Literatura Inglesa V: apuntes
Introduction to English Literature V:
1603 (the thought that this was the end of England)
Death of Elizabeth I of Tudor. Died, unmarried and heirless, the legend tells that she died virgin, but it's not true. There came a capital change in this period. After her came James I and VI, he was Scottish. And a Scottish in the English Kingdom was not very good accepted. Furthermore, his main help came from Spain, a country which was hated by the English, because years before tried to conquer England. This made him unpopular. He also quitted the nobility to lots of English gentlemen, and declared himself in favour of the Absolutism.
The atmosphere became more obscure and literature began circulating outside the court as a method of criticism.
1492 / 1606 Beginning of the colonization of America after Spain had done it. James I encouraged this colonization and dissatisfied people had the chance to begin a new life outside the United Kingdom.
This change of regime from Elizabethan to Jacobean is the division between English Literature IV and V.
Jacobean Literature is English Literature V.
Andrew Marvell: “To his Coy Mistress”:
“Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love's day;
Thou by the Indian Gange's side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the Flood;
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found,
Nor, in marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long preserv'd virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave's a fine and private place,
But none I think do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow - chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.”
The poem is divided into 3 stanzas, the first one longer than the other 2, but the poem is not written in a normal usage, it seems to be made for blank verse.
There are differences between the 3 sections of the poem:
Verb usage: in the first section the conditional is the most used, in the second section it is the future “shall” what is used and in the third section the present simple.
The other two sections are a summary of the first part with the two main ideas of the poem: ubi sunt (time passes quickly) and carpe diem (enjoy the time). In the first 2 lines of the 2nd section, we can see the myth of Phaeton, who moved the sun by a chariot, then someone borrowed it and catastrophe came (line 22). We're overtaken by time means that we die. The chariot never overtakes him…this shows the beginning of the algebra in the XVII C, this is a mathematical formula. In the 3rd section there are some relevant things, like: “…the worms shall try”. The stress is in the word worm: the worms will try you instead of me, I'm trying your virginity, if you don't let me, then worms will do it in the future. Try can mean taste, assault or trial.
Implicit drama between a man and a woman. The man's trying to persuade the woman to have sex, but the woman is the criticism from the point of view of the Christianism: sex before marrying is punished with Hell. Why should be good to enjoy the moment, when we are going to be punished for eternity? Better to wait, but from the beginning the man is denying this (line 3), because in eternity we would get bored, she could refuse him eternally.
The word COMPLAIN: this word can mean 2 things: quejarse (dominant meaning today) and lyric poetry (not necessary with music). That's what they'll do in eternity, he'll complain, whereas the woman will be looking for rubies.
Doctrinal discussion: some say that before death, soul and body are separated and only the soul goes to Heaven…Then, how could their love be consumed? (line 10).
Vegetal love = slow, passive…
The last couple of the poem talks about the sun: when two persons are happily in love, they would like to stop time. But time passes quickly, so they must try to live fast.
In the Elizabethan period, to die means also to have an orgasm, the leyend said that the more orgasms you had, the more shortened your life was. But in line 39 we have the statement that time eats everything (Tempus edax rerum), “slow chapp'd power”, time chews slowly, it's inexorable, but before eats you, you have time enough to eat, too, and the NOW is the time for the lovers to eat each other, according to the mathematical formula said before. ENJOY THE NOW.
Not a single word of the poem is accidental, everything fits in the poem = details. For example, animals are mentioned, like birds of prey (rapaces), they are voracious, hectic, like the lovers. This poem could be a sort of invitation to suicide, as well.
The opposite to these birds is the Phenix, a bird that is chaste, burns into the fire, dies and rebirths, it is eternal.
Line 42: an enigma “our sweetness, up into one ball”. The myth of the Androgynes: find your match in the world and make the perfect ball, like the yin-yan.
John Donne: “ The Flea”
“MARK but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.
Thou know'st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead;
Yet enjoys before it woo,
And pamper'd swells with one blood made of two;
And this, alas! is more than we would do.
O stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, yea, more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is.
Though parents grudge, and you, we're met,
And cloister'd in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that self - murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it suck'd from thee?
Yet thou triumph'st, and say'st that thou
Find'st not thyself nor me the weaker now.
`Tis true; then learn how false fears be;
Just so much honour, when thou yield'st to me,
Will waste, as this flea's death took life from thee.
It is an erotic poem and has dramatization and it is metaliterary (about the conceit).
Stanza 1: The word “this” is the main problem here. What is it? What function “this” is fulfilling? We don't know at all. They are not coreferential, they don't refer to the same thing.
“…this enjoys…” the subject of “enjoys” must be at least + animate. The author is looking for a conceit, knowing that the word “this” is not correct.
“Yet this enjoys before it woo…” the male speaker wants to enjoy before seducing the woman; but the last sentence says that the flea enjoys twice, it gets pleasure for twice: yours and mine.
“Oh, stay” means wait, stop: don't kill it. Here, the woman is the active character and who makes the only practical action: she killed the flea.
Lines 20 - 22: comparison between the flea and Jesus
from death comes more life
from dishonour comes more honour
Line 25: the flea's dead and it didn't take life from us, the speaker blasphemously compares it to Jesus' death and says that in fact from its death becomes more life, like happened with Christ's life.
Killing the flea is the same as losing virginity.
Honour, for a man, has nothing to do with sexuality, whereas for a woman it is exactly that, in this century.
John Donne: “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning”
“ As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes” and some say, “No”.
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
`Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears;
Men reckon what it did, and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers' love
-Whose soul is sense-cannot admit
Of absence, `cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.
But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.
