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Background of the Poet
- 16th Century ambassador and poet.
- Credited with introducing the Sonnet structure into English Literature.
- Mainly uses the Petrarchan formatting of the Sonnet.
Structure and Rhyme Scheme
- ABBA-ABBA-CDE-CDE (Petrarchan Sonnet – divided into an octave and sestet)
- Single stanza. Orderly and organised. Petrarchan sonnet format (14 lines).
- Divided into a octave and sestet.
- ‘I Find No Peace’. This is evident, where the author is in consistent unrest and therefore cannot find peace — which also tells us that he has previously been trying to search for some sort of actuality or supreme destiny — however has not found anything. This leaves him in constant unrest as we will see throughout the poem with his extravagant usage of oxymoronic sentences.
- Almost ironical that although he finds no peace, the poem is still very orderly and the structure is completely organised with the Petrarchan sonnet format — so has the poet actually found no peace or is he conflicting between being at peace and not?
- Love, Wisdom and Age.
- Conflicted state of mind.
Language Analysis and Critical Appreciation
- ‘I find no peace,’: So from the very beginning we see the poet utilising and restating the title of the poem. This is to set the scene of the poem and to further explore the idea throughout the course of the poem. The poet also utilises anaphora here to establish that his ‘…war’ is now ‘…done’. What is his ‘war’? He could be referring to two things. Firstly, he could be talking about an actual war in which he is currently in: this could be a physical hot-war or a war inside of him (which could be referred to as abstract) with his consistent state of a conflicting mind. Alternatively, he could be referring to life as a ‘war’, where he faces ups and downs and therefore inherently resembles an actual war.
- ‘I fear and hope.’: Oxymoron. This is very important because we discover multiple fragments of his personality, but not even just his, but rather of us all. He also uses anaphora here again with the insertion of a period mid-way this line.
- ‘…I burn and freeze like ice’: Okay so you may have experienced yourself that something may be so cold that instead of it feeling cold — it actually feels like it is burning you? What he’s trying to say is that although traditionally he may seem like either a hot or cold person in terms of his temperament, in reality he isn’t want he seems and again this further explores and denotes his conflicting state of character and his persona as not being something everyone would expect.
- ‘…yet can I not arise’: Okay we will soon come to see that there is a lot of repetition of the word ‘yet’, which is important because it informs the reader that there is always another side to things and things are not as definitive as they may seem — there are two sides to every coin, basically. This also further explores the way in which he thinks: in extremes. Where he either flies or he doesn’t; there is no midway or concession involved. He either does or doesn’t. This could, alternatively, be referred to how at one moment he feels like he is ‘fly[ing]’ due to love, and at another moment he feels as if he doesn’t even ‘arise’, which explores the idea of love and how there are many ups and downs involved in a love relationship.
- ‘…all the world I season’: He is involved in all aspects of the world. He could be speaking from the perspective of love in this sentence: that love is everywhere and enveloped and intertwined into everything and therefore it concurrently exists with everything regardless.
- ‘…loseth nor locketh’: Alliteration here to further emphasise the idea that he is both trapped and free at the same time, yet the simple idea of feeling this means that he cannot ‘…scape no wise’ regardless, and thus he is constantly trapped in the contrasting capacity of his own very mind. His thoughts are continuously conflicting regardless of what he does, and this could be exactly why he cannot escape his thoughts, because whatever he does, he will always have his own mind and cannot escape his own thoughts. In addition, he also uses enjambment from this line to the following line ‘…And holdeth me not’, which may denote how he is not restrained to the extent that he explores this idea via not inserting a period and carrying on the sentence to the next line to denote his freedom in doing so, yet, despite doing so, by virtue he is still locked and cannot escape this oxymoronic state his mind is currently in.
- ‘Without eyen I see, and without tongue I plain.’: He’s trying to say that he does both without using their respective body parts which are responsible for such human senses. For instance, he can see without using his eyes and notice things via he sense of touch and hearing. In addition, he complains not with his tongue but also with the way he simply acts and moves and his bodily gestures. Meaning, even with the forgoing of his eyes and tongue — he still retains such senses. Why does he say this? This is because the experience of such gestures is not restricted to only one or two organs but his whole body encapsulates his observations and complaints. He also somewhat criticises himself in the next line.
- ‘I desire to perish, and yet I ask health.’: Again with the reputation of the word ‘yet’, and he’s trying to say that although he wishes to die he still asks for health and for his wellbeing. This isn’t a phenomena that is peculiar to him, instead, many people indeed do this. He’s trying to very subtly criticise us and our hypocritical nature, where although we wish for one thing in reality we don’t want that and again displays another conflicting idea and contradiction that many of us indeed possess.
- ‘I love another, and thus I hate myself.’: Yet again with the conflicting ideas — he gives his heart to someone else, and thus feels hollow and empty with himself. By loving someone else, it is almost conceding to the idea that you think that you would be incomplete without the other, and thus by loving someone else you are to terms with the idea that you are only complete with the other, and thus you dislike yourself by virtue because you cannot stand to be away from your beloved. Alternatively, it could be because you cannot stand to be alone and you must always be with your beloved to stay content. This also encapsulates the raw idea of love and how it is such a powerful nature that it is almost controlling and directs other emotions, for instance hatred, as we see in this line.
- ‘…laugh in all my pain’: So hurt that he just lets out a laugh at how hurt and distraught he feels. Almost linked to the idea of dark humour. Although love is usually linked to happiness and contentment, love has brought him to the position where he is aching inside and as a result he lets out a laugh as a way of coming to terms with the position he is in.
- ‘…Likewise displeaseth me both life and death’: He is discontent with living and dying. Although he only functions in extremes, he is content with neither. This means that regardless where he is, he will always and forever be in a constant state of unrest and forever will be unable to find any sort of peace. This is interesting as it gives us a sort of moral to the poem or conclusion that it is true, that at this point, he cannot find any peace which is linked to the poem and title as a whole.
- ‘…And my delight is causer of this strife’: Because he touched upon happiness once he realises that this isn’t actually the case and there is sadness and discontentment hidden deep away inside of him — which causes him to further develop and come to terms of his conflicting nature and personality. Alternatively, delight could be seen as love and therefore because of this love for another human, it has made him in constant disagreement or brought out a conflicting side of himself where he cannot function properly anymore without consistent disagreement about everything and although love traditionally is meant to arise happiness in relationships and people, instead, he has become even more discontent and lead the pathway to this ‘strife’ he now faces and has understood that and almost resents love because of it.