Treasure Island

Michael Drayton

(1563 - 1631 / Warwickshire / England)

Sonnet LXI: Since There's No Help


Since there's no help, come, let us kiss and part,
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have giv'n him over,
From death to life thou might'st him yet recover.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Maysaa Ram (5/4/2006 12:00:00 PM)

    This sonnet is a model of dramatic poem showing many qualities of great drama. It is one of the most popular of all sonnets in the English Literature.
    The experience in the sonnet is that of quarreling and parting in anger, as if saying i don't want to see my beloved again. The speaker bits a bitter farewell to his beloved promising to forget her forever.

    In the first quatrain, Drayton says that since there is no help, let him and his beloved 'kiss and part'. He can't gain her any more, and he will be glad with all his heart since it is a clean parting.(The tone in the octave is the tone of anger and bitterness.) But there is a clue that the speaker doesn't mean parting forever. To say ' let us kiss and part' is an indication that they are not leaving. Thus, it not a quarrel.
    In the second quatrain, the speaker tells his beloved to shake hands and cancel all the love promises they had. But in the second line, he seems not sure of their parting when he says 'And when we meet again'.
    In the third quatrain, the speaker uses the allegory to reveal his point. Literally, we see a dying image. the speaker's pulse is failing. He is breathing his last breath, closing up his eyes. Allegorically, this is the image of dying love between the two lovers.When the priest kneels besides the man by his death, that means he is about to die.
    In the couplet, when all people believe that he is going to die, and death is unavoidable, the speaker says that his beloved can bring him from death to life. Yet even at the moment of parting, while the speaker is shaking hands with his beloved, one little word or sigh of love from her would be enough to soften the speaker (The Love: Allegorically) and bring about a reconciliation.
    The tone in the sestet shifts from impatience to lyrical hope which reverses all that has been saud before and leaves the road open to possess a solution. (Report) Reply

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