AD's English Literature : Michael Drayton’s- "Since there's no Help, come let us kiss and part” : Critical Appreciation

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Michael Drayton’s- "Since there's no Help, come let us kiss and part” : Critical Appreciation


 "Since there's no Help, come let us kiss and part”
                                       Michael Drayton                                               

Sonnet LXI: Since There's No Help
Since there's no help, come, let us kiss and part,
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me,
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have giv'n him over,
From death to life thou might'st him yet recover.


Drayton’s Sonnet,"Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part" is  included   sonnet No - 61 of Drayton’s Sonnet cycle Ideas Mirror, comprising sixty three Sonnet's in all. The Sonnet is typically an Elizabethan one with remarkable grace of love and bitterness.

It is be noted in this connection That Drayton’s Sonnet - sequence of Ideas Mirror is no poetical work of very high order in poetical value , as a whole is rather mediocre . Yet the present sonnet, sonnet No -61 is highly impressive and well - executed specimen of Elizabethan sonnet. This is even estimated as the one specific sonnet that deserves to be ranked with some of Shakespeare’s best workmanship.

The sonnet as already indicated is a good instance of the Elizabethan sonnet sequence. It well bears out how Drayton profiled immensely from the study of Sidney’s sonnet cycle Astropheland Stella. His theme, whereas Sidney’s is the sad and tender love of a true lover for an unresponsive lady love, a soft but deepest sense of farewell rings all over the sonnet. So, he feels it best to bid a graceful farewell to love --

"Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part”
There may be the touch of sadness in such a parting, but the lover wishes to retain no feeling of regret but to leave completely and calmly:
                                  
   "Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
                                     
This painting of love is tended and graceful as in Sidney. The poet's tone is not merely quiet but also profound and here, again Drayton is found to echo Sidney a specific situation or event in the chronicle of love. This definitely added to the impressiveness of the sonnet .

Drayton's sonnet is also couched in the accepted convention of the Elizabethan sonnet. The concluding couplet however has a sort of novelty with the lover's fond hope for a happy change in the ladylove's attitude to him. Drayton’s Theme is typical Petrarchan a lover's passion and pangs for his fair mistress, who is not responsive, this and love. This has technique, Drayton is found to be a follower of Shakespeare.

As already noted, the opening of the sonnet is dramatic enough. The first quatrain speaks of the lover separation and the lover's desire to have a graceful farewell from the lady. The second quatrain continues the contention of the previous one and contains the lover entreaty to forget this matter of love altogether. There seem we be a turn of mood with the third quatrain that presents precisely the last phases of love. Of course, the thought is rounded off as in Shakespeare in the final couplet.

   " Nor if thou would'st when all have given him over
 From , Death of life trou might if him yet recaver ".

Drayton's Sonnet as pointed out already is in the Shakespearean from with three quatrains and a concluding couplet. There are seven rhymes [ a b c d e f g ] arranged in the usual Shakespearean order .
abab: 1st quatrain
cdcd: 2nd quatrain
efef: 3rd quatrain
gg: Concluding couplet

A few more Technical aspect of the poem need be noted now. The entire sestet comprises only one sentence. Thus the third quatrain and the concluding couplet, as united one compacted into the sestet. The Sonnet is also really rich in imagery as evident in the third quatrain. Have faith innocence and death are here very usefully personified. There in a fictitious inversion of hyperbaton in the last line.

Drayton sonnet No - 61 is a gem of the Elizabethan sonnet. Here is Easy and playful thoughts in a metaphysical strain in the first two quatrains. Indeed the sonnet well deserves such compliments from Rossetti as: “one of the finest of Elizabethan sonnets or from Saintsbury as: “One among the ten or twelve finest sonnets in the world ".

This sonnet is a model of dramatic poem showing many qualities of great drama. It is one of the most popular of all sonnets in the English Literature.
The experience in the sonnet is that of quarreling and parting in anger, as if saying i don't want to see my beloved again. The speaker bits a bitter farewell to his beloved promising to forget her forever.

In the first quatrain, Drayton says that since there is no help, let him and his beloved 'kiss and part'. He can't gain her any more, and he will be glad with all his heart since it is a clean parting. But there is a clue that the speaker doesn't mean parting forever. To say ' let us kiss and part' is an indication that they are not leaving. Thus, it not a quarrel. 

In the second quatrain, the speaker tells his beloved to shake hands and cancel all the love promises they had. But in the second line, he seems not sure of their parting when he says 'And when we meet again'. 

In the third quatrain, the speaker uses the allegory to reveal his point. Literally, we see a dying image. the speaker's pulse is failing. He is breathing his last breath, closing up his eyes. Allegorically, this is the image of dying love between the two lovers.When the priest kneels besides the man by his death, that means he is about to die. 

 In the couplet, when all people believe that he is going to die, and death is unavoidable, the speaker says that his beloved can bring him from death to life. Yet even at the moment of parting, while the speaker is shaking hands with his beloved, one little word or sigh of love from her would be enough to soften the speaker (The Love: Allegorically) and bring about a reconciliation.The tone in the sestet shifts from impatience to lyrical hope which reverses all that has been said before and leaves the road open to possess a solution.


 

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