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George Herbert, in temperament and style of his writing, ranks among the outstanding group of poets known as "The metaphysicals" and by virtue of his faith in God and religion, he stands as the most distinguished Anglican poet among this group. His poetry is a record of religious experiences a record of strivings, failures and victories in the practice of the Christian life. He gave up life of worldly pleasures and worldly ambition in order to become a country priest and to devote himself to the service to God, both in the capacity as a poet and as a priest in practical life.

Herbert seems to have wished to combine a secular career with a religious life. As with Donne, circumstances compelled him to join the church and after he had become a priest, he was not altogether able to forget his worldly interests. This was the reason for the spiritual conflicts which he experienced and which are vividly depicted in a number of his poems. However, in Herbert's poetry there is no evidence of the deeper scars, the profounder remorse which gives such an anguished quality to the verses of his older friend Donne. Herbert knows the feeling of alienation from God; but he knows also the feeling of reconcilement the joy and peace of religion as in the following lines.

"You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat. So I did sit and eat.( Love)

Herbert finds his theme in his own heart, in his efforts to subdue his high, worldly rebellious spirit to the divine will or to rekindle inner flame when it seems to flicker low. What makes Herbert a great religious and metaphysical poet is this conflict and tension.

Herbert admits that he is a human being and that his senses crave for certain pleasures. But he is in a position to control those cravings and he loves God despite the cravings of his flesh. So, he aspires to climb to God under God's own guidance. The poet's love of God is so strong and so deep that he does not find it difficult to devote himself wholly to the service of God.

" The Collar" contains the same conflict between a secular life and a religious life in an intensely dramatic form. The poet feels a strong urge to rebel against God and to give up this life of servitude in order to enjoy unlimited freedom. But as he raves and becomes wild in his anger against God, He rebukes him gently, saying "child" and the poet is at once humble and replies, "My Lord." Thus the single word 'child' is a tender rebuke for childish rebellion and a reminder of the former relation of "Father" and "son". The poet's reply signifies his complete surrender to God's will.

Thus, there are many poems which contain the spiritual conflicts that had passed between God and the poet's soul before he could subject his will to the will of Jesus Christ, his master, in whose service he had eventually found perfect freedom. So, his poetry does not simply express the conflicts, it is continuously and steadily directed towards resolution and integration. They may justly be described as colloquies of the soul with God, or as self-communings which seek to bring order into that complex personality of his, which he analyses ceaselessly and rigorously.

Write a note on the nature of spiritual conflict in Herbert's poems?

Green Land | June 20, 2022 | 0 comments

George Herbert, in temperament and style of his writing, ranks among the outstanding group of poets known as "The metaphysicals" and by virtue of his faith in God and religion, he stands as the most distinguished Anglican poet among this group. His poetry is a record of religious experiences a record of strivings, failures and victories in the practice of the Christian life. He gave up life of worldly pleasures and worldly ambition in order to become a country priest and to devote himself to the service to God, both in the capacity as a poet and as a priest in practical life.

Herbert seems to have wished to combine a secular career with a religious life. As with Donne, circumstances compelled him to join the church and after he had become a priest, he was not altogether able to forget his worldly interests. This was the reason for the spiritual conflicts which he experienced and which are vividly depicted in a number of his poems. However, in Herbert's poetry there is no evidence of the deeper scars, the profounder remorse which gives such an anguished quality to the verses of his older friend Donne. Herbert knows the feeling of alienation from God; but he knows also the feeling of reconcilement the joy and peace of religion as in the following lines.

"You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat. So I did sit and eat.( Love)

Herbert finds his theme in his own heart, in his efforts to subdue his high, worldly rebellious spirit to the divine will or to rekindle inner flame when it seems to flicker low. What makes Herbert a great religious and metaphysical poet is this conflict and tension.

Herbert admits that he is a human being and that his senses crave for certain pleasures. But he is in a position to control those cravings and he loves God despite the cravings of his flesh. So, he aspires to climb to God under God's own guidance. The poet's love of God is so strong and so deep that he does not find it difficult to devote himself wholly to the service of God.

