Delia Sonnet 6 Analysis

Donow, Herbert S. A Concordance to the Sonnet Sequences of Daniel, Drayton, Shakespeare, Sidney, and Spenser. London and Amsterdam: Feffer & Simons, 1969. Goldman, Lloyd. "Samuel Daniel's Delia and the Emblem

Tradition." JEGP 67 (1968): 49-63. Rees, Joan. Samuel Daniel: A Critical and Biographical Study. Liverpool, U.K.: Liverpool University Press, 1964.

Schaar, Claes. An Elizabethan Sonnet Problem: Shakespeare's Sonnets, Daniel's Delia, and their Literary Background. Lund, Sweden: Gleerup, 1960. Seronsky, Cecil. Samuel Daniel. New York: Twayne, 1967. Svensson, Lars-Hakan. Silent Art: Rhetorical and Thematic Patterns in Samuel Daniel's Delia. Lund, Sweden: Gleerup, 1980.

Josie Panzuto

Delia: Sonnet 6 ("Fair is my love, and cruel as she's fair") Samuel Daniel (1592) Delia's character is depicted in Sonnet 6 of Samuel Daniel's sonnet sequence. The poet pauses and reflects on a number of contrasts found within Delia's character and between the poet-speaker and his beloved. The first quatrain opens with a standard conceit: "Fayre is my love, and cruell as sh'is fayre," evoking the emotion the speaker feels for Delia alongside the notion of Delia as his love (l. 1). This is a problematic opening, but it is probably intentional. The poet directs the reader's gaze from himself to Delia and then back to himself as the abject lover in the sonnet. A number of contrasts are drawn between cruelty and the many 16th-century definitions of fair: physically beautiful; of the female sex; a form of respectful address; blonde; untainted. Notably, "faire" as coupled with cruelty suggests that Samuel Daniel was also using the word with the meaning "just." The sonnet draws more contrasts between her "sunny" eyes and "frownes" which her forehead "shades" (l. 2) by playing with the order in which her positive qualities appear. The first and fourth lines of the first quatrain list a negative quality first, followed by a positive one, while the second and third lines reverse that order.

In the second quatrain, the poet-speaker elaborates on Delia's exemplary attributes, and she becomes "Sacred on earth, design'd a Saint aboue," and thus the unattainable (l. 8). In the third quatrain, the poet reveals what makes Delia a union of opposites: the melding of "Chastitie and Beautie" (l. 9). The two qualities cannot coexist, according to the speaker, and his rhyming CoUplet wishes that she had been only chaste, so that his "Muse" would not have been tempted and his outpourings of emotion could have remained private.

Critics note that Sonnet 6 shares affinities with the Song of Songs from the Bible's Book of Solomon (4.7), and with Petrarch's sonnets 165 and 297 from the Canzoniere; however, Daniel contrasts beauty and chastity, rather than beauty and honesty. Importantly, scholars also note that the word unkinde in line 13 not only points to Delia's unfavorable attitude toward the speaker but also to her pitilessness—a quality incon-gruent with sanctity. overall, this sonnet is firmly ensconced within the tradition because it highlights the poet's dismay at finding his beloved so beautiful and yet so impossibly out of reach.

See also Delia (overview).

Josie Panzuto

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