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How might Shakespeare’s “My Mistress” respond to sonnets like Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence”?

How might Shakespeare’s “My Mistress” respond to sonnets like Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence”?

  1. How might Shakespeare’s “My Mistress” respond to sonnets like Constable’s “My Lady’s Presence”?
  2. What type of sonnet is each of the above poems?  Consider the two major divisions in this English or Shakespearean sonnet:  the first 12 lines (3 units of 4 lines each) and the last two lines (a couplet).  What shift in meaning occurs in the transition to the couplets in these respective poems? 
  3. How does the internal structure (the rhythm and rhyme) work with the external structure (the respective sonnet forms of the poems)?

 

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)

William Shakespeare – 1564-1616

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
     And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
     As any she belied with false compare.

 

My Lady’s Presence Makes the Roses RedBy Henry Constable (1562–1613)

 

· MY Lady’s presence makes the Roses red,

· Because to see her lips they blush for shame.

· The Lily’s leaves, for envy, pale became,

· For her white hands in them this envy bred.

· The Marigold the leaves abroad doth spread,        5

· Because the sun’s and her power is the same.

· The Violet of purple colour came,

· Dyed in the blood she made my heart to shed.

· In brief all flowers from her their virtue take;

· From her sweet breath, their sweet smells do proceed;        10

· The living heat which her eyebeams doth make

· Warmeth the ground, and quickeneth the seed.

· The rain, wherewith she watereth the flowers,

· Falls from mine eyes, which she dissolves in showers.

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