" The Collar" contains the same conflict between a secular life and a religious life in an intensely dramatic form. The poet feels a strong urge to rebel against God and to give up this life of servitude in order to enjoy unlimited freedom. But as he raves and becomes wild in his anger against God, He rebukes him gently, saying "child" and the poet is at once humble and replies, "My Lord." Thus the single word 'child' is a tender rebuke for childish rebellion and a reminder of the former relation of "Father" and "son". The poet's reply signifies his complete surrender to God's will.

Thus, there are many poems which contain the spiritual conflicts that had passed between God and the poet's soul before he could subject his will to the will of Jesus Christ, his master, in whose service he had eventually found perfect freedom. So, his poetry does not simply express the conflicts, it is continuously and steadily directed towards resolution and integration. They may justly be described as colloquies of the soul with God, or as self-communings which seek to bring order into that complex personality of his, which he analyses ceaselessly and rigorously.

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A lyric is a short poem uttered by a single speaker who expresses a state of mind or a process of perception, thought and feeling. A lyric seems to have come directly from the poet's heart, without any effort or labour on his part. The principal qualities of a lyric are: music or melody, strong emotion, personal revelation, spontaneity and imagination. Herbert is definitely a lyric poet, although he does not deal with the theme of love or passion as Donne does. The only love he knows is the love of God or the love of Jesus Christ, and the only passion he knows is the agony that Christ suffered for the sins of mankind. Herbert's poems are musical, simply, spontaneous, strongly emotional, highly imaginative and deeply personal. 

Music and melody are the remarkable qualities of Herbert's poetry. He produces music of his verses by means of such devices as alliteration, assonance and rhyme. From the technical point of view, Herbert is a versatile genius who employs a very large number of stanzaic forms in simple language. 

Herbert's lyrics possess a kind of emotional intensity that arise out of a deep religious devotion. The sincerity and depth of his devotion to God are unquestionable. He has rightly been called a saint among this metaphysical poets.

As Herbert is a poet of religious meditations, most of his lyrics are saturated with passion and devotion. This means there is a fusion of emotion and intellect, feelings and logical reasoning. The poem "Easter Wings" celebrates Christ's Resurrection. At the same time, it expresses the poet's earnest desire to fly upward like a lark in order to achieve spiritual elevation.

The pattern of the poem reminds us of the wings of a lark flying upwards. The poet wishes to fly upwards like a bird. He wants to fly upwards just as Christ ascended to heaven on the third day after the crucifixion. On the occasion of Easter is the festival celebrating Christ's ascension. On this occasion of Easter, the poet would like to fly upwards. The poet's fight is, of course, not a literal one but metaphorical in the sense of a spiritual elevation or regeneration. The pictorial device of the poem, its structure and detail give us a beautiful example of conceit which shows Herbert's faculty for blending emotion and intellect, feelings and logical arguments. 

Next we are to consider Herbert's personal and biographical character in his lyrics. Almost all his poems are deeply personal and expressive of his own feelings, emotions, thoughts, reasonings, doubts, conflicts, resolutions, reconciliation, consolations, etc. 

Further many of Herbert's lyrics are marked by dramatic quality, conceits, wits, etc. In "The Collar", the poet holds a conversation with himself and ultimately his revolutionary spirit leads to his complete surrender to God. For conceit we may refer to " Easter Wings " in which the poet makes a comparison between the upward flight of the lark and his spiritual upliftment.

To sum up, the religious poems of Herbert are the spontaneous outbursts of his feelings and love for God. They come directly from his heart and have the stamp of sincerity. That is why they are so much lyrical.

Show Herbert as a lyric poet?

Green Land | June 20, 2022 | 0 comments

A lyric is a short poem uttered by a single speaker who expresses a state of mind or a process of perception, thought and feeling. A lyric seems to have come directly from the poet's heart, without any effort or labour on his part. The principal qualities of a lyric are: music or melody, strong emotion, personal revelation, spontaneity and imagination. Herbert is definitely a lyric poet, although he does not deal with the theme of love or passion as Donne does. The only love he knows is the love of God or the love of Jesus Christ, and the only passion he knows is the agony that Christ suffered for the sins of mankind. Herbert's poems are musical, simply, spontaneous, strongly emotional, highly imaginative and deeply personal. 

Music and melody are the remarkable qualities of Herbert's poetry. He produces music of his verses by means of such devices as alliteration, assonance and rhyme. From the technical point of view, Herbert is a versatile genius who employs a very large number of stanzaic forms in simple language. 

