Cynthia With Certain Sonnets Sonnet 11 135

Cynthia, with Certain Sonnets: Sonnet 5 ("It is reported of fair Thetis' son") Richard Barnfield (1595) Sonnet 5 develops the imagery of the Trojan War. In it, the speaker, Daphnis, is wounded by Ganymede's eyes, which are full of desire. At the beginning of the sonnet, Achilles is praised for his ". . . chivalry, / His noble minde and magnanimity" (ll. 2-3), and by extension these qualities are projected onto Ganymede. The poem records the tradition that only the person who is wounded by Achilles' spear could be healed by a second touch of that "speares rust" (l. 8). The speaker, Daphnis, understands his fate to be like that of the person wounded by Achillles. The spear is equated with the "piercing eie" (l. 10) of Ganymede, but the "remedy" (l. 11) and how to find it remain unclear. Here the speaker seems to be playing the part of the coy lover, adopting at times both masculine and feminine qualities, as was common in Richard Barnfield's verse.

The poem's final couplet of the poem takes on a kind of teasing quality. The speaker says, "Then if thou hast a minde still to annoy me, / Kill me with kisses, if thou wilt destroy me" (ll. 13-14). The effect of "annoy" and "destroy" is highly significant because it connects the concepts of pain and pleasure. Given that the sonnet connects pain and pleasure together with the use of the imagery of war and healing, it seems only appropriate that the poet closes the poem with the bittersweet connections of that characteristic oxymoron. As in Sonnet 1, the speaker seems to desire the fulfillment of that connected pain and pleasure, "I know not how" (l. 12). Here the speaker seems to be playing as much with the minds of his audience as with Ganymede.

See also classical tradition; Cynthia, with Certain Sonnets (overview).

Daniel F Pigg

Cynthia, with Certain Sonnets: Sonnet 9 ("Diana—on a time—walking the wood") Richard Barnfield (1595) Sonnet 9 develops a rich mythology for the origin of Ganymede that combines both elements represented by Diana, the goddess of chastity, and Venus, the goddess of love; the pairing of the two reveals important aspects of Ganymede's nature. According to the myth, Diana "Chanc't for to pricke her foote against a thorne" (l. 4), and Venus was able to collect the drops of blood into a crystal vial. Venus, taking Diana's blood and snow from Rhodope (a mountain in Greece), creates "A lovely creature, brighter than the Dey" (l. 12). The combination of Diana and Venus is important here, for it conjoins desire and the tempering of desire at the same time. The image is one of chaste desire, an oxymoron intended to reveal important aspects of a creature fashioned by Venus. The poet is careful here of his historical allegory because it would have been less likely that Diana, connected with chastity, would produce such a child. Venus, combining elements of the human body and the ephemeral nature of snow, creates an image of beauty.

In the Sonnet's final couplet, Venus takes the male child, has him "christened in faire Paphos shrine" (l. 13), and gives him the name Ganymede, a name of divine origin, according to the poem. According to legend, Ganymede, the son of King Tros, possessed great beauty. He was supposedly acting as a shepherd boy when Apollo abducted him. The intent of the poem is to show his divine origin and also to provide a rationalized view of his mixed qualities of passion and restraint.

See also classical tradition; Cynthia, with Certain Sonnets (overview).

Cynthia, with Certain Sonnets: Sonnet 11 ("Sighing, and sadly sitting by my love") Richard Barnfield (1595) Unlike many of the sonnets in which Daphnis is speaking in a monologue to himself, Sonnet 11 contains a dialogue between Daphnis and Ganymede who are seated beside each other. Daphnis's sadness is apparent, so Ganymede inquires about its source. In a veiled reference, Daphnis credits his sadness to love and its incompleteness. Given that the poem employs an enigma in interpretation, Ganymede asks, "And what is she (quoth he) whom thou do'st love?" (l. 9). Whether Ganymede is being coy here or the poet is playing with the pronoun she to distinguish his poetry from that of other sonnet writers, the effect is clear.

A momentary interpretive problem is introduced that can only be solved with a rather dramatic revelation. Daphnis provides a mirror for Ganymede to look

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