Michael Drayton’s Sonnet 61 “Since there’s no Help, come let us kiss and part” Summary and Analysis

 Summary and Analysis of  “Since there’s no Help, come let us kiss and part”

Summary: A goodbye kiss is a painful event, but in some ways, a relief Drayton captures both those feelings, and others besides, in this sonnet The relief of closing out something obviously painful, the struggle to let Love die, the vain hope that love can be resurrected at the last moment, the mental justification, all of it is here. In the first eight lines or so, Drayton appears to be quite relieved to be ending this relationship. Basically, he says, “Since there’s nothing we can do to stop this breakup, let’s kiss, make an end of it, and not see one another. I’m glad to be free. We can shake hands, be done, and when we meet again, it’ll be like we have no love left for one another, no hint of it at all.” Drayton is trying awfully hard to convince himself that he is happy about this breakup, a position supported by the last six lines. “Be it not seen in either of our brows That we one jot of former love retain.” To me, it seems more passive than that A fleeting thought, a passing, “Maybe I loved her/him once.” Drayton treats it more like a secret pact between the two lovers, sealed with a goodbye kiss and handshake that cleanly breaks their vows. The last six lines are at odds with the first eight. The first eight are the mind’s rationalization of the breakup. It reads like Drayton trying to convince himself. That’s the desperate hope that somehow, love, with “his pulse failing” can be recovered. At the very last moment, when “Passion speechless lies; When faith is kneeling by his bed of death, and Innocence is closing up his eye” when everyone has “given him over”, “from death to life thou mightst him yet recover!” Maybe that last moment, that goodbye kiss, could somehow reignite that spark that has guttered ou Drayton doubts it, he told us as much, hoped as much, in the first eight lines. And yet, he hopes, desperately, that some miracle might save love, because, despite all our rationalizations, the parting is almost too painful to bear. That combination of seif-rationalization, the almost fierce “you get no more of me'” declaration of independence with the wild hope that Somehow love might be restored contains the nature of the goodbye kiss we want to be whole, and independent, and not know what it feels like to see a mutual pain reflected back on the face of an ex-lover. We want to be able to shake hands, part amiably, and leave it at that. Maybe we can maybe we can’t. But Drayton is right; we all have that hope, somehow We just can’t help it.

Analysis: The sonnet “Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part”, written by Michael Drayton, consists of fourteen lines, which is typical for the form of a sonnet. Moreover, this sonnet has three quatrains and one final couplet, which is the form of a Shakespearean sonnet. The three quatrains all have full rhymes at the end of the line. The couplet consists of an eye rhyme. The rhyme scheme itself is an alternating one, which is due to the fact that it is instead of the three quatrains all have ten syllables each, except for the couplet in the end which has the first twelve and in the second line eleven syllables. That is a factor for the importance of the couplet in the Shakespearean sonnet forms. The meter in this sonnet is unstressed stressed”, which makes it an iamb, and because it has ten syllables it makes it an iambic pentameter, which means that there are five iambs in each line, except for the final couplet. From line seven to line eight, right in the sonnet’s middle, lies the only enjambment of the sonnet, which means that there is no full stop, semicolon, or comment on the line’s end, and the meaning of the line is carried into the following one. That could implicate that the middle of the sonnet is as important as the final couplet in the end. Michael Drayton also frequently uses the same words at the beginning of the lines. Only five of the fourteen lines have a word at the beginning that has not been used before or after. His repetitions include conjunctions as well as an adverb. There is also one anaphora in the sonnet in lines ten to eleven, which both start with the adverb “when”. n lines nine to twelve he personalizes love, passion, faith, and innocence and gives them attributes.


Leave a Comment