Herbert's lyrics possess a kind of emotional intensity that arise out of a deep religious devotion. The sincerity and depth of his devotion to God are unquestionable. He has rightly been called a saint among this metaphysical poets.

As Herbert is a poet of religious meditations, most of his lyrics are saturated with passion and devotion. This means there is a fusion of emotion and intellect, feelings and logical reasoning. The poem "Easter Wings" celebrates Christ's Resurrection. At the same time, it expresses the poet's earnest desire to fly upward like a lark in order to achieve spiritual elevation.

The pattern of the poem reminds us of the wings of a lark flying upwards. The poet wishes to fly upwards like a bird. He wants to fly upwards just as Christ ascended to heaven on the third day after the crucifixion. On the occasion of Easter is the festival celebrating Christ's ascension. On this occasion of Easter, the poet would like to fly upwards. The poet's fight is, of course, not a literal one but metaphorical in the sense of a spiritual elevation or regeneration. The pictorial device of the poem, its structure and detail give us a beautiful example of conceit which shows Herbert's faculty for blending emotion and intellect, feelings and logical arguments. 

Next we are to consider Herbert's personal and biographical character in his lyrics. Almost all his poems are deeply personal and expressive of his own feelings, emotions, thoughts, reasonings, doubts, conflicts, resolutions, reconciliation, consolations, etc. 

Further many of Herbert's lyrics are marked by dramatic quality, conceits, wits, etc. In "The Collar", the poet holds a conversation with himself and ultimately his revolutionary spirit leads to his complete surrender to God. For conceit we may refer to " Easter Wings " in which the poet makes a comparison between the upward flight of the lark and his spiritual upliftment.

To sum up, the religious poems of Herbert are the spontaneous outbursts of his feelings and love for God. They come directly from his heart and have the stamp of sincerity. That is why they are so much lyrical.

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The Faerie Queene is a wonderful blend of the Medieval, the Renaissance and the Reformation elements. Though the spirit of Renaissance, or that of the Reformation, has its hold on Spenser's mind, the old order that has been passing away, has also its appeal to him. The Renaissance was an intellectual, moral and cultural movement which spread over Western Europe in the 14th, 15th, and early 16th centuries. It marked the revival of interest in the classical learning of ancient Greece and Rome. Broadly, it marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world. The Renaissance freed man's mind from the slavery of the monastic ideals, asserted the supremacy of reason and inspired him to take an aesthetic delight in the beauties of the world and the pleasures of the senses. The new age was characterised by the spirit of adventure, love for beauty, moral earnestness, a love for richness and magnificence, power and pelf, etc.

During the period of the Renaissance, there was a revival of old classical literature of Greece and Rome. Spenser borrowed the materials of his poetry from the classical writers but he modified them in his own way. The Greek philosophical ideas deeply affected the Renaissance thoughts and Spenser, as the child of the Renaissance, was greatly influenced by the Greek philosophers. The plan of The Faerie Queene, to fashion a gentleman of noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline, was derived from Aristotle.

The Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the abuses in the Roman Church and establish the Reformed or Protestant Churches. This movement led to the various Protestant schisms of the 16th century with several leaders such as Martin Luther in Germany, John Calvin in France, Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland and John Knox in Scotland. Spenser was equally influenced by the Renaissance and the Reformation. He was a devout Christian and zealous protestant. But he did not allow his Renaissance ideals to damp his religious enthusiasm.

The allegory of The Faerie Queene as revealed in Book I, is certainly a brief outline of the history of Reformation in England. We know how Queen Elizabeth, heading the Protestants, goes to war against the Catholic forces, headed by the Queen of Scots. As a zealous Protestant and ardent patriot, Spenser represents Queen Elizabeth as Una, or the embodiment of truth or true church. This is in striking contrast with Mary, Queen of Scots as Duessa or the embodiment of Falsehood or the false religion, Catholicism. The Red Cross Knight is St. George of England, who, like a true Christian, makes his way to holiness and blessedness through a perfecting discipline. In his epic, Spenser justifies the part played by the Englishmen in their fight against the Church of Rome and he is to be admired for his strong support for and belief in the cause of Reformation.

