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  • Alexander Martin- Ribas

Comparison Fidessa to Sonnet 130

The sonnets Fidessa by Bartholemew Griffin and sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare are both incredibly famous love sonnets. The difference between them is that Fidessa is the perfect example of a sonnet describing courtly love. Sonnet 130, however, would be described better as a parody of courtly love.

In Bartholemew Griffin’s sonnet he describes the women as a Goddess. Her hair as “threads of beaten gold”. This describes the hair of extremely high value, just as valuable as gold. He is also implying that the hairs color is as pure as gold. Shakespeare however describes his lover's hair as “If hair be wires, black wires grow on her head”. This is making fun of all the sonnets that use metaphors to compare hair to objects of a high value. Shakespear however means that if you would compare hair to black wires, then her hair would look like black wires.

Both authors also describe their lovers' eyes. Shakespeare describes them as nothing like the sun. With this he does not mean that his lover's eyes are not beautiful, he simply says that the sun is a lot brighter. Bartholemew Griffin describes her eyes as “the brightest star the heavens hold”. This is an extreme exaggeration and gives the eyes a higher value. This is a perfect example of what Shakespear was trying to make a parody about.

Bartholemew describes his lover's lips as “red vermillion dye”. Red vermillion dye is one of the purest shades of red and is often described as beautiful shade of red. Shakespear however says that coral is far redder than his lover's lips. This is factually correct, but you would not describe the lips like that in a sonnet of courtly love.

As one clearly sees throughout the poems, both are love sonnets. Shakespeare’s sonnet however is a parody of the traditional courtly love. However, in the last two lines he still clearly states that he still loves her when he says “And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare, as any she belied with false compare.”

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