This piece is written in the form of an Elizabethan (Shakespearean) Sonnet. It is the simplest and most flexible pattern of all sonnets, consisting of 3 quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet. The sonnet was inspired by Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra.
Oh thou bitterest fruit
Thee that claim mine emptied heart.
By my troth upon Pans lute,
Pray thee, hast thou a chart,
I would that thou didst take thy path,
‘Ods me, ’twere but returned,
Thief thee be for that thou hath,
A fortnight morrow my soul be burned,
Life begone, I crave your pardon,
Fie me, little wench ye pretty toed,
An it please thee I recline in thy garden,
Where I thank thee for pleasure owed,
This heart returned by a strumpet faire,
Thy kiss to seal hearts dalliance there.
Copyright: 2009, Donald Harbour
I really like the paradoxical and oxymoronic in this, starting with the refutation of George Herbert, and the insistence that there is such a thing as “a strumpet faire.” There’s the double meaning of fair (equitable (in transactions) as well as beautiful). There’s the bitter fruit, with its notion of siring, both literally and in terms of the effects of experience on one’s life. There’s the idea of the strumpet as a thief who returns the man’s heart. There’s the notion of pleasure “owed,” where debt seems antithetical to notions of enjoyment. There’s the craving of pardon (as opposed to those things more commonly craved), and the super line about reclining “in thy garden,” again the garden with its Edensque connotations and its notions of beauty and delicacy and successful propagation.
You read my mind. I bet you’re a good saw bones too. Thanks for the comment. I love it when someone ‘gets it’. Rallentanda was badgering me to write a sonnet, English teacher that she is, so I threw this together. Thanks David!
This was lovely and it seemed such a period piece, using the wording from that era. That Rallentanda, she does know how to get us all going, doesn’t she?
Ah, the perfect poem to put me in the mood for the upcoming Renaissance Festival in November! I wish I had the talent and discipline to write this kind of poetry.
And what a mood it sets!
I love sonnets and like how you play with archaic language to give it some new twists. Clever work.
What a juicy sonnet, Donald. King Henry VIII doth come to mind.
Very nice! I can just hear these lines coming out of some Shakespearean character, perhaps in Henry IV? 🙂
ps Thanks for visiting my blog, it’s nice to be missed. A busy summer at work left no time for poetry :-(, but I’m digging my way out.