Petrarch: Sonnets

Petrarch and de la Vega’s All-Encompassing Passion College

“Love found me altogether disarmed,” declares Francis Petrarch in one of his highly acclaimed sonnets, referring of course to his dearly beloved yet unattainable Laura (Petrarch 2068). This is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Both Francis Petrarch and Garcilaso de la Vega found themselves so utterly consumed by their respective infatuations that they wrote of little else, thus revealing much to their readers about their ideas concerning the trials and tribulations of love.

The two poets share a similarly pessimistic view of love. Petrarch, in his third sonnet, uses war-like metaphors to recount his experience, stating that he was not “on guard” and “did not defend [him]self against it” and that he was consequently struck “with an arrow” (Petrarch 2068). By clearly asserting that one must protect himself from love, Petrarch alludes to its less than desirable effects. He also directly states that the day he initially encountered Laura was the day his “misfortunes began” (Petrarch 2068). In his 189th sonnet, Petrarch describes the “changeless wind of sighs,” “rain of weeping,” and “mist of disdain” that he encounters while sailing through the figurative “harsh sea” of love (Petrarch 2071). Through his comparison of the...

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