The Phaeton sonnet is the only dedicatory sonnet in John Florio's Second Fruits (1591). Minto suggested in 1874 that 'Phaeton' is Shakespeare. The attribution cannot be lightly dismissed, given the sonnet's Shakespearean form, imagery, language and metrics.

Phaeton to his friend Florio

Sweet friend, whose name agrees with thy increase,
How fit a rival art thou of the Spring,
For when each branch hath left his flourishing,
And green-locked Summer's shady pleasures cease,
She makes the winter's storms repose in peace,
And spends her franchise on each living thing,
The daisies sprout, the little birds do sing,
Herbs, gums and plants do vaunt of their release;
So when that all our English wits lay dead
(Except the laurel, that is ever green),
Thou with thy Fruits our barrenness o'erspread,
And set thy flowery pleasance to be seen;
Such fruits, such flowerets of morality,
Were ne'er before brought out of Italy.

Works Cited

Minto, William. Characteristics of English Poets from Chaucer to Shirley. 2nd ed. London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1885, p.371.

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