Scorn not the Sonnet

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth, Poetical Works (London: Longman, 1827). B-11 0716 1-5 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
1Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frowned,
2Mindless of its just honours; with this key
3Shakespeare unlocked his heart; the melody
7The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf
9His visionary brow: a glow-worm lamp,
10It cheered mild Spenser, called from Faery-land
12Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand
13The Thing became a trumpet; whence he blew
14Soul-animating strains--alas, too few!


4] Petrarch: the earliest of the great Italian poets (1304-1374); his sonnets deal with his unrequited passion for Laura. Back to Line
5] Tasso: Italian poet (1544-95), author of La Gerusalemme Liberata. Back to Line
6] Camöens: Portuguese poet banished to a settlement in China in 1556. Back to Line
8] Dante: greatest of Italian poets (1265-1321). His Divine Comedy gives a vision of the other world; his sonnets present the lighter aspect of his poetry. Back to Line
11] damp: mist; referring to his blindness, and carrying associations with the sonnet on that subject. Or perhaps, depression of spirit; cf. Paradise Lost, IX, 44-46: "unless an age too late, or cold/Climate, or years damp my intended wing/Deprest." Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.399.