Poem Hunter
Oh, When I Was In Love With You
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Oh, When I Was In Love With You

Poem By Alfred Edward Housman

So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse
And found such fair assistance in my verse
As every alien pen hath got my use
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes that taught the dumb on high to sing
And heavy ignorance aloft to fly
Have added feathers to the learned's wing
And given grace a double majesty.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine and born of thee:
In others' works thou dost but mend the style,
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be;
But thou art all my art and dost advance
As high as learning my rude ignorance.

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Comments (2)

Strictly speaking this is the second in the series of rival poet sonnets, which runs from 76 to 86, with the interruption of 77 and 81, two climacteric sonnets, which are dedicated to mortality. The background to this group of sonnets seems to consist in the growth of rivalry for the young man's praise of poetic offerings. Were other poets writing sonnets to the youth, which were being received with adulation, or was he simply giving more attention and praise to any production from other poets, rather than devoting his energies to an appreciation of the love sonnets of the speaker? For they, after all, are the only thing that matters in this life (so the poet seems to say) . They are the all in all of art, while others are merely arid learning embellished with a bit of grace, a grace which belongs to the beloved anyway. It is not known who, if any, the rival poet or poets might have been shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet
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