And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun”.
Valediction means farewell
Death means being temporarily separated, that is what produces grief and exaggerating, mourning.
The poem is strange in the sense that it is totally serious in its tone.
Line 25: they = souls. The woman is compared to a fixed foot of a compass.
“…and makes me end where I begun” (he won't come back). He means something like: in my roaming you'll be always in my mind, if you remain faithful.
Lines 17 - 21: “mentally united” doesn't seem very serious. Everybody changes in body and soul and nothing lasts forever, and at the end the only true thing is the death.
At the beginning, he compares the separation with the death, he says: “let's make no noise”, which is a hiperboly.
Line 5: “let us melt…” if the poem's about going away, what means that? That he wants her soul to take it with him (wants her death). That is in fact ridiculous, it says something like: let me go away and go where you want, because melt also means sorrow. Melt here causes ambiguity and confusion.
Lines 7 - 8: words like laity / profanation… tells us that this is a religious love and that idea comes practically in all of Donne's poems, love poems are religious poems in many ways.
Robert Herrick: “Delight in Disorder”
“A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness.
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fair distraction;
An erring lace which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoestring, in whose tie
I see a wild civility;
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.”
He spent most of the time in western countries.
1620's - Puritans vs. Anglicans
1650's - Civil War (for many people it was not). Areas and areas were practically unaffected.
George Herbert: “Easter Wings”
Christ's passion and death
Christ is fully God and a mortal man
Passion: this pain inflicted to a God, for orthodox Christians, is a glaring contradiction involved in this: the resurrection and this passion and death are against reason, because he's not a churchman, but a God. God is 1 and 3 at the same time. So it's impossible in Christian belief that God could die, theologically is a mystery and you can only believe it in faith.
Christ died to redime human beings, but also because he was a human himself and subject to death, he assumed men's nature. Man's mortal because of Adam's sin, but if Christ wants to save humans, he must cover the whole scope, he goes from being the king of Jews to crucifixion, reserved only for low people = FALL.
Crucifixion is extremely painful, extremely humiliating, it means prolonging life to produce suffering.
He falls and then reascends, it's a vertiginous fall with a vertiginous ascension = RESURRECTION. The consequence is that humans are redimed from death and promised to go to Heaven.
Birds have wings and larks (alondras) have a flight like soaring and landing (soar and fall). They normally fly in couples (male / female). They normally sing in flight. So then there is a sort of conceit between what larks do and Christ's mystery.
Al poetry is aural and visual, at this time no poet could have accepted an 80% visual poem, but Herbert did it.
The form of the poem seems to be like wings. 4 wings = 2 birds = Larks fly in pairs. Normally one pulls the other, one is stronger than the other. The lines go from longer (pentameter) to shorter (monometer) and then the other way round.
Line 1: “wealth and store”
Line 5: “poor”
Line 14: “thinne” (like Christ in his passion)
“till he became
O let me rise = The spacing between these 2 words (most and poor) is longer than expected. When you read it, intonation is lost and meaning is confusing, the punctuation disappears, then we can read it in 2 ways:
- till he became most poor: with thee, o let me rise
- till he became most poor with thee: o let me rise (you, Lord, are the example of how miserable human beings can be. You're the prototype of humanity.
Line 10: meaning that “flight” (upwards), the further the fall is, the longer the flight.
2nd part of the poem: It's apparently Herbert, the 1st person, who talks and compares his thinness to Christ's: “that it became most thinne. With thee…”. Christ is the prototype of human kind.
Line 11: “my tender age…” the speaker is in sorrow because of Adam's sin. Herbert was born in the post lapsarian period (after Christ's death) in sorrow, like all human beings. Christ born in sorrow, too (in poverty). Herbert came from a very rich aristocratic family, in a sense he was like a king, so this sentence is a contrast: maybe it is because he is morally in sorrow (he went away from his family to become a poor common parish of a town in the country). He born in sorrow because he born rich and that makes him feel guilty.
Herbert is muted, it has simplicity (diction, uses neologism). He uses three uncommon words:
Harmoniously: used in music, ethics and psychology
Combine: associated with the verb “conjoin”, coming from a Christian handbook of marriage, meaning “to make love, to couple, to join things together (lines 17 - 18). This poem is mystic (experience of fusion - sexual connotations - with divinity).
Imp: as a verb means engraft (injertar). He's talking about engrafting feathers (falconry), a sort of surgery. By doing that to birds, you can reinforce the flight. The 2 birds in this poem are engrafted by their feathers. It is like mixing bloods, with Christ's strength (the feathers), Herbert would be able to fly again. Herbert is explaining his own feelings.
Andrew Marvell: “The Coronet”
“ When for the thorns with which I long, too long,
With many a piercing wound,
My Saviour's head have crowned,
I seek with Garlands to redress that wrong,-
Through every garden, every mead,
I gather flowers (my fruits are only flowers),
Dismantling all the fragrant towers
That once adorned my shepherdess's head:
And now, when I have summed up all my store,
Thinking (so I my self deceive)
So rich a Chaplet thence to weave
As never yet the King of Glory wore,
Alas! I find the Serpent old,
That, twining in his speckled breast,
About the flowers disguised, does fold
With wreaths of fame and interest.
Ah, foolish man, that wouldst debase with them,
And mortal glory, Heaven's diadem!
But thou who only couldst the Serpent tame,
Either his slippery knots at once untie,
And disentangle all his winding snare,
Or shatter too with him my curious frame,
And let these wither - so that he may die -
Though set with skill, and chosen out with care;
That they, while thou on both their spoils dost tread,
May crown Thy feet, that could not crown Thy head.”
