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of roles as the formal knightly lover, as the courtly poet, or as the bold actor in a drama of passion, adventure, and mortality. Many of the fragmentary translations from classical writers included in The History of the World reinforce the idea of a latter-day stoic whose morale is supported by the hope of a Christian resurrection. Ralegh’s powerful lyric ‘The Lie’ goes against a court which glows and shines ‘like rotten wood’, the body of his poetry is overtly supportive of the Queen-centred courtly culture which Elizabeth’s propagandists presented as an ideal. The Queen ruled a court which embodied the idea of unchanging perfection. Less paganly, the fact that Elizabeth’s birthday fell on the Christian feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was regarded as a sign of her partaking both of the grace and of the honour accorded to the second Eve.
Edmund Spenser: His play The Faerie Queene is influenced by The image of Elizabeth of 1588. It may well have contributed to the Queen, the warrior virgin, Britomart. Spenser had modelled Britomart on a parallel figure in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso and had adapted her name from that of a character in a poem by Virgil. Elizabeth is effectively present in each of the six massive books of The Faerie Queene. Spenser looked back on the past from an essentially Renaissance perspective, and with modern Italian models in mind, his allegory and his language suggest a more immediate response to native literary traditions. The Faerie Queene demands a response both to a literal meaning and to a series of allegorical constructions (historical, moral, mystical, socio-political). Much as his characters face moral choices and dilemmas, so Spenser’s readers need both to deconstruct his metaphors and to discriminate between a variety of possible ‘meanings’. Chaucer was also a major influence on Spenser’s style. Spenser’s own poetic language was an artificial language which served to draw attention to the very artifice of his poem. It recalled the romance through its terminology, armorial adjectives, and its stock comparisons, but it also served to alert readers to the anti-naturalistic tenor of the narratives. Spenser’s epic syncretically blends and antithetically opposes aspects of the old and the new, the Pagan and the Christian, the revived Roman and the residual Gothic, the pastoral and the courtly.
The influence of buildings in Spencer’s poem: Like the great Elizabethan country houses built for show by pushily ambitious English noble families in the closing decades of the sixteenth century, The Faerie Queene elaborates the setting of courtly ceremonial and lordly entertainment within the context of architectural regularity, ordered display, and shapely structural crossreference. It is likely that when Spenser foregrounded accounts of buildings, gardens, and pageants in his narrative he intended them to be seen as reflections of Renaissance pictorial and architectural display. His architecture and his horticulture are presented precisely and symbolically while his untamed forests, his thickets, plains, and pastures remain vague.
Samuel Daniel: What most characterizes his poems is an intense delight in the potential richness of English rhythms and the echoing of English speech in English verse. In his sonnets he repeats words and, on occasion, re-employs the last line of one poem as the first of another as a means of squeezing meaning, or alternative meanings, from them. Daniel’s eight books of The Civil Wars between the two Houses of Lancaster and York (published between 1595 and 1609) is both a stanzaic exploration of the pre-Tudor crisis in English affairs to which so many of his
The poem’s shivers of horror at the prospect of eternal condemnation are to some extent conditioned by the intellectual control of the theological drama. which presents dark. . and for his sober poetry. moral. Davies (1569-1626): He is remembered for his inventive exploration of the signification of dance in Orchestra Ora Poeme of Dauncing (1596). Greville is best known today as the biographer of Sir Philip Sidney. The concern with celestial harmony and earthly concord wh ich runs through Davies’s Orchestra ought properly to be seen in the context of the ceremonial. Philip Sidney conditioned not simply the flattering biography he wrote of his upright friend but also the censorious remarks that the Life contains concerning the reign of Elizabeth and the comparative moral turpitude of the court of King James. Campion’s own mastery of melodic and metrical proportion becomes most evident. while the thirty-third employs the imagery of a battle with Eros. when he was raised to the peerage. sometimes serve to conceal the strain of melancholy that lurks in the shadows beyond the sunlit gardens and groves frequented by courtly lovers. ‘beams’. The deftness of many of Campion’s adaptations of conventional erotic sentiments. The poem attempts to intertwine metaphysical. “Idea” deals with a relationship between lovers which is characterized not by distant adoration but by disruptions. Campion’s work testifies not simply to the broad sophistication of English secular music in the reigns of Elizabeth and James. Thomas Campion: Because of his five Books of Airs published between 1601 and 1617. and ‘glitter’. Drayton: His play. and a study of historic character in the manner of the ancient Roman historians. absences and protests. beauty and other philosophical matters. but also to the coming of age of the modern English language as an appropriate vehicle for lyrical emotion. literature. and his fondness for words such as ‘bright’. Fulke Greville: He was an Elizabethan poet. and ritualistic arguments as a means of justifying the art of the choreographer. mythological. Greville’s friend. Sidney’s religious opinions helped to determine the themes and patterns of Greville's own verse. thoughtful and distinctly Calvinist views on art. The majorities of his lyrics reveal a mastery of rhyme and varied stanza form. the formal entertainments. The thirty-first sonnet opens with a conversational shrug. and statesman who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1581 and 1621.contemporaries returned for instructive political lessons. dramatist. and the masques which had increasingly determined the prestige of the courts of Europe in the late Renaissance period. ‘sun’. natural.