Sonnet vs. Sonnet

Round 1

Thomas Wyatt      38% (27 votes)

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey      62% (44 votes)


For Surrey

For Wyatt

For Neither

During the last few years, America has seen the rise of the "poetry slam," an event where two or more poets will recite their work and have it judged by the audience. So, of course, I couldn't resist the chance to present a "sonnet slam," where two poets of the past can go 14 lines, toe-to-toe.

Below are sonnets by the two poets (two friends) who introduced the sonnet form into English, and we get to see their take on the same sonnet by Petrarch. Which poem speaks most clearly from over four centuries away? They're not the easiest sonnets, and there are many different versions of these texts in different editions. But as they stand, which do you find more moving? More thought-provoking? Here's a chance to judge for yourself and see what others think--just place your vote below and check back at the end of the month for the results! Feel free to add a comment--you may find yourself quoted when the results are archived.

"The long love that in my heart doth harbor"
Thomas Wyatt

The long love that in my heart doth harbor
And in mine heart doth keep his residence,
Into my face presseth with bold pretense,
And there campeth, displaying his banner.
She that me learneth to love and to suffer,
And wills that my trust and lust's negligence
Be reined by reason, shame, and reverence,
With his hardiness taketh displeasure.
Wherewith love to the heart's forest he fleeth,
Leaving his enterprise with pain and cry,
And there him hideth and not appeareth.
What may I do when my master feareth
But in the field with him to live and die?
For good is the life ending faithfully.
"Love that doth reign and live within my thought"
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Love that doth reign and live within my thought
And built his seat within my captive breast,
Clad in arms wherein with me he fought,
Oft in my face he doth his banner rest.
But she that taught me love and suffer pain,
My doubtful hope and eke my hot desire
With shamefaced look to shadow and refrain,
Her smiling grace converteth straight to ire.
And coward Love, then, to the heart apace
Taketh his flight, where he doth lurk and 'plain,
His purpose lost, and dare not show his face.
For my lord's guilt thus faultless bide I pain,
Yet from my lord shall not my foot remove,--
Sweet is the death that taketh end by love.