Sonnet 19 by Lady Mary Wroth

Sonnet 19

Come, darkest night, becoming sorrow best;
            Light, leave thy light, fit for a lightsome soul;
            Darkness doth truly suit with me oppressed,
            Whom absence’ power doth from mirth control:
The very trees with hanging heads condole
            Sweet summer’s parting, and of leaves distressed
            In dying colours make a grief-ful roll,
            So much, alas, to sorrow are they pressed.
Thus of dead leaves her farewell carpet’s made:
            Their fall, their branches, all their mournings prove,
            With leafless, naked bodies, whose hues fade
            From hopeful green, to wither in their love:
If trees and leaves for absence mourners be,
No marvel that I grieve, who like want see.

1. Answer

1. How does Wroth’s sonnet imagine the concept of love? Is it like any other writers we’ve seen so far?

2. What is the tone? what is the theme?

3. Sonnets often work with the speaker’s emotions of frustration, sadness, anger, or melancholy. Do you think the speaker is depressed or sad? Angry? Who or what makes the speaker feel this way?

4. Notice the images in the sonnet. Did any surprise you or seem to jar with the tone? What do they convey?

5. What figures of speech are predominant in the sonnet? Which words or phrases do you find particularly striking?

6. Summarize the poem in your own words.

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12 Responses to Sonnet 19 by Lady Mary Wroth

  1. Tadeo Helou says:

    1.Worth’s sonnet imagines the concept of love as a negative one. She constantly describes love in a negative way, comparing it with the winter and the death. Through nature Wroth conveys and reflects her disappointmemt and misery over love. This same year we analyzed “When I was Fair and Young” by Queen Elizabeth which is quite similar due to its negative connotation over love. In this one “I” rejects cupid many lovers and at the end, she is left alone.

    2. The tones of the poem are sorrowful, solemn and melancholic. Also, the themes is the dark side of love.

    3. In my opinion, the speaker is depressed, anxious, lonely, disappointed and anguished. In the last line of the first quartrain (“Whom absence power doth from mirthe controle”) it is shown why the speaker describes a dark atmosphere where he/she is, where “sorrow best”. The speaker describes the absence of someone, who could probably be her/his love. Due to this absence, this departure, the speaker suffers and describes and compares the pain to the winter leaves/trees.

    4. Yes. The following:

    “Thus of dead leaves her farewell carpet’s made”

    “Sweet sommers parting”

    “In dying coulers make a griefe-full role”

    These ones are the images which most surprised me. I was surprised because the speaker conveys love as if it was a matter of life and death, which I do not agree. The speaker describes the absence/departure of her/his love as if joy and hapiness goes away, as if light goes. And he/she is left in the darkness. Moreover, there is an extended metaphor and a visual image of the tree. Where she/he compares himself to a tree whose branches are falling, whose leaves are dying, with “dying colourers”. This because summer has gone (her/his love).

    In my opinion, what jars with the tone is the couplet. After all his/her melancholic quartrains where she/he was devastated, s/he finally accepts the situation and goes into reflective.

    5. I found predominant the imageries along the whole sonnet to describe the speakers feelings and emotions. Furthermore, the pathetic fallacy where the speaker gives human actions and emotions to a tree and its leaves.

    “Thus of dead leaves her farewell carpett’s made:” This one is striking because it connects her/his as dead (s/he exaggearte her/his love absence as if joy goes away and s/he is “dead”) with his/her departure. The farewell carpet represents her/his leaving which left the speaker “dead”.

    6. The poem is about a human-being who is suffering due to love. The speaker suffers the leaving of his/her love and its absence. The speaker’s feelings are conveyed thorugh the use of pathetic fallacy, personification, metaphors and so on. Its sorrow, grief, depression and highlights the dark side of love and its power over people.

  2. nico pourteau says:

    1) Lady Mary Worth present us, on sonnet 19, the dark side of love, instead of writting like normal poets she shows us the negative side us love.
    2) Tone: Melancholic and lonely
    Themes: dark side of love and misery
    3) Along the sonnet we can see how sad she is,probably she was in love with someone and that someone broke heart so she writtes the bad things of love as love hurt her
    4) “Sweet summer’s parting” “Leaves distressed in dying colours” “Darkest night”
    5) The author uses death as a figure of speach i found staiking how she uses death in order to speack about love
    6) Lady Mary Worth expeses her point of view of love using dark methaphors of nature to express her fellings

  3. Matias Grande says:

    1. The way Wroth´s imagines the concept of love has a bad connotation because it does not show best part of it, it only portrays the ‘dark side’. She manages to portray this by nature, which reflects the speaker’s suffering since his love is not with the speaker anymore. I think that this way of imagining love concept is very similiar to the one Queen Elizabeth I portrayed in her poems.

