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An Analysis of Henry Howard's (Earl of Surrey) Sonnet 12: Alas so all thinges nowe doe holde their peace
This essay will explore, through an analysis of Surrey's Sonnet 12 ("Alas so all thinges nowe doe holde their peace"), the significance of Surrey's work in the context of sixteenth century English poetry. It will be argued that Surrey's greatest contribution in this regard was not in terms of poetic talent. His sonnets do not leave the reader "breathless" in admiration as do so many of Shakespeare's. Similarly, although his sonnets are often modeled on works by the Italian master Petrarch, they are generally considered inferior to the Italian originals. Rather, as will be seen, Surrey's contribution to English poetry was as an innovator. In terms of both form and content his sonnets - including the one discussed here - assimilate and revise existing Continental (Petrarchan) forms within an English context for an English audience. Includes annotated bibliography. 15 pgs. 7 sources.