Coronet: crown, less ornamented crown for smaller status' persons.
There are series of words in the vocabulary of this poem pointing to a feature that unites all of them and it is that there all words related to the ornamentation of the head, something ornamental and symbolic. Poems are also ornamental, like crowns, and they ornament twice: for the person who reads the poem and for the person who writes it, the poet, it works twice.
This idea is the essence of the poem, the 1st goal is to achieve glory for oneself. This poem's been dedicated to God, but it could have been written for more than one person, it can describe other things and not only religion.
Line 4: Garland (guirnalda) : something long made up of flowers, synonym for crown. All the words mean ornaments for one's head.
A crown can be wore by monarcs and kings and another kind of crowns are used for winners. Christ wore that crown of thorns on his head put by some sections of the Jews, who said that he was a false messiah, a mockery that they put on Christ's head. These kinds of poems have to be very carefully written by poets.
Lines 1 - 3: the speaker has crowned Christ's head with thorns.
Lines 4 and 7 - 8: he admits (line 8) to have written pastoral poetry (shepherd) and he has sinned against God, a poem is compared to a tower (peinado del siglo 16 que llevaban las mujeres con el pelo hacia arriba). He's talking about unmaking the make up and by this method, getting to God.
Marvell is promising that he'll change from pastoral to religious poetry, but he is commiting a sin: pride, he thinks that his poetry is the best.
Lines 9 - 12: “I'll write a poem better than anything that has written so far to God. This sin is like Adam's sin, whose projection of his sin is a snake. This, in a sense, is a self defeating poem.
Fame / Interest: if you write for those two motives, then your poetry will be destroyed (shatter).
8 lines till the end of the poem: 3 + 3 + 2 = And / But (structure of an Italian poem) + Shakespearian Sonnet.
Lines 17 - 18: couplet, from the point of view of retorics: the subject pronoun doesn't appear: (thou) foolish Man. Why uses the speaker the word “man” for himself?
Serpent Old: the old sin of pride, men are subject to commit the sin, every human person.
After the “volta” we have But and an address: thou is an imploration. Thou is God (you, the only one who could tame the serpent). Thou = God.
There are 2 incompatible courses of action: untie vs. shatter, it's one thing ore the other.
Disintangle / Dismantle: (releasing a piece from another) - at the top of the poem - Serpents are most often represented like a circle (not necessary), like a twine. All elements in this poem have that form and are in this way connected.
Snare = “trampa”: he cannot write religious poetry in a pastoral way, so he asks God to disentangle the snare or shatter it.
He's asking God for one thing (untie) or the other (shatter), but he prefers the second one “their Spoils dost tread, may crown thy Feet”. Spoils can mean 3 things, but one of the meanings is: muda de las serpientes.
“may crown thy Feet”: the poem must be stepped by God. God shatters the serpent and dies = God shatters the poem. Killing the snake is like tame, God makes it harmless, but the poet's proposing not only taming, but killing it with the help of his poem. Again, the poet is being proud: “destroy my poem and you will kill the snake”. But how can anybody destroy a poem? He asks God to be humble and to stop writing erotic poetry and write only religious poetry. That's why he implores Him to shatter the poem, the work of art, something that it is already written and in the poet's mind. He asks for something like destroying his mind, going mad, so that he could only write meaningless poetry.
Andrew Marvell: “Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland”
“ THE forward youth that would appear,
Must now forsake his Muses dear,
Nor in the shadows sing
His numbers languishing.
`Tis time to leave the books in dust,
And oil the unused armour's rust,
Removing from the wall
The corslet of the hall.
So restless Cromwell could not cease
In the inglorious arts of peace,
But through adventurous war
Urged his active star:
And like the three-fork'd lightning, first
Breaking the clouds where it was nurst,
Did thorough his own Side
His fiery way divide:
For `tis all one to courage high,
The emulous, or enemy;
And with such, to enclose
Is more than to oppose;
Then burning through the air went,
And palaces and temples rent;
And Caesar's head at last
Did through his laurels blast.
`Tis madness to resist or blame
The face of angry heaven's flame;
And if we would speak true,
Much to the Man is due
Who, from his private gardens, where
He lived reserved and austere,
(as if his highest plot
To plant the bergamot),
Could by industrious valour climb
To ruin the great work of time,
And cast the Kingdoms old
Into another mould;
Though Justice against Fate complain
And plead the ancient Rights in vain -
But those do hold or break
As men are strong or weak;
Nature, that hateth emptiness,
Allows of penetration less,
And therefore must make room
Where greater spirits come.
What field of all the civil war
Where his were not the deepest scar?
And Hampton shows what part
He had of wiser art,
Where, twining subtle fears with hope,
He wove a net of such a scope
That Charles himself might chase
To Carisbrook's narrow case,
That thence the Royal actor borne
The tragic scaffold might adorn:
While round the armed bands
Did clap their bloody hands.
He nothing common did or mean
Upon that memorable scene,
But with his keener eye
The axe's edge did try;
Nor call'd the Gods, with vulgar spite,
To vindicate his helpless right;
But bow'd his comely head
Down, as upon a bed.
-This was that memorable hour
Which first assured the forced power:
So when they did design
The Capitol's first line,
A Bleeding Head, where they begun,
Did fright the architects to run;
And yet in that the State
Foresaw its happy fate!
And now the Irish are ashamed
To see themselves in one year tamed:
So much one man can do
That does both act and know.
They can affirm his praises best,
And have, though overcome, confest
How good he is, how just
And fit for highest trust.
Nor yet grown stiffer with command,
But still in the Republic's hand -
How fit he is to sway
That can so well obey!
