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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Sonnet, II

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

SCORN not the Sonnet; Critic, you have frown’d,

Mindless of its just honours; with this key

Shakespeare unlock’d his heart; the melody

Of this small lute gave ease to Petrarch’s wound;

A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound;

With it Camõens sooth’d an exile’s grief;

The Sonnet glitter’d a gay myrtle leaf

Amid the cypress with which Dante crown’d

His visionary brow: a glow-worm lamp,

It cheer’d mild Spenser, call’d from Faery-land

To struggle through dark ways; and, when a damp

Fell round the path of Milton, in his hand

The Thing became a trumpet; whence he blew

Soul-animating strains—alas, too few!