    2. The tone: Melancholic, sadness.
    Theme: Misery, dark side of love. Loneliness.

    3. Speaker’s missery is the ‘absence’ of him/her lover. The reader realises that the speaker is depressed when the speaker mentions words and phrases such as ‘grief’, ‘dying leaves’, ‘dying colours’. There is evidence that the speaker had been angry but now he/she is progressing. Wroths manages to portray this progression by using words and phrases such as ‘hopeful green’. Despite this progression the reader can realise that the speaker is still in the difficult process of accepting an important loss.

    4. During all the poem the writer manages to convey an atmosphere that reflects death and depression. However, there is a phrase which contradicts the tone and the theme of al the poem because conveys hope “hopeful green”

    5. The sonnet has a lot of metaphors and personifications. Specially personifications are very important because the author use them in order to compare the speaker´s situation with nature.
    ‘With leafless, naked bodies, whose hues fade’. This phrase supports this idea of the trees being personified as suffering, dying people.

    6. Summary:
    The poem conveys is about a person who misses the person he/she loves most. Lady Mary Wroth, the author of this poem, manages to portrays the speaker’s feelings towards the absence of his/her lover. Her/his feelings by the way give a tone of sadness, depression and melancholic. The reader can realise that the speakeris through a process of accepting that his/her lover is not longer with him/her.


  4. Valentina Liotti says:

    1. Wroth’s sonnet has a negative concept of love. It describes the bad side of it. As the poem develops the speaker is shown as a frustrated lover.
    2. The tone of the poem is melancholic. The theme is the darker side of love.

    3. In my opinion the speaker is sad and depressed because of not having the her/his lover by his/her side. Not having that person near makes him/her feel lonely.

    4. “The very trees with hanging condole…” in my opinion is one of the most important images of the poem it creates an atmosphere of death and sorrow.

    5. The main figures of speech are metaphor, personification and alliteration. Metaphor because the writer compares his/her relationship with his/her lover to the leaves of the tree. Personification because it demostrates the trees as a man who dies and has no actions. And finally alliteration to make enphasis on the voice.

    Some interesting words can be the one related to negative things and feelings such as “distressed” and “oppresed”

    6. The poem talks about the love between a man and a woman. He/she is not happy because he/she does not have the woman/man he/she loves by his/her side. This creates an atmosphere of sadness and sorrow.

  5. Cami Carnemolla says:

    1. Wroth`s sonnet imagine the concept of love as a matter of life or death. It is not as any other writers we`ve seen so far. This sonnet describes the bad side of love.
    2. It`s tone is melancholic.
    The main theme of the poem expresses the darker side of love and the impact it can have on its victims, but on the other hand, it describes the absolute power and wonder of love as it can evoke this reaction when it is withdrawn.
    3. The speaker is filled with anguish and misery. Being a victim of love makes her feel frustrated and sad. This poem explores her emotions through pathetic fallacy as she compares her torment to a late autumnal night as the season slips away to winter.
    4. These images convey with the melancholic tone.
    “darkest night” – “darkness doth truly suit with me oppressed” – “trees with hanging heads” – “dying colours”
    The one that surprise me most: “No marvel that I grieve, who like want see”
    5. In line 3, Wroth reiterates that darkness suits her as she is ‘oppressed’ or trapped in her state of perpetual misery.
    She mentions ‘grief’ and the ‘dying’ leaves, which associate her emotions with death and thus make her suffering and pain seem more intense and serious – love is clearly a matter of life and death.
    The last phrase, ‘who like want see’, strikes me as the worst piece of English ever and makes you sound illiterate when you read it. It simply means that we should not be surprised that she reacts in the same way as they dying trees she has just described.
    6. This poem is about relationships and heartaches. It is filled with methaphors including nature. Darkness expresses sadness and light expresses happiness and joy. The speaker suffers from having lost her lover.