He to the Common's feet presents
A Kingdom for his first year's rents,
And (what he may) forbears
His fame, to make it theirs:
And has his sword and spoils ungirt
To lay them at the Public's skirt;
So when the falcon high
Falls heavy from the sky,
She, having kill'd, no more doth search
But on the next green bough to perch,
Where, when he first does lure
The falconer has her sure.
-What may not then our Isle presume
While victory his crest does plume?
What may not others fear
If thus he crowns each year?
As Caesar he, ere long, to Gaul,
To Italy an Hannibal,
And to all States not free
Shall climacteric be.
The Pict no shelter now shall find
Within his parti-colour'd mind,
But from his valour sad
Shrink underneath the plaid-
Happy, if in the tufted brake
The English hunter him mistake,
Nor lay his hounds in near
The Caledonian deer.
But Thou, the War's and Fortune's son,
March indefatigably on;
And for the last effect
Still keep the sword erect:
Besides the force it has to fright
The spirits of the shady night,
The same arts that did gain
A power, must it maintain.”
Cromwell: military leader, he conquered an island and repressed people there… he was making war in a literal sense. He was also the best military officer and organizing the army against the king. He was elected to the Parliament as a man of the church, under the Puritan program. Up to 1650, he was accessory in the trial and execution of Charles I and when he came back from Ireland he wanted to impose his dictatorial will in England under a protectorate (the Commonwealth): repression of the freedom of speech. He wasn't executed, he died a couple of years before the Restoration and the Diktatur went down. The Irish hated him, because he went there with 2 aims:
Military: all Irish, rural and aristocratic, were in favour of the king and he fought against the support of the king.
Take away as much land as possible from the Catholic Irish to give it to the Protestants.
GENOCIDE: he killed priests, women, children… Savage / Cruelty.
It is an extremely circled poem because of many reasons, published by itself under the name of Marvell when he was 30, later on it was suppressed and censored because it is a homage to Cromwell.
Ode: poems written in a state of trance / unconsciousness and very often they're improvised, but in the Roman tradition, an ode is the main defendant of the structure of genre. Marvell's odes normally deal with politics and the origin and exercise of power.
The tone of the poem is muted, cool and balanced and went well with his personality: discreet. But it has ambiguity and gives some importance to the execution of Charles I.
The poem is written in couplets and the stanzas are heteromorphic, the 2 first are longer, it is like a ballad, but just the other way round.
Couplets 1 - 2: intellectuals vs. men of action. Somebody must forsake his muses, he must give up in some intellectual activity. “His numbers (feet / rhyme) languishing (are ill and consequently, they are going to die)”. He left the books and took the armour.
“forward youth” = ambitious youth (somebody who wants to move forward). He refers to the beginning of Cromwell's life, he's thinking about an act of origin, someone who made a decision and changed his life. It can also be understood as Cromwell as a role model for young people.
Couples 3 - 4: image of a rousted armour, tells us about the civil war, there's an opposition: if Cromwell is young, how can his armour be rousted?
“restless Cromwell could not cease”: generality in line 1 and directly Cromwell in this line.
“inglorious arts of peace”: when there were peace in the Horatio times, people went to live to the country, here it is just the opposite. The epic is an heroism about war, but here Marvell writes no epic, he tries to make an epic character. Cromwell was a landowner and in this poem he's intended to be a sort of gardener.
Lines 53 - 73: very important in this reading.
John Milton (1608 - 1674): “Paradise Lost”
1631: “L'Allegro” , “El Pensero”
1644: “About divorce”
1657 / 58: begins composition of “Paradise Lost”
1667: first edition of “Paradise Lost”
1674: second edition
A bit of his history:
Milton was a republican writer in the British culture. He was a member of parliament during the Civil War in the 40's and he was in favour of the execution of Charles I. he was almost executed, but he was finally saved by Marvell.
Immensely famous, he was very related with the idea of the Renaissance Man, a man of knowledge, because he was really learned: he knew Latin and had poems originally written in Latin and a few ones written originally in Greek, he also had some written originally in Italian and was familiar with Hebrew. For all this, he was really known in the 50's and became more active about religion from the 60's onwards. One of his works, “Comus”, is the typical example of “mask”, that is: a play which includes the audience in the improvisation and that was played in rich houses with literary texts.
Before the Civil War, he was also a traveller abroad and was followed by the Romanticists (like Shelley). He also met Galileo and was the first English writer interested in astronomy (in “Paradise Lost” we can find this).
Milton ended his life blind by a disease, but a couple of years before he dictated his poems aloud with the help of his three daughters and published “Paradise Lost” with kinds of personal events, confessional sometimes in his tone when he, for example, talked about blindness or darkness.
When talking about muses, he invokes them seriously and connects with his life and with his pain and he went through deep depression at the end of his life, blind and poor.
In religion, he was at some time close to Calvinists, he was of course Protestant and in matters of doctrine, he was deeply Orthodox, he was the 1st to argue in favour of divorce for theological reasons and many other ones (“About Divorce”: 1644). In later writes, he wrote about the freedom of speech (“Aeropagitica”: 1644).
Milton had lots of enemies, but he also had enemies in the 20th Century, like T. S. Eliot or Pound. They invented some grounded things against him, for example that he didn't write in English.
It talks about the origins of humanity, but if we think about Milton's life, it has another tone, because he had hoped for an utopian republican England in the years of the Revolution and that went all down when monarchy was restored. This text is practically the state of how England was and its political situation.
Book 1: 1st paragraph.
