusion have no room. He chooses to study great masters like Seneca and Plato to sharpen and strengthen his intellect. Logic is more preferable to him than love. 

The lover is no more in the mirage. Once he had surrendered himself to his sweetheart. The thorn of love pricks his heart. This bitterness not only teaches him love’s fickleness and fake but also makes him strong-hearted and bold enough. The poet scornfully proposes his beloved to entrap the ‘young hartes’ and exercise her authority over ‘idle youth’. Emphatically, he states:

                       “For, hitherto though I have lost my time:

                        Me list no longer rotten bowes to climb.”

The sonnet bears the conventional Petrarchan tone in which the lover’s intense passion and pain, hope and despair are exposed with superb accuracy. One of the distinguished mark of Elizabethan Sonnet is the
singleness of emotion and subject matter.  The Petrarchan form of the sonnet also gains a harmony in the technique. The sonnet ends in a couplet and here it differs from conventional sonnet. It follows the rhyme scheme of abab, abab, cddcee.

Wyatt very artistically uses number of imageries in this sonnet: ‘baited hooks’, ‘brittle dart’, ‘rotten bows’ etc.

Nevertheless, Wyatt’s sonnets are commendable endeavors and possess individual beauty as well as strength. His unsuccessful love affair with Anne Boleyn inspires him to write a few sonnets concerning with the theme of frustration and break-up. Surely, this personal pre-occupation seems to prompt in him a note of freedom from the conventional slavery to love.
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