The medieval elements are also traceable in The Faerie Queene, Book-I. Spenser looks back to the ideas and ideals of the Middle Ages. Chivalry, Honour, Courtesy, worship of women, and compassion for the poor or the afflicted, are some of the most predominant characteristics of the Middle Ages and Spenser has imbibed a strong sympathy for them. He draws upon the Arthurian romances of the Middle Ages for his famous epic.

To sum up, love of display and adventure, are strictly medieval traits and Spenser has freely and fully exploited them in his epic. His description of the pageantry of the court masque and entertainment, the beauty of Knightly armour and the dress of well born ladies all display the medieval element in his poetry. But his greatness lies in the fact that he has been able to blend successfully all the three elements of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the medieval life of chivalry and heroism.

How does Spenser blend the Medieval, the Renaissance and the Reformation elements in The Faerie Queene?

Green Land | June 16, 2022 | 0 comments

The Faerie Queene is a wonderful blend of the Medieval, the Renaissance and the Reformation elements. Though the spirit of Renaissance, or that of the Reformation, has its hold on Spenser's mind, the old order that has been passing away, has also its appeal to him. The Renaissance was an intellectual, moral and cultural movement which spread over Western Europe in the 14th, 15th, and early 16th centuries. It marked the revival of interest in the classical learning of ancient Greece and Rome. Broadly, it marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world. The Renaissance freed man's mind from the slavery of the monastic ideals, asserted the supremacy of reason and inspired him to take an aesthetic delight in the beauties of the world and the pleasures of the senses. The new age was characterised by the spirit of adventure, love for beauty, moral earnestness, a love for richness and magnificence, power and pelf, etc.

During the period of the Renaissance, there was a revival of old classical literature of Greece and Rome. Spenser borrowed the materials of his poetry from the classical writers but he modified them in his own way. The Greek philosophical ideas deeply affected the Renaissance thoughts and Spenser, as the child of the Renaissance, was greatly influenced by the Greek philosophers. The plan of The Faerie Queene, to fashion a gentleman of noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline, was derived from Aristotle.

The Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the abuses in the Roman Church and establish the Reformed or Protestant Churches. This movement led to the various Protestant schisms of the 16th century with several leaders such as Martin Luther in Germany, John Calvin in France, Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland and John Knox in Scotland. Spenser was equally influenced by the Renaissance and the Reformation. He was a devout Christian and zealous protestant. But he did not allow his Renaissance ideals to damp his religious enthusiasm.

The allegory of The Faerie Queene as revealed in Book I, is certainly a brief outline of the history of Reformation in England. We know how Queen Elizabeth, heading the Protestants, goes to war against the Catholic forces, headed by the Queen of Scots. As a zealous Protestant and ardent patriot, Spenser represents Queen Elizabeth as Una, or the embodiment of truth or true church. This is in striking contrast with Mary, Queen of Scots as Duessa or the embodiment of Falsehood or the false religion, Catholicism. The Red Cross Knight is St. George of England, who, like a true Christian, makes his way to holiness and blessedness through a perfecting discipline. In his epic, Spenser justifies the part played by the Englishmen in their fight against the Church of Rome and he is to be admired for his strong support for and belief in the cause of Reformation.

The medieval elements are also traceable in The Faerie Queene, Book-I. Spenser looks back to the ideas and ideals of the Middle Ages. Chivalry, Honour, Courtesy, worship of women, and compassion for the poor or the afflicted, are some of the most predominant characteristics of the Middle Ages and Spenser has imbibed a strong sympathy for them. He draws upon the Arthurian romances of the Middle Ages for his famous epic.

To sum up, love of display and adventure, are strictly medieval traits and Spenser has freely and fully exploited them in his epic. His description of the pageantry of the court masque and entertainment, the beauty of Knightly armour and the dress of well born ladies all display the medieval element in his poetry. But his greatness lies in the fact that he has been able to blend successfully all the three elements of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the medieval life of chivalry and heroism.

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An epic centres round the activities of a single hero of national importance; the romance, on the other hand, records the activities of several characters. The hero of an epic is a person of historical and national importance, while the characters of the romance are fictitious persons, created by the fertile imagination of the writer. An epic generally maintains the unity of structure, while in a romance the structure is often loose. The Faerie Queene is neither an epic nor a perfect romance but, in fact, it combines the qualities of both romance and epic.

