Sunday Poetry – William Wordsworth

The last of Wordsworth’s Sonnets of 1802, in my anthology anyway. Appropriately it’s a defence of the sonnet, mentioning masters of the form from Petrarch to Shakespeare & Milton.
Next week, a sonnet from the man who was the original of Mr Skimpole in Dickens’s Bleak House.

Scorn not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frowned,
Mindless of its just honours; with this key
Shakespeare unlocked 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 soothed an exile’s grief;
The Sonnet glittered a gay myrtle leaf
Amid the cypress with which Dante crowned
His visionary brow: a glow-worm lamp,
It cheered mild Spenser, called 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!

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