The Rival Poet's Reply to William Shakespeare's Sonnet 5

Updated on January 17, 2018
Lord of Poetry profile image

World's lone sonnet grandmaster. Shakespeare's Sonnet 1 describes him as “the world’s fresh ornament and only herald to the gaudy spring."

You’re speaking broadly now; I heave a sigh.
It gives me surcease from your sly comments.
I don’t deserve attention nor laments
when it is you of regal birth, not I.

How could a royal heir stand calmly by
with trampled rights and honor latched with stench?
You could have lived abroad – say, with the French –
and let your country for your love apply.

But then mayhap you bowed to God’s decree
and soldiered on along high duty’s call
as you were prince of uppermost degree.

It’s just a passing thought – and that is all.
I’m just a man of common pedigree
whose hometown's fiesta days on these days fall.

Jose Rizal M. Reyes
Baguio City, Philippines
April 4, 2012 / Wednesday

rhyming pattern: abba abba cdc dcd
sonnet type: abba abba cdc cdc – Italian Classic 2 (traditional names: Italian Sonnet and Petrarchan sonnet)
metric type: iambic pentameter

A painting by Keith Stillwagon of Florida. This commissioned work is titled "Tudor-Bacon-Shakespeare". It thus claims and proclaims that Sir Francis Bacon is the son of Queen Elizabeth I and the true author of the Shakesperian plays and poems.
A painting by Keith Stillwagon of Florida. This commissioned work is titled "Tudor-Bacon-Shakespeare". It thus claims and proclaims that Sir Francis Bacon is the son of Queen Elizabeth I and the true author of the Shakesperian plays and poems.

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 5

Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
The lovely gaze where every eye doth dwell,
Will play the tyrants to the very same
And that unfair which fairly doth excel;
For never-resting time leads summer on
To hideous winter, and confounds him there;
Sap checked with frost, and lusty leaves quite gone,
Beauty o'er-snowed and bareness every where:
Then were not summer's distillation left,
A liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass,
Beauty's effect with beauty were bereft,
Nor it, nor no remembrance what it was:
But flowers distilled, though they with winter meet,
Leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet.

Notes and Commentaries

Summary: The Rival Poet heaves a sigh of relief because his teacher is now "speaking broadly", thus giving him surcease from "sly comments". But he wonders why his teacher did not fight for his royal rights.

"How could a royal heir stand calmly by"
American writer Mark Twain and many other individuals and organizations down the centuries believe that Sir Francis Bacon was the true author of the Shakespearian works. In addition, there are also a big number of people who believe that Bacon's true mother was Queen Elizabeth I.

"with trampled rights and honor latched with stench?"
There are writers who believe that Bacon's fall from grace, from the lofty position of Lord Chancellor of England, was an agreed arrangement with King James I wherein Bacon took the fall to protect the king and drew away growing political hostility against the latter.

"You could have lived abroad – say, with the French –"

Instead of remaining loyal or non-rebellious against Queen Elizabeth I and later King James I, Sir Francis Bacon could have staked out his rightful claim to the English throne. But first, he needed to go to another country where he could stay safely. France is mentioned in Sonnet 5 because in fact Bacon visited France at age 16. He was sent by England and received by France in a manner and under circumstances befitting a queen's son, although he was never publicly acknowledged as such.

"But then mayhap you heeded God’s decree"
Sir Francis Bacon never rebelled against his mother, Queen Elizabeth I of England nor against her ill-suited successor King James I. Instead, Bacon lived his life according to the vision of a celestial visitation he experienced at age 14.

"whose hometown's fiesta days on these days fall."
The town fiesta of Odiongan is traditionally celebrated on April 3-5 with Saint Vincent Ferrer as patron saint.

Italian Classic 2 (abba abba cdc dcd)
The octave of Italian Classic 2 follows a rima incantenata (chained rhyme) pattern which is associated with the Italians. But its sestet is rima alternata (alternate rhyme) that was borrowed from Sicilian Classic 1 (abab abab cdc dcd).

Spanish sonneteers of old were fond of using the rhyme schemes of Italian Classic 2 (abba abba cdc dcd) and Italian Classic 3 (abba abba cde cde) -- that is to say, they used Italian octet (abba abba) and Sicilian sestets inasmuch as the Italians merely borrowed the sestets of Italian Classic 2 (cdc dcd) and Italian Classic 3 (cde cde) from the Sicilians.

Date of HubPages publication: July 18, 2017

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    • Lord of Poetry profile imageAUTHOR

      Jose Rizal Reyes 

      11 months ago from Tabing Dagat, Odiongan, Romblon, Philippines

      Earliest known updating is July 20, 2017. On that same date, the HP Team sent an email saying that this hub had been cleared for publication.

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