Analysis of Michael Drayton's sonnet "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part"

Essay, 2009

4 Pages, Grade: 2,0

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First assessed analysis

Michael Drayton “Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part”

The sonnet “Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part”, written by Michael Drayton, consists of fourteen lines, which is typical for the form of a sonnet. Moreover this sonnet has three quatrains and one final couplet, which is the form of a Shakespearean sonnet (abab cdcd efef gg).

The three quatrains all have full rhymes at the end of the line. The couplet consists of an eye rhyme (over – recover). The rhyme scheme itself is an alternating one, which is due to the fact that it is (abab) instead of (abba).

The three quatrains all have ten syllables each, except for the couplet in the end which has first twelve and in the second line eleven syllables. That is a factor for the importance of the couplet in the Shakespearean sonnet forms, to which I'll come back later.

The metre in this sonnet is “unstressed - stressed”, which makes it an iamb, and because it has ten syllables it makes it an iambic pentameter, which means that there are five iambs in each line, except for the final couplet.

From line seven to line eight, right in the sonnet's middle, lies the only enjambment of the sonnet, which means that there is no full stop, semicolon or comma at the line's end and the meaning of the line is carried into the following one. That could implicate that the middle of the sonnet is as important as the final couplet in the end.

Michael Drayton also frequently uses the same words in the beginning of the lines. Only five of the fourteen lines have a word in the beginning that has not been used before or after. His repetitions include conjunctions (and, that) as well as an adverb (now).

There is also one anaphora in the sonnet in lines ten to eleven, which both start with the adverb “when”.

In lines nine to twelve he personalises love, passion, faith and innocence and gives them attributes of human beings, in order to make these words more important in his sonnet. This is a mixture of animism and anthropomorphism.

Due to the use of the pronouns “I”, “we” and “us” it is clear to say that it is a first person speaker in this sonnet, who talks about him- or herself. The addressee of the sonnet is his love interest, because he addresses to “you”.

The mood and the tone of the sonnet can only be described as sad, melancholic and pitiful with a little shimmer of hope. In the beginning the speaker of the sonnet and his love separate even though their relationship could have last longer than the point pointed out in the sonnet. It is hard for the speaker to break up with his love, but they somehow seem to have to break up, due to unknown reasons.

In my opinion Michael Drayton's sonnet is, concerning the content, structured in two parts. The first part tells the story of a bitter sweet breakup of the speaker and his love. It seems to be a very hopeless relationship without a future, which can be seen right in the beginning of the sonnet, which is the sonnet's title as well, (“Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part”) and line two (“You get no more of me”). The little shimmer of hope I mentioned before can be found in line three (“And I am glad, yea glad with all my heart”). Line four gives the reader the reason why he is glad (“That thus so cleanly I myself can free”), which is another factor for the bitter sweet and mixed feelings going around in the speaker's head.

In line five it seems that the speaker of the sonnet is finally ready to leave his love once and for all (“Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows), which stand as a symbol for saying goodbye to someone. The last handshake with a person and the cancelling of vows, which could stand for the cancelling of a maybe planned wedding or the vow within the wedding that the lovers go through joy and sorrow till death does them part, are further signs for a goodbye.

All of a sudden, right after the speaker was ready to leave his love, the sonnet gives the reader another piece of hope. The speaker points out the possibility of meeting his love again (“And when we meet at any time again”). That is another recognisable factor of their love, because he won't give up the hope of meeting his love again.

Right afterwards comes the enjambment in this sonnet (“Be it not seen in either of our brows that we one jot of former love retain.”). In my opinion it is a conclusion to the first six lines of this sonnet. It says that if the lovers ever meet again, they pretend not to love each other. This could be a sign for a possible danger that occurs when the two lovers are together. It seems like something frightens the speaker not to openly show feelings for his true love and in order to, maybe, protect her or both they suppress their feelings for each other and go on with their lives alone.

The second part of the sonnet (line nine to fourteen) is a very hopeful one, even though it's wording may seem not hopeful.

It starts in line nine with the moment of death of a personified Love (“Now at the last gasp of Love's latest breath”). In my opinion the speaker refers to the relationship between him and his love interest. The fact that they have to separate somehow kills their love. The description of their Love's death goes on in line ten (“When, his (Love's) pulse failing, Passion speechless lies”). This is a simple trinity brought up by the speaker. It could mean that when Love is dying all the passion the former lovers felt for each other is gone, but it could also mean that without love, there is no true passion and so the “lovers” lie to each other through their passion. A third possibility could be that the passion is seen as an act of sexuality between two lovers and that this act has come to a final end. Not only through the separation but possibly due to some corporal disorders.

The next line (“When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death”) stands as a metaphor for a fading believe or faith when there is no love. If someone does not love, he has nothing to believe in. In my opinion believing in somebody or something means loving something or something in a certain way.

The speaker ends his portrayal of a dying Love in line twelve (“And Innocence is closing up his eyes”). That could mean on the one hand that Love has finally died and the two lovers are forever separated, or on the other hand that Innocence closed dying Love's eyes and gave him final peace and a last warmth through the touch.

In the final couplet the speaker addresses to his love again (“Now if thou would'st, when all have given him over, From death to life thou might'st him yet recover!”). The speaker gives his love a last shimmer of hope by saying that his love alone can resurrect their dying or already dead feelings for each other.

As I said in the beginning of this paragraph the text is rather positive, even though the wording has a darker sense. In my opinion the speaker does give examples for what happens after the separation and the meeting again. When both are forced not to show any feelings for each other it would be the inevitable death of their love. But in the end he says that the only one who could ever revive their love is his love interest. He takes away his own power to revive their love and puts it into the hands of his love. For me that is a clear sign of true love again, because he somehow waits for his love to come back to him. He tells his love subliminally that he will wait for her what ever happens and so he makes, while separating from her, the first step to come close to her again.

I think at first sight “Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part” is structured like every other sonnet, which has the Shakespearean form. But if you look closer into the sonnet's structure you will realise, like I did, that it has two parts within it's form. The first part of the Sonnet is about two lovers who separate from each other. This situation is followed by the enjambment, which acts like a couplet to first half of the sonnet. The second part of the sonnet is mostly about the speaker giving examples and ensuring his love give their love at a later time a second chance. So if I compare Michael Drayton's sonnet to a standardised Shakespearean sonnet it comes out to be a special one. Other sonnets are written to seduce a loved one. This one is not far away from that, because in the end the speaker somehow seduces his love to be with him again. The special thing about this sonnet is the beginning. It is very uncommon in seductive poetry to break up with your love only to re-seduce her. I think that is the point that makes Michael Drayton's “Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part” so special.

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Analysis of Michael Drayton's sonnet "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part"
Technical University of Darmstadt  (Institut für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft)
The Sonnet
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Michael Drayton, Sonnet, Since there's no help come let us kiss and part, Shakespearean Sonnet, English Sonnet, Rhyme scheme, Drayton
Quote paper
Rouven Dirb (Author), 2009, Analysis of Michael Drayton's sonnet "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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