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Detailed analysis of Sonnet 1
HAPPY ye leaves when as those lily hands,
which hold my life in their dead doing might
shall handle you and hold in loves soft bands,
like captives trembling at the victor's sight.
And happy lines, on which with starry light,
those lamping eyes will deign sometimes to look
and read the sorrows of my dying spright,
written with tears in hearts close bleeding book.
And happy rhymes bath'd in the sacred brook,
of Helicon whence she derived is,
when ye behold that Angels blessed look,
my soul's long lacked food, my heaven's bliss.
Leaves, lines, and rhymes, seek her to please alone,
whom if ye please, I care for other none.
AMORETTI, Sonnet 1:
- Line 1: “Lilly hands” – metaphor for soft hands
- Flower theme w/ “leaves” & “lilly”
“Leaves” – pages of the book
“Lilly hands” = describes her sof thands
- Taking something soft and sweet, then talking about something brutal and war-oriented
Uses words like “might,” “doing” (which means killing, as indicated in the margin); “captives trembling” = implies fear and power; “victors” = winning, power
It’s interesting how in this first stanza the rhyming lines are similar in tone/word choice and theme
- Line 5: “happy lines”
“lines” = could mean:
facial features of a smile *most likely
lines of troops in war
“starry light” = moonlight, nighttime
“flashing” = romanticized way to say that the woman is looking at you
- In lines 5-7, he wants her to look at him with pity
- “reade” & “book” in line 8 = basically, he’s saying to read the book of his heart
“teares” & “bleeding” = words of sadness
- line 9: rymes
- line 9-10 = uses the theme of the Muses
Muses = goddesses about literature, science & arts
“rymes” = poetry, goes w/ the Muses
He’s saying the literature he writes is inspired by the Muses
“whence” = what source/place (so basically where)
He’s saying she’s from Hippocrene, so she’s a Muse, or one of the goddesses who’s inspiring him to write literature
- line 11 = “behold that Angel’s blessed look” = he’s comparing her to an angel
- line 12 = “my soules long lacked foode, my heavens blis” = he’s saying he needs her to survive; saying she’s essential to him like food is to any human bieng
- line 13: In the ending couplet, he ties in the “Leaves, lines, and rymes” = tying it in, and this is the literature. He’s saying this literature is all for her.
Restating his love for her, saying that she’s the only person he truly loves
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