The attention of the readers of The Faerie Queene is focussed not on the activities of one man, but on the achievement of many persons. In depicting the actions of many men, The Faerie Queene becomes a romance rather than an epic. But Spenser has given it the air of an epic by interweaving the various actions of various characters round the figure of Prince Arthur, the single hero. Since King Arthur, unlike the hero of a romance, is a historical figure, Spenser, by presenting his activities makes The Faerie Queene an epic.

Some critics have raised questions regarding the central figure of Arthur, the hero of the epic. Warton, a critic, says that not the Red Cross Knight but Arthur should have slain the Dragon, as we find in Book-I. But we have seen in the classical epic, e.g. The Iliad several heroic characters. In The Iliad although Achilles is its chief hero, there are several other heroes like Diomedes, Agamemnon and Hector. Similarly, we have in The Faerie Queene separate books, each with its separate hero. But Arthur like Achilles in The Iliad has eclipsed all other Knights and has proved himself worthy of Gloriana.

Epic similar is one of the important technical devices of epic and Spenser has introduced epic similes which are broad in their comparisons and bring the pictures clearly before our eyes. In Canto I, stanza 21 of The Faerie Queene, the poet uses an epic simile to describe the evil impact of the Roman catholic priests, symbolised by the monster Error's offsprings, as compared to the ugly creatures who are brought to life by the fertile mud of the Nile after the flood.

"As when old father Nilus gins to swell With timely pride above the Aegyptain vale, His fattie waves do fertile slime outwell,And overflow each plaine and lowly dale ............................................... Such ugly monstrous shapes elsewhere may no man reed."

Spenser has introduced supernatural machinery of dream and fancies. Archimago the wicked magician sends a,spirit to the house of Morpheus, the god of sleep, who lives in the subterranean world. Archimago obtains from Morpheus a particular kind of dream which is brought to him by the spirit. Thus this is a technical device adopted by Spenser to The Faerie Queene as an epic.

But although The Faerie Queene has been written in the style of an epic, it cannot be denied that it also has qualities of romance in it. By combining romance and epic, Spenser has created the romantic epic such as Ariosto has produced in Qrlando Furioso.

In the Elizabethan Age, the epic writer was morally bound to give some moral lesson in his story. Spenser has done the same thing. The object of The Faerie Queene is to discipline a young man in noble virtues.

Further, the unity of the poem which is an important characteristic of the epic, is not well maintained. The structure of The Faerie Queene is loose and rambling, as the poet advances in the latter books. There are digressions which create variety but they have proved to be a hindrance in the way of the epic. They lead us to a land of dreams which suit more for romance rather than for the epic.

To sum up, we can say that The Faerie Queene is not an epic like the classical epics of Homer and Virgil, but it is a romantic epic based on the style and method of Ariosto's Orlando Furiose but Spenser differs from him in his moral tone.

Consider whether The Faerie Queene is an epic or a romance?

Green Land | June 16, 2022 | 0 comments

An epic centres round the activities of a single hero of national importance; the romance, on the other hand, records the activities of several characters. The hero of an epic is a person of historical and national importance, while the characters of the romance are fictitious persons, created by the fertile imagination of the writer. An epic generally maintains the unity of structure, while in a romance the structure is often loose. The Faerie Queene is neither an epic nor a perfect romance but, in fact, it combines the qualities of both romance and epic.

The attention of the readers of The Faerie Queene is focussed not on the activities of one man, but on the achievement of many persons. In depicting the actions of many men, The Faerie Queene becomes a romance rather than an epic. But Spenser has given it the air of an epic by interweaving the various actions of various characters round the figure of Prince Arthur, the single hero. Since King Arthur, unlike the hero of a romance, is a historical figure, Spenser, by presenting his activities makes The Faerie Queene an epic.

Some critics have raised questions regarding the central figure of Arthur, the hero of the epic. Warton, a critic, says that not the Red Cross Knight but Arthur should have slain the Dragon, as we find in Book-I. But we have seen in the classical epic, e.g. The Iliad several heroic characters. In The Iliad although Achilles is its chief hero, there are several other heroes like Diomedes, Agamemnon and Hector. Similarly, we have in The Faerie Queene separate books, each with its separate hero. But Arthur like Achilles in The Iliad has eclipsed all other Knights and has proved himself worthy of Gloriana.

