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My Galley Charged with Forgetfulness


jaishree p #77435
Jul 01, 2009 11:17 PM

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My Galley Charged with Forgetfulness

My galley charged with forgetfulness
Through sharp seas in winter nights doth pass
'Twene rock and rock; and eke mine enemy, alas
That is my lord, steerth with cruelness
And every oar a thought in readiness
As though that death were light in such a case;
An endless wind doth tear the sail apace
Of forced sighs and trusty fearfulness
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain
Hath done the wearied cords great hindrance
Wreathed with error and eke with ignorance.
The stars be hid that led me to this pain,
Drowned is reason that should me comfort,
And I remain despairing of the port.

This sonnet relies heavily on metaphor and imagery, which was typical of Petrarchan sonnets. The speaker personifies himself as the captain of a ship trying to steer between two rocks, under the command of his cruel lord, who is also his enemy. Winds made by sighs and tears, tear the sail apart and the ship is further hindered by 'A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain'. The stars which would enable the pilot to navigate, are obscured and 'Drowned is Reason that should me comfort/ And I remain despairing of the port'.
The sonnet portrays a man in an impossibly dangerous situation, marooned at sea and far from the safety of harbour. Wyatt uses typical Petrarchan conventions(the lover as a ship tossed on the sea of love; the lover alternately freezing and burning hot, among them).
Wyatt's language and syntax are more difficult than Surrey(Henry Howard), making his sonnets a bit tougher to crack. He generally translates from Italian models, which means his themes or issues don't usually originate with them.
He generally follows the rhyme scheme abba, cdde, effe, gg.
He often presents two sides of love, physical and spiritual but no union between them. This sonnet is the translation of Petrarch's sonnet 189.
He was called 'The poet of the drab age' by C. S. Lewis. He found difficulties in handling the imabic pentameter line in the sonnet while translating it from Latin because he was more a translator than an originator of the sonnet form.

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