  6. Mechi Anelo says:

    1- This poem is not as the ones we read and analysed before, is full with pain and misery in relation to love. In the last poems love was not presented as bad as in this one
    2-This tone has a melancholic tone and the theme is the darker side of love, which usually is not shown in literature. In most of the poems and stories love is presented as a good thing and as an achievement.
    3-I think the speaker is depressed and sad because of the man she/he loves. She is sad because of his absence, and the way he has control over herself
    4- One of the most shocking and important image is the one of the dying trees. “The very trees with hanging condole…”. This communicates her sorrow because of his absence. The trees are also personified as they are hanging their heads because they grief the end of summer.
    5- The literary device is pathetic fallacy as humans qualities and personality refer to nature. As in this poem nature is used to show her sadness and the dark side of love.
    6- The sonnet is about the relationship between a man and a woman, and she is shown as oo dependant of him. She feels dark and sorrow and doesn’t express she doesn’t deserve that, so I can assume she believes she deserves it. The woman/voice is sad because of the man’s absense

  7. Lucas posse says:

    Wroth imagines the concept of love as darkness, as a power to whom we are opressed and controled by.
    The tone is reflective and melancholic.The theme is the dark side of love and it’s power.
    The speaker isn’t depressed but rather reflective about how we are controlled by this grief,this love. Furthermore, the speaker isn’t angry but irritated about how we fall in this trap, and how we are unable of doing anything about it.
    ‘The very trees with hanging heads condole’. This image surprised me the most because of the unpleasant effect it conveys. It transmits an atmosphere of death and bad-being.
    The sonnet is filled with metaphors and the personification of the trees as humans.
    ‘With leafless, naked bodies, whose hues fade’. This phrase supports this idea of the trees being personified as suffering, dying people.
    Wroth’s poem portrays her point of view about love and it’s dark side, often avoided when writing.The poem conveys to us how powerful feelings are in our lives and how it conrols us,even without us knowing.

  8. Juli Molmenti says:

    1. Worth concept of love is a negative, in this poem the writer portrays the darker side of love and the negative impacts they have on people.

    2. The tone of the sonnet is melancholic, the voice of the poem is lonely and dose not know how to get out of that situation. The theme of the sonnet is love and the power it has

    3.In my opinion the voice of the poem is feeling miserably as is said in the answers before, the voice feels lonely and empty and cant find a way out of that depressing situation.


    5. I found one figure os speech very present in the sonnet, alliteration. Alliteration is present in the repetition of the letter “l” in line 2 “Light, leave thy light, fit for a lightsome soul” Its also present in line 5 ” hanging heads”. Enjambment is also present in the poem. The find very tricking the phrase in line 2 “Light, leave thy light, fit for a lightsome soul” also I find interesting the presences of many world that can be related to negative feeling such as “distressed” “oppressed” “pressed”

    6. Sonnet 19, portrays the feeling of the voice. The persona of the sonnet feels miserable as he is lonely and empty. The sonnet deals with a darker side of love, in this sonnet uses striking imageries to show how powerful the love can be and how much harm it can cause in the people, as it has caused in her.

  9. Abril Lopez says:

    1. The concept of love is presented as “light”, because it refers the darkness as sad and depressing and Light as joy and happines, and love always bring happiness so maybe it is related in that way. Also, nature is very present. The author represents the beautiful things in nature such as summer to represent joy and happines, and again maybe love.

    2. The theme is the darker side of love and the impact that it may have on it´s victims. (the ones who are in love). or Death. The tone may be melancholic, because it is not sadness or anger, it is something more which is compare to loneliness.

    3. Yes, I think that the author writes with negative feelings such as sadness, anger, melancholy. I can assume this because of the comparisons between darkness and the vocabulary such as “Thus of dead leaves her farewell carpet’s made” or all the negative comments that are made in the poem.

    4. “darkest night” “Darkness doth ” “dead leaves” “farewell” “hues fade”
    At first the voice attracts darkness and avoids light. she feels unhappy becauise of the abscence of someone. Then she uses an imagery to express her feelings. “the very trees hanging head condols” they symbolize the voice emotions. and then she names the summer, she leaves the trees behind, now she is in her way to happiness. At last, the leaves die and that would symbolise a great “goodbye” so now she exprees melancholy because of the things that had passed.
    The voice at first thinks that she deserves darknesss and sorrow but then she realises that the grief is clinical and permament.

  10. Juan Landolfo says:

    1) Lady Worth, describes love, as something related with dead. She stablishes that she can not control her emotions, and that she is like an “slave” of them, because she cant free her self from his emptions, as they make her suffer, leaving the voice, sad and depressed.

    2) Themes: Darker side of love. Depresing emotions. Loneliness.
    Tones: Melancholy. Sadness.

    3) The writer clearly portrays his sadness, anger and melancholy though all the sonnet, explaining that its originated because of the absence of someone, probably someone she had love, and she keeps on loving. She cant be with the person who really love, leaving him alone, and full of depresion.