Epic similar is one of the important technical devices of epic and Spenser has introduced epic similes which are broad in their comparisons and bring the pictures clearly before our eyes. In Canto I, stanza 21 of The Faerie Queene, the poet uses an epic simile to describe the evil impact of the Roman catholic priests, symbolised by the monster Error's offsprings, as compared to the ugly creatures who are brought to life by the fertile mud of the Nile after the flood.

"As when old father Nilus gins to swell With timely pride above the Aegyptain vale, His fattie waves do fertile slime outwell,And overflow each plaine and lowly dale ............................................... Such ugly monstrous shapes elsewhere may no man reed."

Spenser has introduced supernatural machinery of dream and fancies. Archimago the wicked magician sends a,spirit to the house of Morpheus, the god of sleep, who lives in the subterranean world. Archimago obtains from Morpheus a particular kind of dream which is brought to him by the spirit. Thus this is a technical device adopted by Spenser to The Faerie Queene as an epic.

But although The Faerie Queene has been written in the style of an epic, it cannot be denied that it also has qualities of romance in it. By combining romance and epic, Spenser has created the romantic epic such as Ariosto has produced in Qrlando Furioso.

In the Elizabethan Age, the epic writer was morally bound to give some moral lesson in his story. Spenser has done the same thing. The object of The Faerie Queene is to discipline a young man in noble virtues.

Further, the unity of the poem which is an important characteristic of the epic, is not well maintained. The structure of The Faerie Queene is loose and rambling, as the poet advances in the latter books. There are digressions which create variety but they have proved to be a hindrance in the way of the epic. They lead us to a land of dreams which suit more for romance rather than for the epic.

To sum up, we can say that The Faerie Queene is not an epic like the classical epics of Homer and Virgil, but it is a romantic epic based on the style and method of Ariosto's Orlando Furiose but Spenser differs from him in his moral tone.

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The Renaissance, or the Revival of learning, during the Elizabethan age was characterised by certain features broadly represented in the works of Spenser. Spenser is called the child of the Renaissance and the Reformation, because in his works we have the finest expression of the ideals and principles of the classical Renaissance and the Reformation.

The Renaissance marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world. The new age was characterised by the spirit of adventure, love for beauty, moral earnestness, a love for richness and magnificence, liking for material luxuries, power and pelf and, above all, by a desire to revive the ideals and practices of classical poets and philosophers of Greece and Rome.

Greek philosophical thought had deeply influenced the Renaissance thought, and Spenser, as the Child of the Renaissance, is influenced by the Greek philosophic thought, which he embodies in The Faerie Queene. Spenser draws from Aristotle the plan of The Faerie Queene. The idea of The Faerie Queene, to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline, is derived from Aristotle.

During the period of the Renaissance, there was an air of seriousness, moral earnestness and moral teaching. Virtue was idealised. Spenser is quite in tune and harmony with this classical insistence of the Renaissance for moral elevation and teaching. In The Faerie Queene he tries to present through Arthur the figure of a perfect virtuous man. The Faerie Queene seeks to be an epic, not of fictitious adventure, but of morality and virtue. Spenser's poem may be ranked with those of Homer and Virgil, Ariosto and Tasso, because of its moral purpose and loftiness.

The fashion of the Renaissance scholars was to write in the form of allegory, and Spenser also makes good use of the genre.

The Reformation was a religious movement based on the opposition of the people to the claims of Papal authority and the Church of Rome. The Reformation was a Protestant rising against Roman Catholicism. Spenser, like his other contemporaries, is affected by the movement of the Reformation, and in spirit of his enthusiasm for the Renaissance ideals of beauty, luxury and art, he does not show any disrespect against Roman Catholicism. In spirit of his study of Plato, Aristotle, and Ariosto, Spenser keeps his adoration of the Bible on a higher level, and his life presents him as true Christian.

The first book of The Faerie Queene is, in fact, an epitome of the history of Reformation. It vividly presents the struggle between the forces of Protestantism headed by Queen Elizabeth, represented in the book as Una, and the forces of Roman Catholicism headed by Mary, Queen of Scots, represented in the book as Duessa. Una is shown as the fountain head of all the virtues to be found in a devout Protestant and Duessa stands for the vices tainting Roman Catholicism. Una is the embodiment of truth and true Church, humility and innocence, whereas Duessa stands for pride, luxury and all other evils found in Roman Catholicism.

