Petrarch (1304-1374), Italian poet and humanist, who is considered the
humanist; but he also played an important role in the development of
Italian as a literary language.
Petrarch was born in Arezzo. In 1312 his family moved to Avignon, France.
Laura (probably Laure de Noves), whose name he was to immortalize in his
its constancy and purity.
Petrarch wrote in Latin and in Italian. His Latin works include “Africa”
and Concerning Famous Men (1338?), a series of biographies. His vast
Sonnets. Almost all of these sonnets and odes are inspired by Petrarch’s
unrequited passion for Laura
helped define the conventional sonnet form; that is, fourteen lines divided
into an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines) with the rhyme scheme
following the pattern- -abba abba cde cde, or, abab abab cde dce; although,
there are variations in his sonnets (Tomlinson, 3) “his language is most
simple, and his meaning most direct. He goes straight to his object and
clothes it in the simplest words, and with little or no inversion.”(Tomlinson,
Petrarch began a collection of his Italian poetry in 1342. In its final form it
contained three hundred sixty-six compositions, principally sonnets, with
other verse forms interspread. (Auslander, 295) Written in the tradition if
Elizabethan poets. (Auslander, 400)
In Sonnet number three Petrarch speaks of the first time he laid eyes on
the lady. He says: It was the morning of that blessed day then down
three lines he describes that morning as being the day he fell captive to the
lady: I fell a captive, Lady, to the sway. Petrarch is speaking of the day
when he first met Laura, a woman that some critics say was Laura De
Noves, while other critics say that Laura was just a figment of Petrarch s
Petrarch describes how he wasn t able to get close to this lady. He says
that the woman he loves was gone before he got to know her better.
prey. He says that he stepped into the snare. It seems that he was
unaware of what was about to happen to him as is the case when most of
us fall in love.