My Galley, Charged with Forgetfulness

Original Text: 
British Library Egerton MS. 2711, fol. 21v; cf. Richard Harrier, Canon (1975): 125.
6As though that death were light in such a case.
7An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
9A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain,
14And I remain despairing of the port.


1] The source of this poem is Petrarch's 189th (156th) sonnet (Mestica, 268-69):
Passa la nave mia colma d' oblio
Per aspro mare, a mezza notte, il verno
E 'nfra Scilla e Cariddi; ed al governo
Siede 'l signore, anzi 'l nimico mio:
A ciascun remo un penser pronto e rio,
Che la tempesta e 'l fin par ch' abbi a' scherno:
La vela rompe un vento, umido, eterno,
Di sospir, di speranze e di desio:
Pioggia li lagrimar, nebbia di sdegni
Bagna e rallenta le già stanche sarte,
Che son d' error con ignoranzia attorto:
Celansi i duo mei dolci usati segni;
Morta fra l' onde è la ragion e l' arte:
Tal ch' i' 'ncomincio a desperar del porto.
"The louer compareth his state to a shippe in perilous storme tossed on the sea."
chargèd with forgetfulness: so preoccupied (by love) that it forgets all other things. The MS reads "charged." Back to Line
2] Thorough: through. Back to Line
3] rock and rock: Petrarch's Scylla and Charybdis.
eke: also.
en'my: MS "enemy".
mine enemy: Cupid. Back to Line
4] lord, steereth: "who" is understood. Back to Line
5] owre: oar, as in Petrarch, but playing possibly on "hour." Back to Line
8] Of forced sighs: "sighs" in the Arundel Castle Harington MS, and "sightes" in Egerton.This line modifies "An endless wind" in line 7. Back to Line
10] cords: tackle, lines holding the sails in place. Back to Line
11] wreathèd: MS "wrethed".
eke: also. Back to Line
12] The stars: her eyes. Cf. Petrarch, "i duo miei dolce usati segni," "my two sweet familiar stars.'' Back to Line
13] drownèd: MS "drowned".
comfort. Muir reads "consort" (meaning "accompanying"), which may be correct. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
F. D. Hoeniger; Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RP 1963: I.4; RPO 1994.