The Faerie Queene represents the Reformation at its peak. Though Davis says that Spenser's Christianity is overlaid with the paganism of the Renaissance, yet it is Christianity which has not been driven away by paganism. The heart of Spenser is solidly rooted in Christianity and he reveals himself as a devoted Christian in The Faerie Queene.

"Spenser is at once a child of the Renaissance and the Reformation". Discuss?

Green Land | June 14, 2022 | 0 comments

The Renaissance, or the Revival of learning, during the Elizabethan age was characterised by certain features broadly represented in the works of Spenser. Spenser is called the child of the Renaissance and the Reformation, because in his works we have the finest expression of the ideals and principles of the classical Renaissance and the Reformation.

The Renaissance marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world. The new age was characterised by the spirit of adventure, love for beauty, moral earnestness, a love for richness and magnificence, liking for material luxuries, power and pelf and, above all, by a desire to revive the ideals and practices of classical poets and philosophers of Greece and Rome.

Greek philosophical thought had deeply influenced the Renaissance thought, and Spenser, as the Child of the Renaissance, is influenced by the Greek philosophic thought, which he embodies in The Faerie Queene. Spenser draws from Aristotle the plan of The Faerie Queene. The idea of The Faerie Queene, to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline, is derived from Aristotle.

During the period of the Renaissance, there was an air of seriousness, moral earnestness and moral teaching. Virtue was idealised. Spenser is quite in tune and harmony with this classical insistence of the Renaissance for moral elevation and teaching. In The Faerie Queene he tries to present through Arthur the figure of a perfect virtuous man. The Faerie Queene seeks to be an epic, not of fictitious adventure, but of morality and virtue. Spenser's poem may be ranked with those of Homer and Virgil, Ariosto and Tasso, because of its moral purpose and loftiness.

The fashion of the Renaissance scholars was to write in the form of allegory, and Spenser also makes good use of the genre.

The Reformation was a religious movement based on the opposition of the people to the claims of Papal authority and the Church of Rome. The Reformation was a Protestant rising against Roman Catholicism. Spenser, like his other contemporaries, is affected by the movement of the Reformation, and in spirit of his enthusiasm for the Renaissance ideals of beauty, luxury and art, he does not show any disrespect against Roman Catholicism. In spirit of his study of Plato, Aristotle, and Ariosto, Spenser keeps his adoration of the Bible on a higher level, and his life presents him as true Christian.

The first book of The Faerie Queene is, in fact, an epitome of the history of Reformation. It vividly presents the struggle between the forces of Protestantism headed by Queen Elizabeth, represented in the book as Una, and the forces of Roman Catholicism headed by Mary, Queen of Scots, represented in the book as Duessa. Una is shown as the fountain head of all the virtues to be found in a devout Protestant and Duessa stands for the vices tainting Roman Catholicism. Una is the embodiment of truth and true Church, humility and innocence, whereas Duessa stands for pride, luxury and all other evils found in Roman Catholicism.

The Faerie Queene represents the Reformation at its peak. Though Davis says that Spenser's Christianity is overlaid with the paganism of the Renaissance, yet it is Christianity which has not been driven away by paganism. The heart of Spenser is solidly rooted in Christianity and he reveals himself as a devoted Christian in The Faerie Queene.

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Spenser's pleasure, but also a medium for moral elevation. It is not only to amuse but also to teach the doctrine of noble behaviour and righteous action. The Faerie Queen stands out as a monument of the moral principles emphasising all the cardinal virtues of human life. The general purpose of The Faerie Queene is "to fashion a gentle man or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.

"Spenser's conception of poetry is derived from Aristotle and Plato, who regard poets as moral teachers. Equally influenced by Homer, Spenser believes that Homer opened the way for moral edification. Thus following the examples of classical poets, Spenser introduces high seriousness, morality and didacticism.

