Sonnet 17

By Richard Barnfield 1574–1627 Richard Barnfield
Cherry-lipt Adonis in his snowie shape,
    Might not compare with his pure ivorie white,
    On whose faire front a poet’s pen may write,
Whose roseate red excels the crimson grape,
His love-enticing delicate soft limbs,
    Are rarely fram’d t’intrap poore gazine eies:
    His cheeks, the lillie and carnation dies,
With lovely tincture which Apollo’s dims.
His lips ripe strawberries in nectar wet,
    His mouth a Hive, his tongue a hony-combe,
    Where Muses (like bees) make their mansion.
His teeth pure pearle in blushing correll set.
    Oh how can such a body sinne-procuring,
    Be slow to love, and quicke to hate, enduring?


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, Desire, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Greek & Roman Mythology

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, Desire, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Greek & Roman Mythology

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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