Delia Sonnet 33 When men shall find thy flower thy glory pass Samuel Daniel 1592

In Samuel Daniel's Delia (1592), Sonnet 33 forms the penultimate link in the second coRONA-style group of sonnets (ll. 31-34). The speaker of this poem softens the message imparted by the carpe diem motif in Sonnet 31 and promises Delia, his beloved, a "miracle"— he will love her even more than he already does when she is old and grey (l. 9). Sonnets 31 and 32 deal specifically with Delia at the height of her youth. Sonnet 33, however, situates her in the future, "When men shall finde thy flowre, thy glory passe" (l. 1). Within the first quatrain, the speaker envisages a Delia who sits with "carefull brow" before a mirror and realizes that her bloom or "glory" has faded (ll. 1-2 respectively). Presumably, Delia's brow is not only pensive but also expresses mournfulness, and sadness. The Oxford English Dictionary cites this obsolete meaning of carefull as appearing for the first time in Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, published alongside Delia in 1592.

By the second quatrain, Delia is no longer alone before the mirror. She is joined by the speaker's promise of love, or "faith," which, paradoxically, has not died down with time and Delia's aging but has continued, steadfastly and inversely, to her repulsion of him, to "waxe, when thou art in thy wayning" (l. 8). The third quatrain bears the most rhetorical weight because the poet further develops the idea in the second quatrain, that the speaker's love has continued through time, and that even without heat, his love has continued to burn. Importantly, the miracle his love has achieved is "That fire can burne, when all the matter's spent" (l. 10). Sonnet 33 decidedly moves away from the immediate concerns of the carpe diem motif and focalizes love onto a grander, cosmic level. What is miraculous about the speaker's love is that while in the second quatrain it "waxes" as the moon with his beloved's "wayning" youth, by the third quatrain, his love defies the laws of physics and continues to burn even without fuel (l. 8). It is only then that the speaker wishes Delia would "repent" her actions (ll. 12-13). Her repentance, however, does not suggest retribution to the speaker, nor a felicitous ending. The poem's rhyming couplet with its season conceit—"When Winter snowes vppon thy golden heares"—leaves the reader, Delia, and the speaker to gaze upon old age (l. 14). This last line links Sonnet 33 to Sonnet 34.

Like most of the Delia sonnets, Sonnet 33 deploys the same structure as the Elizabethan sonnet with its three quatrains, rhyming couplet, and rhyming scheme. Additionally, it calls attention to the carpe diem motif, and to Petrarchan conceits with the description of blond hair as "golden heares" (l. 14). Critics have noticed shared affinities between William Shakespeare's Sonnet 2, "When forty winters shall besiege thy brow," but debates on poetic influence remain inconclusive. The accepted source of this sonnet is Sonnet 77 from Torquato Tasso's Rime (1567).

See also Delia (overview), English sonnet.

Josie Panzuto

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