Who was the Rival Poet?
An excerpt from Shakespeare's Sonnets. Ed. W. J. Rolfe. New York: American Book Company, 1905.
Among the minor questions relating to the Sonnets which have been the subject of no little controversy the only one that seems to claim notice here is the identity of the
"rival poet" of Sonnets 79-86. Spenser, Marlowe, Drayton, Nash, Daniel, and others have been suggested by the critics, and Mr. Lee adds Barnabe Barnes, "a poetic panegyrist of Southampton and a prolific sonneteer, who was deemed by contemporary critics certain
to prove a great poet." On the whole, Chapman, whom Professor Minto was the first to suggest, and whom Dowden, Furnivall, and many others have endorsed, is most likely to have been the poet whom Shakespeare had in mind. Mr. Lee, having dated the Sonnets in 1592 and 1593, naturally objects that Chapman had produced no conspicuously "great verse" until 1598, and that we find no complimentary sonnet addressed by him to Southampton until 1610; but he
had published poetry before 1598, and that date is early enough for the Herbert theory, in which, of course, the failure to praise Southampton does not count. The question, nevertheless, is one that cannot be definitely settled.
How to cite this article:
Rolfe, W. J. Ed. Who was the Rival Poet. From Shakespeare's Sonnets. New York: American Book Company, 1905. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2009. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/rivalpoet.html >.
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