William Wordsworth

(1770-1850 / Cumberland / England)

The Sonnet ii


SCORN not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frown'd,
   Mindless of its just honours; with this key
   Shakespeare unlock'd his heart; the melody
Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch's wound;
A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound;
   With it Camöens sooth'd an exile's grief;
   The Sonnet glitter'd a gay myrtle leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crown'd
His visionary brow: a glow-worm lamp,
   It cheer'd mild Spenser, call'd from Faery-land
To struggle through dark ways; and when a damp
   Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand
The Thing became a trumpet; whence he blew
Soul-animating strains--alas, too few!

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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