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.
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.
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.
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,
“For, hitherto though I
have lost my time:
Me list no longer rotten
bowes to climb.”
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.
very artistically uses number of imageries in this sonnet: ‘baited hooks’,
‘brittle dart’, ‘rotten bows’ etc.
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.