Sonnet 16

By Richard Barnfield 1574–1627 Richard Barnfield
Long have I long’d to see my love againe,
    Still have I wisht, but never could obtaine it;
    Rather than all the world (if I might gaine it)
Would I desire my love’s sweet precious gaine.
Yet in my soule I see him everie day,
    See him, and see his still sterne countenaunce,
    But (ah) what is of long continuance,
Where majestie and beautie beares the sway?
Sometimes, when I imagine that I see him,
    (As love is full of foolish fantasies)
    Weening to kisse his lips, as my love’s fees,
I feele but aire: nothing but aire to bee him.
    Thus with Ixion, kisse I clouds in vaine:
    Thus with Ixion, feele I endles paine.


Source: The Longman Anthology of Poetry (Pearson, 2006)

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Poet Richard Barnfield 1574–1627

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Relationships, Love, Mythology & Folklore, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Sonnet

Biography

Richard Barnfield was born in Staffordshire, England. In his youth, Barnfield was deeply influenced by Virgil’s work and the 1591 publication of Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, which popularized the sonnet sequence. Best known for his poem “As it fell upon a day,” Barnfield is the only Elizabethan male poet apart from Shakespeare—whom he admired—to address love poems to a man.

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Poems by Richard Barnfield

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Mythology & Folklore, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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