    4) -“Darkest night”. “Sweet summer’s parting”. “Leaves distressed in dying colours”.
    The imageries portrayed in the poem are clearly related to the tone. The dark atmosphere represent the sadness and opresive emotions of the voice of the sonnet. Moreover, the writer describes a ” summer parting”, making reference to happy times, full of joy, love, and happiness, as she introduce the ” distressed leaves”, of ” Dying colours”, symbolising the begginig of autumb, making reference to sad times, full of melancholy, sorrow and anguish.

    5) “Darkness doth truly suit with me oppressed”, “Thus of dead leaves”. I found, very striking the way the writer relates and compares her emotions and feelings to death. The predominant figures in the poem are the ones which highlight the depresing and sad situationn of the voice in the poem.

    6) The poem through the use of imageries, which conbines different nature seasons, and with the bipolarity between darkness and light, describe and portrays the feelings and emotions of anger, depression and sadness that the voice of the poem have, (after passing through an stage of happiness and love), because of the fact that someone she loved, abondoned her, leaving her incomplete and alone, plungeing the voice in a terriple opression that ends up with death.

  11. Candela Zufriategui says:

    1.Wroth Sonnet imagines the concept of love in a negative way, it shows the darker side of love. Nature reflects the misery of the speaker as her love is away. Throughout the poem the speaker’s anguish as a frustrated lover is highlighted. It is similar to the perspective of love in the writing of Queen Elizabeth I. This negative view of love can be seen in the poem I grieve, and there not show my discontent.

    2. The tone: Melancholic, sorrowful, lonely. Theme: Misery, Nature (pathetic fallacy), unreciprocated Love, the dark side of love.

    3. At the end of the first quatrain the reason for the speaker’s misery is expressed. It is the ‘absence’ of someone that she loves. She intensifies her suffering by comparing it to the loss of her life or the loss of a part of her life to death. The speaker is depressed, mentions ‘grief’ and the ‘dying’ leaves, these connect to her emotions of suffering and pain. The final quatrain has a slow progression as it lists the dying element of the trees, the slow progression could mean that the speaker is not longer angry. The couplet shows a change in the way of thinking of the speaker, she recognizes her situation. The poem is about a melancholy acceptance of the death and defeat of her love.

    4. Throughout the quatrains the images are connected to death, this contributes to the negative view of love that the speaker has. The imagery in the first quatrain talks about the darkness of night approaching, in the second quatrain the imagery shows that the speaker is sad, pathetic fallacy. The third one is a transition to misery as the love dies and disappears with the trees. In the poem, the shift in imagery and tone is introduced in the couplet. During the poem the speaker is unable to move on. In the couplet she recognized that she will never reunite with her love. The imageries of the poem connect the love to the trees. But in the couplet it separates them, “trees and leaves” will be reunited come spring, but she will never see this love again. The trees represent the speaker. The tone changes from sorrowful and hopeless to melancholic and acceptance. The last phrase, ‘who like want see’, is striking. It means that the readers should not be surprised that the speaker reacts in the same way as they dying trees.

    5- The main figures of speech: Personification, to describe the trees as a person who dies and has actions of a man. Imagery, appeals to the senses in the descriptions, pathetic fallacy to portray the feelings of the speaker. Metaphor, the speaker compares the relationship with his lover, to the one of the trees and his leaves. Finally, alliteration, to put emphasis in the feeling of the voice, for example the phrase “hanging heads” emphasizes Wroth’s personification of trees and it creates an oppressive atmosphere.
    Striking words:
    If the trees are ‘DISTRESSED’ this suggests they are so miserable that that they do not know to carry on with their lives.
    The speaker also talks about being ‘OPPRESSED’ by her misery as it seems like there is no hope or way out of her sorrow.
    Striking Phrases:
    “…The very trees with hanging heads condole/Sweets summer’s parting, and of leaves distress…” The imagery “hanging heads” portrays the sorrow felt by the speaker in the absence of her love. The alliteration used in “Sweet summers” emphasizes on the feeling of happiness related to the love the speaker had had but is now fading.
    “…If trees, and leaves for absence mourners be/ No marvel that I grieve, who like want see.” The speaker is incomplete by the absence of her lover as a tree is incomplete without summer, or leaves. The phrase “no marvel that I grieve”, shows that the voice is recognizing her situation and that it will not change.

    6. Summary:
    The poem is about fading love. Throughout the poem the speaker’s feelings of sorrow and sadness because of the lost of her love are highlighted. The speaker feels hopeless and compares the end of her love with death, as if a part of herself had died with it. In the end the speaker realizes that she can not keep struggling she will never be able to reunite with his love. Something has separate the lovers away, the lover could have died. The speaker is suffering for her loss. It recognizes the importance of love, its absence can make a person feel like part of them has died.

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