“Of Mans first Disobedience…”: the verb for this sentence is sing, an imperative in line 6: sing, Muse, of Mans first disobedience: this shows Milton's complexity in syntax (Hyperbaton: distortion of order). This is all the time repeated in Milton. He invokes the muse under control of his own syntax. There are more examples of hyperbaton in lines 2-3 and in line 10.
There are lots of words related to the Bible. Oreb was the name of the mountain where Moises handed the 10 commandments. The desert of Sinai is also mentioned… but he mentioned the muses, who are from Greek mythology! The book begins with the treatment of the muse, virgin on blasphemy, very seriously treated here, he links Greek and Christian material, crucial to the understanding of Milton's poetry.
Line 26: “and justify the wayes of God to men”. The meaning of this word is not the meaning of its normal use in our time, it means: to show the justice of God's ways to men. The word justify is important because Milton claims to be offering us the reason for writing this poem and that is the essence of the poem. He's not going against the church, but he throws a question: if God is omniscient, and this is a poem of disobedience and punishment (for pride), if you disobey one important aspect, then punishment can be logical. But if the master knows before hand that the man disobeys him, then there is no disobedience at all and no sin. Maybe everything is done in order to punish, that is logic, and if God knows everything, he cannot have enemies. If that is true, God is bad because all is done in order to punish men and Satan is the agent of God.
In the origin there was good and evil… it is impossible to reconcile that by saying that God is powerful, how then can evil exist if God is good? Then God is evil, too…
Milton underlines that Satan is doing everything under the eyes of God, that is what all the poem is about, but it is not unorthodox because this thought was there before Milton's time. Man was silly, innocent and not created perfect, Satan will be always an agent of God and used by him, he'll always be a servant.
Lines 157 - 170: “to be weak is miserable…” From God's view, what happens is that out of evil, He finds the good.
Genre of “Paradise Lost”:
It seems to be a sort of epic poem, a very long poem commenting other poems (like the Greeks) a narrative poem. It has action characters developed in time. Milton uses conventions of nature to deal with something religious with the purpose of making a parody, but it matches all the conventions of the epic. There is, although, an important turning point: the epic is connected to heroic poetry and involves a long list of characters in the war. But it reaches a goal justifying something: it sees history as an aim in the foundation of nationhood. Milton was concerned about that, and mixed ideas in order to do a justification in general terms, not for a concrete idea, but the original Anglo - Saxons had been a free nation. Milton at first wanted to write directly about that grounding the Protestant religion, but he had to give up because of the crisis of the Republic, so he switched and wrote about a human nation, being ambitious. But then rose the theological question of God's plan, which is simply to be Adam as Eneas was and found the new land.
The most prestigious literary genre with very strong conventions and really defined, so you can write an epic about any theme. It's not as free as novels, it is fixed and very tempting for writing a paradox, a mock-epic.
Conventions for the epic poetry:
Invocation to the Muse: always in the first position in the poem, and parodical for Christian readers, against their beliefs and it's highly original in Milton: if humanity is redeemed by Christ in a historical time, what happened to people who lived before Him? Are they good or bad? He adapts and reinterprets something pagan to Christianity. The muse in Milton is God's help for the explanation for all of this.
Simile: defined as “a lengthy comparison between 2 highly complex objects or actions”, like metaphors: Leaves, in the Iliada, are a simile for men and life and death. This appears in Milton's book 1 (302): “thick, as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks…” Leaves = Men, death is a consequence of Satan's actions and not only for Adam and Eve. Milton, in a sense, is making Satan responsible for mortality.
Questions about characters' motives: non-retorical, motives for actions. In the case of Milton, for example in lines 143 - 155 “what if he our conqueror…” is like saying: what if God has “forgiven” us in order to serve Him? (said in line 151 clearly).
Monologue: dramatic language: the use of characters which give the epic or dramatic point with dramatic language. There are some indications in Milton's “Paradise Lost” with quotations in direct speech, it is not only Satan, but God and Christ in Heaven in books 2, 4 or 5. The whole poem has direct speech, this is Shakespeare's influence, most of all in the monologues. Milton wanted to use the monologue in book 1 because it allows to do a direct contact with the characters (identification without providing a clear opinion, it can be found in lines 84 - 124 and 157 - 192, paying attention at Satan's syntax and style).
Use of lists, generally preceding battles: Lists of names have a purpose: the origin of Pagan Gods was the name of these fallen Angels (376 - 380) and it is the Muse to whom Milton addresses to say the names.
Milton's language: in line 6, at the beginning of the poem, Milton mixes up 2 different traditions very deliberately (pagan and Christian). Urania is the name of the Heavenly Muse, the muse of astronomy. This is relevant for the fact that the angels feel from heaven. This poem is about PLACE, the place that is both narrow (Milton was blind) and infinite.
This poem has verse with no rhyme, but rhythm = blank verse, practised during the 20th C. Milton made iambic pentameter with no rhyme, but with rhythm. The iambic pentameter is an extremely astringent form, but also irregular (you cannot divide the stanza into 2). Positions are filled with feet (made up of 2 syllables).
The irregularity comes here: only positions 3 and 4 have to be iambic, if not, the rhyme is unmetrical (the convention breaks). The 1st position and the last one must be clearly trochaic, the rest iambic. Milton works with all this in mind and makes his rhymes unmetrical. He compared blank verse to liberty and rhyme to tirany. Rhyme for him is medieval. He made a political point of not having rhyme.
Beginning of the poem: the poem has 3 stops: the beginning, line 16 and the ending. In the enjambment of lines 21 - 22 he put what we call “systematic enjambment”. It also has hyperbaton, very typical of Milton. This is a literary element in Spanish language, but not in English.
Line 23: there's a heavy break in punctuation (hyperbaton + enjambment).
