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TH' Assyrian king, in peace, with foul desire

And filthy lusts that stain'd his regal heart ;


In war, that should set princely hearts on fire,
Did yield vanquisht for want of martial art.
The dint of swords from kisses seemed strange ;
And harder than his lady's side, his targe : 1
From glutton feasts to soldier's fare, a change ;
His helmet, far above a garland's charge :
Who scarce the name of manhood did retain,
Drenched in sloth and womanish delight.
Feeble of spirit, impatient of pain,
When he had lost his honour, and his right,
(Proud time of wealth, in storms appalled with dread,)
Murder'd himself, to shew some manful deed.

An English sonnet. Depicts the Assyrian king growing soft by lust. Depiction of it as "womanish delight." Distortion of his body depicted in the way it no longer takes to swords
and armor. ("The dint of swords from kisses seemed strange, / And harder than his lady's side, his targe.") Interesting at the end, where he is depicted as depleted, killing
himself is done to show some "manful deed," though the tone by some indicates some amount of scorn or derision, the best of terrible options after a depleted life.
It was a favourite exercise with the Italian poets, says Nott, with both the Greek and Latin writers of the lower ages, to compose short copies of verses sometimes in the form
of inscriptions, sometimes as epitaphs on the character of persons distinguished in history. Of this description is the present sonnet. The character of Sardanapalus, whether it
be a translation or an original composition, is drawn with a masterly hand. It is probable that Surrey had the conduct of Henry VIII. in mind. The unfortunate Anne Boleyn, who
had been sacrificed to that kings capricious passions, was Surreys first cousin. Leigh Hunts interpretation of this sonnet is interesting, for he conceives it to be a direct ridicule
of Henry under the guise of Sardanapalus, which was no doubt instigated from the beginning, as Nott intimates, because of the close family connections between Anne Boleyn
and Surrey. He says (English Sonnets), By murdering himself to show some manful deed, he means to intimate, that the only thing which was left for Henry to do, in order to
show himself not inferior to Sardanapalus, was to be bold enough to commit suicide; but, as Henry failed to do this, he is here delivered up to the disgust of posterity, as a
thoroughly unmanly scoundrel.
The boldness of the sonnet is wonderful, if we consider the times and the two men. Is it not probable that it was the real death-warrant of Surrey? Henry picked an ill-
founded quarrel with him on an assumption in his coat of arms; but what was that assumption, had it even been illegal, compared with this terrible invective? One imagines
Henry, with wrath-white lips, putting the copy of it into his pocket, and saying internally, Ill murder you, at all events. And he did.

Lines 1-4 may illustrate one of the three principal causes of reading comprehension difficulty in all reading, including poetry: the meanings of words (lexical), the grammatical or
syntactical structure of a sentence or passage (grammatical), and the meanings of figurative language or allusion.

Doing a little research I found out that Anne Boleyn was actually Howards first cousin so I felt she had been referenced in the lines, And filthy lust that stained his regal
heart,/In war, that should set princely hearts afire,/Vanquished did yield for want of martial art. (Lines 1-3). The poet shows his disapproval at the king in how gave in too his
base desires. This could be a parallel in how Henrys actions of claiming Anne Boleyn she was a kind of sacrifice to her kings capricious passions. This entire poem is that of
Howard critizising a king saying things like how the King, Drenched in sloth and womanish delight,/ Feeble of sprite, unpatient of pain Which Henry did seem to be ruled by
the lack of patience he had, and the love of his own ego. However, its the ending of the poem that makes it really dangerous for Howard because of how he stated that
Sardanapalus redeemed himself in a way by committing suicide. So, if other people at the time read this and saw the similarities between Henry the VIII and Sardanapalus they
would also realize how Howard pretty much alluding to that Henry was even worse than Sardanapalus because he wouldnt be man enough to kill himself.

Doing a little research I found out that Anne Boleyn was actually Howards first cousin so I felt she had been referenced in the lines, And filthy lust that stained his regal
heart,/In war, that should set princely hearts afire,/Vanquished did yield for want of martial art. (Lines 1-3). The poet shows his disapproval at the king in how gave in too his
base desires. This could be a parallel in how Henrys actions of claiming Anne Boleyn she was a kind of sacrifice to her kings capricious passions. This entire poem is that of
Howard critizising a king saying things like how the King, Drenched in sloth and womanish delight,/ Feeble of sprite, unpatient of pain Which Henry did seem to be ruled by
the lack of patience he had, and the love of his own ego. However, its the ending of the poem that makes it really dangerous for Howard because of how he stated that
Sardanapalus redeemed himself in a way by committing suicide. So, if other people at the time read this and saw the similarities between Henry the VIII and Sardanapalus they
would also realize how Howard pretty much alluding to that Henry was even worse than Sardanapalus because he wouldnt be man enough to kill himself.

ThAssyrians king, in peace with foul desire


Depicts the Assyrian king growing soft by lust. Depiction of their growing softness as womanish delight. Distortion of his body depicted in the way it no longer takes to swords
and armor. The dint of swords from kisses seemed strange, / And harder than his ladys side, his targe. The lust or sinful nature of a woman is taking away all of the traits that
make him a man. In battle the sword feels strange in his palms. Its interesting at the end, where he is depicted as depleted, killing himself is done to show some manful deed,
though the tone set by some indicates some amount of scorn or derision, the best of terrible options after a depleted life. This woman, this love, this lust has taken everything
of value to him, so the only thing he has left is to die a manly death.

Looking at this poem i immediately noticed a strong historical and even social aspect to the poem. The historical aspect could be a part of Henry Howards personal view of and
relationship with Henry VIII. It is known that Howard was not well liked by Henry VIII and his views of the king in this poem reflect that dislike and turmoil that has happened
between the two of them. One of the lines that immediately caught my attention in relating this poem to Henry VIII was line 2, And flighty lust that stained his regal heart
mainly do to Henry VIIIs many known wives and his lust for them and other beautiful women. Instead of focusing on wartime, Howard makes it clear that this king is much
more preoccupied with his other personal affairs.

In a social aspect I found the end of the poem to show some social issues regarding the honor of a man. He talks a lot in the end about how if this king were in any way
honorable he would Murder[ed] himself, to show some manful deed (line 14). This line shows a lot about how killing yourself was still seen as socially acceptable if it was
about regaining honor. This king has shown very little honor according to Howard as he has been Drenched in sloth and womanish delight (line 10) for most of his reign,
Howard believes that if he would just kill himself, maybe he would regain some of the honor he lost.

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