I Find No Peace as a Sonnet of Conventional Love
A conventional Petrarchan sonnet deals with love, rather with sex-love. It depicts the mood of love in its hope or despair. The poet’s concern here is mainly to focus the passion of love and the effects of the intensity of love.
Wyatt’s I Find no Peace is a conventional Elizabethan sonnet that is patterned after the Petrarchan form. The theme of the poem is love, but the passion that is echoed here is different from what is heard in another sonnet, Renouncing of love. There is no angry renouncing of love in this sonnet. On the other hand, the poet makes here a frank statement of the restlessness which is caused by the intense passion of love.
The poet does not here turn his back on love in wrath and despair and runs after great scholars to renounce it altogether. On the contrary, he is lost here in the yearning passion of love that gives him no peace and leaves him in a state of helpless confusion and conflicting feelings.
As a sonnet on love, I Find no Peace strikes both the passion and the profundity of love. It brings out how the delight of love is the ’causer’ of the internal ‘strife’ in the lover, subjected to the pressing passion of love. He is confounded, for he is overpowered with the intense feeling of love that deeply disturbs his inner world with contradictory pulls. He bears hope as well as fear. He burns in passion as well as freezes in apprehension. He feels himself loose yet locked. He can neither ‘live’ nor ‘die’ at his “devise’.
Life has no comfort for him, yet death gives no ‘occasion’ to him. He desires to ‘perish’, yet asks for ‘health’. He loves ‘another’ only to ‘hate’ himself. He feeds himself ‘in sorrow and laughs at his “pain’. He is likewise displeased with both death and life. Indeed, the passion of love holds him so strongly and strikes him so hard that he seems to lose his power of judgment as well as reasoning.
Wyatt thus represents vigorously the tightening, confounding effect of love that makes a lover restless, unquiet. This love is not frustrated, yet it is not satisfied, and that is why it is so full of strife and startle. It is no happy, contented love, as found in the sonnets of Sidney or Spenser. It has not even the Shakespearean note of idealism that seeks to immortalize love against the ravages of time through the gift of art.
In fact, Wyatt’s I Find No Peace brings out a mood of love that is not stabilized and found swayed between opposite sentiments. It lights up the psychology of one who is subjected to such a state of mood. Wyatt’s theme is certainly more realistic and well indicative of the impulse of love in its doubt and depth.
As a love-sonnet, I Find no Peace, as suggested already, belongs thoroughly to the characteristic Petrarchan sonnet that treats the lover’s passion and pang, delight and depression. It represents perfectly Elizabethan personal poetry on love.
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