Assessed Work One Essay

1543 words - 7 pages

Assessed work one
Texts for comparison: Petrarch’s Amor, che nel penser mio; Wyatt’s and Surrey’s versions of the same.
The poem Amor che nel penser mio, as well as its translations, is centred on the idea that love is a potentially aggressive fighter who conquers the poet’s speaker and reveals himself to the object of his affection, only for the beloved woman to reject him. He flees and hides as a result, thus leaving the poet to contemplate the reality of being subservient to a ‘cowardly’ master. Though Wyatt’s and Surrey’s translations are generally faithful to Petrarch’s original in terms of the overall theme and structure, there are enough variations in each of them for them to be ...view middle of the document...

Love merely keeps his “residence” in Wyatt’s poem, and is therefore akin to a welcomed guest. Wyatt completely elides the mention of “talor armato” in line three, instead replacing it with “bold pretence”. This is not to say that Love is not aggressive for Wyatt; another example of compensation exists through his substitution of the verb “vène” (comes) for the verb “presseth”, which, in itself, is more forceful. This is also helped by the alliteration of plosive sounds with “presseth” and “pretence”. On the other hand, Surrey’s Love is more like an imposing conqueror. He maintains the military lexical field and expands the reference to arms into an entire line. While the battle with Love is hitherto an internal, emotional affair, it grows into a battle between the protagonist and his armed Love, the result of which is borne on the protagonist’s “face”. This variation is perhaps beneficial as it gives a slightly deeper meaning to Petrarch’s “fronte” (forehead, brow). To say “face” instead could have a stronger impact because it encompasses the entire region and all that can come from it, namely the mind and the mouth, the latter of which is essential for the poem since the speaker is to confess his love for a woman. It is also worth mentioning that the syntactic parallelism that appears in line four of Petrarch’s sonnet and later resurfaces in line 11 (“ivi si loca”, “ivi s’asconde”) is retained by Wyatt (“therein campeth”, “there him hideth”), yet completely neglected by Surrey. Another element that Surrey reduces is the series of verbs in the latter half of the first quatrain. Though, in this instance, Wyatt’s is more closely tied to the original, Surrey’s manipulation of time could offer a reason for this reduction. In his version, the recounted events happen “often”. For this reason, great attention to such specific actions would be insignificant and superfluous.
The three poems converge in the opening of the second quatrain, where the protagonist is passive, as opposed to “She”, who teaches both love and suffering. Surrey’s addition of the word “pain” manages to evoke the contrast between his protagonist’s love for a woman and the ensuing hurt that accompanies it. Petrarch’s triadic structure “ragion, vergogna et reveranza” is maintained in Wyatt’s translation, though, once again, Surrey is guilty of reduction. He simplifies this to “with shamefast look”. Such a radical shift from the original causes some of the poem’s impact to be lost. In addition to this, both Wyatt and Surrey avoid “nostro ardir” from the original. Wyatt writes “his”, whereas Surrey puts “my”. One possible explanation for these shifts could be to maintain a separation between the poem and themselves, and thus any of their own, personal circumstances that could potentially be thought of as having influenced the poem. In aural terms, Surrey’s seventh line displays alliteration with “shamefast” and “shadow” and in Wyatt’s seventh line, he mimics Petrarch’s alliteration of...

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