Elizabethan Sonnets
June 2010


Having just read a book called, Elizabethan Sonnets: ed Maurice Evans; rev Roy J Booth, I realised what a wonderfully rich period the Elizabethan era was for poetry. I also realised that if asked, the average poet would only be able to bring to mind Shakespeare and possibly Spencer as sonnet writers of that time.

The purpose of this project is to introduce poets to the sonnets of other poets around the Elizabethan period, and as there was not a huge period of time from the introduction of the sonnet into the English court (Henry VIII) by Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard; a little liberty will be taken and I will start with them.

In the book, I noticed several poets not being mentioned including Shakespeare, and I wondered why until I realised they only included poets that were published in Elizabeth's reign. I wonder how many of you realise that Shakespeare's sonnets were not printed until 1609, six years after the death of Elizabeth, in early 1603, and during the reign of James 1 who also wrote sonnets and continued the Elizabethan era until his death, and so both remain "In Time". The purpose here is to take the literal meaning of the "period", and not the factual one of her reign.

Each link will take you to a site containing all the sonnets that I have been able to discover at this point in time belonging to that poet, and I think is the most comprehensive of its kind on the www. I hope soon to be able to add more.

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts about this project.

Elizabethan Sonnets

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey George Gascoigne (1525-1577)
Giles Fletcher (1549-1611) William Alabaster (1568-1640) Sir Walter Ralegh (c.1552-1618)
Edmund Spenser (c.1552-1599) Bartholomew Griffin Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke
Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) Thomas Watson (c. 1557-1592) Anne Cecil de Vere
Henry Constable (1562-1613) William Smith Charles Best
EC Richard Lynche Samuel Daniel (1562-1619)
Mark Alexander Boyd Joshua Sylvester (1563-1618) Michael Drayton (1563-1631)
Barnabe Barnes (1569-1609) Lady Mary Wroth (1587-1651) William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Alexander Craig (c.1567-1627) Sir John Davies (1569-1626) Richard Barnfield (1574-1627)
William Percy (1575-1648) Thomas Lodge (1558-1625) King James 1 (1566-1625)
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Anon - Zepheria

Canzon 6

My fate, oh not my fault hath me debard
From forth thy fauors sunny Sanctuary,
Vnto the deare applause of thy regard,
Witnesse the world how my gest did marry.
My tears, my sighs, all haue I summ'd in thee:
Conceyt the totall, doe not partialize
And then accept of heir infinitie
As part payment to exacting eyes
And yet thy trophy to enoble more
My heart prepares anew to Thezaurize
Sighs and loue options sike as it sent of yore
Saue number they, faith only these englories:
Yet though I thus enwealthy thy exchequer
Seem it not strange, I liue Zepherias debte.

If you have any suggestions or questions regarding these poems please email me

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Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will we realise that money cannot be eaten
- Cree Indian Prophesy