The Sonnet-Series (Cont.)

In 1594 also appeared the anonymous series Zepheria,1 composed of forty English sonnets, more or less regular, called canzone. The author of this sequence seems to have been a diligent reader of French poetry; many passages in their language also suggest Chaucer, e.g.:--

"When from the tower whence I derive love's heaven,

Mine eyes (quick pursulvants!) the sight attached

Of thee, all splendent!  I, as out of sweaven,

Myself 'gan rouse, like one from sleep awaked."2

The author of these poems, like Percy, follows the uncertain prosody of Wyatt's time. In feminine rimes, for example, he evidently thinks it sufficient that the last syllables should correspond, as in the quotation, "attachéd," "awakéd." He returns to the earlier poetry in a deeper sense, however, by reviving the mood of the old miscellany love-plaints. The sonnets generally interest us in the isolated moods of the lover rather than in the lady or in the progression of the story. Beyond the general theme of the hard-heartedness of his mistress, the poet does not characterize her at all. The series is of no importance either in spirit or in form. It is chiefly remembered because its frequent use of legal terms3 was parodied by Sir John Davies, whom we shall consider later.

1Arber's English Garner, v.p. 65 sq.

2Ibid., p.66.

3Cf. Nos. ii, v, vi, xiii, xx, etc.