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Unattainable Love

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Unattainable Love Essay, Research Paper

Within the sonnets written by Spenser and Wyatt, there is something called unattainable love. The poet Petrarch first used this in one of his sonnets. Unattainable love is a love that a person cannot have for a particular reason. This love is very strong between the two people, yet they cannot be with each other because of this particular reason. In Edmund Spenser s Sonnet 75 and Sir Thomas Wyatt s Farewell Love , unattainable love can be seen. In this essay, unattainable love will be compared between these two poems, showing how it is used and when it is used.

In Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser, we can see this literary device being used throughout the poem. This sonnet is about a person who has just lost his loved one. His loved one had died, we don t know how but we know that she isn t alive and well. This is the reason that these two loved ones are apart and thus his love is unattainable.

This poem was written to immortalize his loved one as he saw her. In the first part of the poem, he states,

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,

But came the waves and washed it away;

Again I wrote it with a second hand,

But came the tide, and made my pains his prey. (Sonnet 75, Line 1-4).

This shows how he really felt about his love. He was hurting inside and he needed a way to show the world how much he really loved her, thus writing her name on the sand. This as you can see didn t work very well.

In the last part of the poem, he writes why he has written the poem. He says,

My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,

And in the heavens write your glorious name.

Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,

Our love shall live, and later life renew. (Sonnet 74, Line 11-14).

This shows that Spenser wrote this poem to immortalize his love and to show the world what how he felt about her. As we know that she is not alive, this love that he feels is unattainable, thus he will never be with her again, thus giving the poem emotion. This helps us relate to the poet, as we know how he feels.

In Thomas Wyatt s poem, Farewell Love we can also see this literary device being used through out the poem. This sonnet is about the poet s love for another person and how he cannot get it back in return. As a result of this love not being returned, the poet becomes very disdainful and angry.

In the first part of the poem, the poet states,

Farewell Love and all thy laws for ever,

Thy bated hookes shall tangill me no more; (Farewell Love, Lines 1-2).

This shows that he did, at one time or another, love this girl. He seems content that his love is leaving him as he will no longer be hooked by her, or in other words, be engrossed in her all day, everyday. In this quotation, we can see the unattainable love come into play. The speaker cannot have his love because of one reason or another. The speaker immortalizes his love as a person who plays and leads the guy on while in the other poem, sonnet 75 , the poet immortalizes his love as a kind and loving woman.

In the second part of Farewell Love , we can see that the speaker starts to become disdainful and angry. He says,

Therefore farewell, goo trouble yonger hertes

And in me clayme no more authoritie;

With idill yeuth goo use thy propertie

And theron spend thy many brittil dertes.

For hitherto though I have lost all my tyme

Me lusteth no lenger rotten boughs to clymbe. (Farewell Love, Lines 9-14).

This shows that the speaker knows that he cannot have his love thus he tells her to leave him alone, saying that he doesn t care that she is leaving him. We all know that is not the case, he loves her and because he cannot have his love, he is doing what most men do around the world- pretend that we were better off without her.

These two poems, Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser and Farewell Love by Thomas Wyatt, both make use of unattainable love. In the sonnet written by Spenser, the speaker immortalizes his love as a kind loving woman who he cannot have because of death. In the sonnet written by Wyatt, the speaker immortalizes his love as a woman who plays and leads the speaker on. Because the speaker cannot have this love, he pretends that he is better off without her. These two poems both make use of unattainable love, but both in very different ways.

Appendix

Farewell Love by Thomas Wyatt

Farewell Love and all thy laws for ever,

Thy bated hookes shall tangill me no more;

Senec and Plato call me from thy lore,

To perfaict welth my wit for to endever.

In blynde error when I did persever,

Thy sherpe repulse that pricketh ay so sore

Hath taught me to sett in tryfels no store

And scape fourth syns libertie is lever.

Therefore farewell, goo trouble yonger hertes

And in me clayme no more authoritie;

With idill yeuth goo use thy propertie

And theron spend thy many brittil dertes.

For hitherto though I have lost all my tyme

Me lusteth no lenger rotten boughs to clymbe.

Sonnet 75 by Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,

But came the waves and washed it away;

Again I wrote it with a second hand,

But came the tide, an made my pains his prey.

Vain man, said she, that doest in vain assay,

A mortal thing so to immortalize,

For I myself shall like to this decay,

And eke my name be wiped out likewise.

Not so, quod I, let baser things devise

To die in dust, but you ahall live by fame:

My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,

And in the heavens write your glorious name.

Where whenas death shall all the world subdue,

Our love shall live, and later life renew.

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