Lines 1 and 2: there's no anaphora because there are no syntactic regularities. All that is because of the hyperbaton > syntactically complex.
Line 4: “With loss of Eden…” is elliptical, it would be “with THE loss of Eden”. There is a combination of syntactic complexity, epithet and paradox: “the grater Man” = Christ.
Relative clauses are numerous and you need to think in order to see where all that comes from (cataphoric references).
The vocabulary in Milton is very ambiguous and very high-classed, for example:
Line 1: “Disobedience” = this English word is unlike the rest of the English words, it is synthetic and with prefixes. It is more like a Germanic or Romanic language.
Line 2: “mortal” = it is a normal word in English, although it is Romanic. But it breaks the feet division of the verse “mortal taste”. So it is another factor of irregularity because it is placed between feet.
Line 84: Satan recovers consciousness after having fallen from Heaven and after the battle he's lost. He says that his punishment is cruel and attempts to address an audience. He's the great leader of the Fallen Angels, but his speech is really chaotic and this was strange for readers at Milton's time. The 1st sentence is quite unfinished and it switches from 2nd to 3rd person. It keeps being something missing, it could be ellipsis or it can be thought as chaos in Satan's mind. It could be a sort of MENTAL CHAOS, something expected in a person who's been falling for 9 days and 9 nights and switching from 1 idea to another without connection. Satan is not being eloquent here, he's in chaos.
Syntax here is used to show mental confusion: with incoherent syntax, Milton makes a psychological portrait.
Second passage: the most high-valued of the invocations to the Muse, the longer, the more extensive. It goes from blindness to light and it is connected to air / inspiration. He introduced light in the poem (biographical). He also talks about the speculation of the beginning of life. He invokes the Muse from pulling from Hell to Heaven, almost physically. But he invokes her to move to Heaven because he can't, it would be a blasphemy and this is close to what Satan did at the end of the Book 2, where He flies to Eden.
At the beginning of Book 3, Milton has to move to Heaven, just the opposite direction from the Epic, where the characters changed to Hell. Here, Milton changes from Hell, first, to Heaven.
He is an antihero, He has the opposite values of the hero, and it is exactly what He says.
Richard Lovelace (1618 - 1658): “The Grasshopper”.
He is just the opposite from Milton and is easier to read. He is the prototype of a cavalier poet. The word “cavalier” has a technical use. It is not simply monarchical, but also at the service of the king Charles I, in the Caroline Period.
He wrote poetry for the king and his family was middle aristocracy, personally associated with the king. He experienced richness, but he spent all his money in the Civil War to save the king and the Royalist Party. He finally died in complete poverty.
“O thou that swing'st upon the waving hair
Of some well-filled oaten beard,
Drunk every night with a delicious tear
Dropped thee from heaven, where now th' art reared.
The joys of earth and air are thine entire,
That with thy feet and wings dost hop and fly;
And when thy poppy works thou dost retire
To thy carved acorn-bed to lie.
Up with the day, the sun thou welcom'st then,
Sport'st in the gilt-plats of his beams,
And all these merry days mak'st merry men,
Thyself, and Melancholy streams.
But ah the sickle! Golden ears are cropped;
Ceres and Bacchus bid good-night;
Sharpe frosty fingers all your flowers have topped,
And what scythes spared, winds shave off quite.
Poore verdant fool! And now green ice, thy joys
Large and as lasting, as thy perch of grass,
Bid us lay in `gainst winter, rain, and poise
Their floods, with an o'erflowing glass.
Thou best of men and friends! We will create
A genuine summer in each other's breast;
And spite of this cold time and frozen fate
Thaw us a warm seat to our rest.
Our sacred hearths shall burn eternally
As vestal flames, the North-wind, he
Shall strike his frost-stretched wings, dissolve and fly
This Etna in Epitome.
Dropping December shall come weeping in,
Bewail th' usurping of his reign;
But when in showers of old Greek we begin,
Shall cry he hath his crown again!
Night, as clear Hesper, shall our tapers whip
From the light casements, where we play,
And the dark hag from her black mantle strip,
And stick there everlasting day.
Thus richer than untempted kings are we,
That asking nothing, nothing need:
Though Lord of all what seas embrace; yet he
That wants himself, is poor indeed”.
The Grasshopper is a famous character “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, created by Esopus.
Here, there is a splendid reference to poverty and a splendid description of what it is. It becomes better when you think about Lovelace's life. The poem is about friendship, the main idea is this:
Puritans = Ants
Cavaliers = Grasshoppers
In the fable, ants were brutally cruel. Can there be friendship or coalition between them? Cannot be a 3rd political party, a mixture?
That was the thought of most of the British population, but what were they, ants or grasshoppers?
In 1640 the atmosphere in the UK was tense: there was loyalty to monarchy and also a reflection about the importance of loyalty and friendship to the king and the court. This sense of parallel between the grasshopper and the society of that time is typical in this poem and typical in Lovelace's poetry.
The grasshopper can be associated to the summer season and the ant to the winter season. Some implications of this are:
Summer (the grasshopper): in northern cultures is associated with joy, contact with nature, richness and friendship. Transcending this to politics, Lovelace makes understandable the association of the UK in 1650 and the unhappiness of the population, as well as Cromwell's ascendancy.
Winter (the ant): however, if we think of celebration, in Christian cultures the biggest celebration takes place in winter. Christmas in winter is what for the grasshopper is denied: inside, internal, hearth, warmth (the making of a summer inside our home and our heart). It is a summer inside the winter, also interpreted as an exile inside your own country and the creation of a refuge. The callousness of the fable is the rejection of hospitality, which the ant makes.
