The Sonnet II

A poem by William Wordsworth

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 Camöens 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!

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