The poem: it was dedicated to a friend of his, to Charles Cotton, a day that he came to Lovelace's house.
The grasshopper sings in summer, Puritans were useless and the poet identifies them with the grasshopper. At the beginning surprises that the grasshopper is the addressee, but:
Line 6: the addressee becomes the aristocracy. Most people at that time were Puritans, only the people of the king were useless, but that wasn't true at all. The majority of the UK people had no word in the war of the King. Here he tries to destroy the image of the grasshopper as useless, surprise the people and say that it is a worker. Then addressee in this line are men.
Beginning of the poem, stanza 1: the meaning of the first stanza can have 2 meaning because of the word “beard” and taking into account Shakespeare's sonnet number 12:
the beard of a man can grow up even when the man is dead.
The beard is made by ears (trigo).
The grasshopper is in its weed and it swings because of the wind. The grasshopper is associated with ascendancy and the dew is associated with wine.
Stanza 2, lines 3 - 4: he describes the grasshopper going to sleep. A poppy is in Spanish what we call “adormidera” and it is somniferous, so you fall asleep. People who live bad lives were supposed to live at night, but the grasshopper works hard and so he goes to sleep at the right time, at night.
There is a good description of nature, Lovelace could watch it carefully because he didn't have to work the fields and he could watch the details.
The poem has simplicity of form: it is pentameter with an A-B rhyme and 4 stanzas. The syntax is simple and direct, though the vocabulary and the references are a bit complex.
Stanza 3: here we have a strong hyperbaton “marry men” > “thou makes men marry”.
Stanza 4: “Sickle” and “Scythes” have a symbolic meaning which is the harvest; the passing of time and the harvest, time and also death (the harvest takes place at the beginning of autumn and it is associated to death and the end of the cycle of seasons. You also get the wine, which is basic in this poem).
Ceres is the goddess of the harvest and Bacchus the god of wine, line 14 means that they say “good-night” in the sense that at that time you get less and less light in the day.
Stanza 5: “lay in `gainst the winter…” means to make yourself provision to anticipate hard times (the reason the ant gives not to help the grasshopper).
The subject of the verb “Bid” is the “green Ice” - hyperbaton again - This stanza moves to the ant's side and says that it is good to say what the ant say, but you never should not give your hospitality.
“poise” here means to stop floods with a glass of wine: because of harvest they can enjoy themselves with friendship and wine, this has to do with celebration.
Stanza 7: it says that the warmth of our hearth is like the volcano Etna and we make us save inside the house. Then he describes the announcement of the spring.
Summer: inside (inside the house) and internal (the hearth of our hearts). “Sacred hearths” mean friendship, humanity.
Stanza 8, lines 1 - 2: they have ambiguous points at the beginning. The subject of this stanza is not December, but summer, taken from stanza 6. December will fall and summer will come back to its throne with “show'rs of old Greek”, meaning good wine. The parallel to this is the rain and the floods in stanza 5. this was written 5 years after the execution of Charles I and at that time his son was fighting against Cromwell to return to his throne “December shall come weeping in”.
Stanzas 9 and 10: “tapers” become unnecessary (candelabros) because daylight will come in again, so we are moving from inside to outside the house again.
Lord John Wilmot: “The Disabled Debauchee”:
“As some brave admiral, in former war,
Deprived of force, but pressed with courage still,
Two rival fleets appearing from afar,
Crawls to the top of an adjacent hill;
From whence (with thoughts full of concern) he views
The wise and daring conduct of the fight,
And each bold action to his mind renews
His present glory, and his past delight;
From his fierce eyes, flashes of rage he throws,
As from black clouds when lightning breaks away,
Transported, thinks himself amidst his foes,
And absent yet enjoys the bloody day;
So when my days of impotence approach,
And I'm by pox and wine's unlucky chance,
Driven from the pleasing billows of debauch,
On the dull shore of lazy temperance,
My pains at last some respite shall afford,
Whilst I behold the battles you maintain,
When fleets of glasses sail about the board,
From whose broadsides volleys of wit shall rain.
Nor shall the sight of honourable scars,
Which my too-forward valour did procure,
Frighten new-listed soldiers from the wars.
Past joys have more than paid what I endure.
Should hopeful youths (worth being drunk) prove nice,
And from their fair inviters meanly shrink,
`Twould please the ghost of my departed vice,
If at my counsel they repent and drink.
Or should some cold-complexioned set forbid,
With his dull morals, our night's brisk alarms,
I'll fire his blood by telling what I did,
When I was strong and able to bear arms.
I'll tell of whores attacked, their lords at home,
Bawds' quarters beaten up, and fortress won,
Windows demolished, watches overcome,
And handsome ills by my contrivance done.
Nor shall our love-fits, Cloris, be forgot,
When each the well-looked link-boy strove t'enjoy,
And the best kiss was the deciding lot:
Whether the boy fucked you, or I the boy.
With tales like these I will such heat inspire,
As to important mischief shall incline.
I'll make them long some ancient church to fire,
And fear no lewdness they're called to by wine.
Thus statesman-like, I'll saucily impose,
And safe from danger valiantly advise,
Sheltered in impotence, urge you to blows,
And being good for nothing else, be wise”.
John Wilmot lived in the time of the Restoration (1647 - 1680), he lived during the kingdom of Charles II (1630 - 1685). Charles II was financed by France and he wasn't Catholic, his brother was, but he wasn't well seen in the UK.
The Restoration was a large period, the most immoral and denigrating period of the time of the UK.
The church was a social institution and if you were part of society, you must belong to the church.
After Charles II came his brother, James II, who was executed.
1670 - 1688:
The court (aristocracy); the “landed interest” (gentry); heavily taxed.
Sexual licentiousness, immorality (men only); fun at marriage, the “seduction plot”.
Interest in psychology of passion and desire (the theory of Sublimation in psychology).
Irreligion, scepticism, science and experiment.
1670 - 1688 - [ … ] - 1770:
The city (burgeasie) - foreigners, merchants; investors in stock; the Bank of England.
High value on marriage (demography).
The tradition of dissent, religious radicalism - enthusiasm (Milton)
From 1700 onwards, a fusion is produced between these two ways of living. In middle - long terms, the victorious one was the second one, but with synthetic modifications.
Someone said that their values were puritan and he also said that a puritan person is someone unhappy as long as there is someone happy in the world, though it wasn´t only a question of sexuality. People from middle - low classes came most of them from Puritanism and supported Cromwell. At that time, men could chose women, but not the other way round. That was the big pression and that's why Puritanism should be abolished, that means that this element of dissent was to be destroyed (religious radicalism). The real reason for all of this is the question of the future of the English culture: land and money.
Money: in the wrong hands (in the middle classes), as a question of short time extent, they were allied with the French power (the most powerful in Europe) and Holland. England was the middle point between France and Holland. With the king's death, the UK moved to the Dutch side and that cost a lot of money. The consequence was that the taxes increased almost the triple and they were paid by the higher classes, but was imposed by the lower ones. That brought tension and the prestige obtained by the low classes ended in a xenophobous literature in some aspects like money.
Mixture of the 2 types of writing:
Tories and Whigs: the 2nd one held the power for a long time (middle class). The mixture between them was the kind of books of Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe). Characteristics:
High value on marriage.
Interest in psychology of passion and desire (sublimation).
Scepticism, science and experiment.
Jacobites and Dissenters were eliminated and Tories and Whigs remained in conflict, but in mutual toleration.
Daniel Defoe: “A Journal of the Plague Year: Observations […] Written by a CITIZEN who continued all the while in London. Never made public before”.
The word “visitation”: he refers to dissenters who thought that the plague in London and the fire was a punishment from God. It says that it has never been published before and it's a paradoxical lie to sell the book. He couldn't write it in 1665 because he was only 5 years old. But from the cover page we know something about the writer: he was a citizen of London and when the text came out he was supposed to be dead, in 1772. that is the fiction that Defoe is using in order to make it valuable (written by someone who was there) = journalism.
Another story written by Defoe, Robinson Crusoe, was based on a real story, but the name of the character was changed, making the story true and false at the same time. Realistic information = facts = novel (in Defoe's time novels were basically fantastic material, that's why Defoe hides his name in this story).
The word “citizen”: a citizen is a person who has civil rights and at that time less than 10% of the population had them, so they were supposedly reliable. That is strange in the cover. Most of the citizens came out of the country in that time because of the plague and he remained there… maybe he stayed for business reasons.
The words “written by”: Defoe'd not care about the court or monarchy, but this expression he was probably criticising those who didn't stay and especially the King, so that person would surely come from the middle class.
1772; Marseilles: Defoe didn't make too much money, but he had the best publishing sensibility, he was a journalist from head to toe. This town has the biggest port in France and here began the Plague and moved from east to west. In his book, he makes an overview of that plague in 1665. Puritans believed in predestination and the Plague was a consequence of those people escaping from it, but he, the writer, stayed there because he says he's elected by God to test his existence. This can also be a cliché of the Muslim religion.
It is a reflection about the plague, originated in Turkey and he makes a criticism to Calvinists and Turkish. That also can be found in Robinson Crusoe in another way.
Joseph Addison (editor): text seen in class, not in the program.
The thing of quality of writing is really questioned and the way a person writes determines his/her social status. If your writing is good, you're a gentleman, if it is not, you are not.
In this text is said that the way the man talks about death destroys happiness and behind the belief of life after death, there's the belief that the souls exists, thing that the writer denies: reason has to be taken as human nature and materiality. The existence of God is denied.
It also questions the authority of the author, it tells what you must do “Rule of writing” and it is very ironic using the word “industrious”, which connects this text with the poem of the Grasshopper.
Writing is linked to honour, wit. A man of wit, according to the writer, must say that honour for a woman is nothing but peevishness. This author is condemning honour in a woman. The word “wit” is close to irony, associated also with intelligence.
“Inclination is the best rule of life”: this is ethics and pure hedonism because inclination here means the looking for pleasure and it is very materialist. If you know how to use wit, then you can take a woman to bed.
What the writer defends here is a kind of writing with some rules, but at first sight, they have nothing in common. At the end of the text, the writer summarizes all what he said about ethics, rules, sexual behaviour, etc, saying that he (the addressee) doesn't write like a gentleman. Being a gentleman and the way you write have little in common, but the addressee and the addresser agree that you are able to say if someone is or not a gentleman by the way he writes, this is how sexual behaviour and writing connects to each other and there are also books about how to act to take a woman to bed. This discourse is learnt and taught, so somebody wrote it once in a letter.
Explanation: a man seducing a woman of the middle class was at that time desirable. For parents, the problem was marrying the daughters with men of the upper classes, since they could chose their wives. But men didn't take that seriously, they got old and weren't married yet. They could chose whenever they wanted, so they were not in a hurry, that's why they didn't want to marry. We can find an example of this in the novel Pride and Prejudice. At that time, a man wanting to marry was going against the opinion of the rest of the society.
The writer: this text was written by a man of the middle class, an anti-restoration. It was written in a famous journal in the editorial. All this reading is about prescription, rules, the question is how should a person write. It was a fight about style. Defoe was very concerned to this theme.
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