Spenser borrows the delicate and refined forms of Platonic philosophy to express his moral idealism. He loves all that is noble and pure. He seems to have been fired with a passionate sense of moral beauty. The outer beauty is to him but the expression of the inner beauty of the soul. He thinks after Plato that the reality of a heavenly beauty is known in and by the soul only whereas the earthly beauty is recognised by the senses. The beauty form of beauty. This wisdom or spiritual beauty inflames a man's heart when it is seen by him. U a in the first book of The Faerie Queene represents not only the Protestant Church but also this truth. Duessa stands for the Catholic Church and its forces. The manhood or Holiness is represented by the Red Cross Knight, and Archimago, the hypocrisy of intriguing and tricky Catholics. Giant Orgoglio represents the common vulgar pride in the power of the world. Thus the first book of The Faerie Queene gives, in an allegorical form of the history, English Reformation.Those who read Spenser's Faerie Queene at once recognises in him a devout and ardent puritan and protestant defending the English Reformation against the supremacy of Rome and Papal authority. He certainly moralises his song successfully and proves the truth of what he says at an earlier stage-

'Fierce wars and faithful loves shall moralise my song'

While we go through The Faerie Queene, we have the impression that Spenser is a puritan. He gives a conflict between the spirit of the Renaissance and that of the Reformation. He works to bring about their reconciliation. Renaissance gave sanction for the enjoyment of the good things of life on earth, but the Reformation put a ban on the sensuous life of enjoyment. To the supporter of the Reformation, the good things of the earth are but a temptation. Spenser finds out between these two things that correspondence which is necessary for their reconciliation. He makes an allegorical approach and points out that the things on the earth are but reflections of things in heaven. Earthly love and earthly beauty are the reflections of heavenly love and heavenly beauty.

Spenser certainly loves beauty, but he is not merely confined to the earthly beauty. He thinks of heavenly beauty and heavenly love. Spenser harmonised the world of the Renaissance with that of Reformation. Behind the pictures that he paints like a great sensuous artist, there is the heart of the devout Christian that never allows the sensuous pleasures to override the considerations of a noble and virtuous life.

Spenser's puritanic spirit

Green Land | June 14, 2022 | 0 comments

Spenser's pleasure, but also a medium for moral elevation. It is not only to amuse but also to teach the doctrine of noble behaviour and righteous action. The Faerie Queen stands out as a monument of the moral principles emphasising all the cardinal virtues of human life. The general purpose of The Faerie Queene is "to fashion a gentle man or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.

"Spenser's conception of poetry is derived from Aristotle and Plato, who regard poets as moral teachers. Equally influenced by Homer, Spenser believes that Homer opened the way for moral edification. Thus following the examples of classical poets, Spenser introduces high seriousness, morality and didacticism.

Spenser borrows the delicate and refined forms of Platonic philosophy to express his moral idealism. He loves all that is noble and pure. He seems to have been fired with a passionate sense of moral beauty. The outer beauty is to him but the expression of the inner beauty of the soul. He thinks after Plato that the reality of a heavenly beauty is known in and by the soul only whereas the earthly beauty is recognised by the senses. The beauty form of beauty. This wisdom or spiritual beauty inflames a man's heart when it is seen by him. U a in the first book of The Faerie Queene represents not only the Protestant Church but also this truth. Duessa stands for the Catholic Church and its forces. The manhood or Holiness is represented by the Red Cross Knight, and Archimago, the hypocrisy of intriguing and tricky Catholics. Giant Orgoglio represents the common vulgar pride in the power of the world. Thus the first book of The Faerie Queene gives, in an allegorical form of the history, English Reformation.Those who read Spenser's Faerie Queene at once recognises in him a devout and ardent puritan and protestant defending the English Reformation against the supremacy of Rome and Papal authority. He certainly moralises his song successfully and proves the truth of what he says at an earlier stage-

'Fierce wars and faithful loves shall moralise my song'

While we go through The Faerie Queene, we have the impression that Spenser is a puritan. He gives a conflict between the spirit of the Renaissance and that of the Reformation. He works to bring about their reconciliation. Renaissance gave sanction for the enjoyment of the good things of life on earth, but the Reformation put a ban on the sensuous life of enjoyment. To the supporter of the Reformation, the good things of the earth are but a temptation. Spenser finds out between these two things that correspondence which is necessary for their reconciliation. He makes an allegorical approach and points out that the things on the earth are but reflections of things in heaven. Earthly love and earthly beauty are the reflections of heavenly love and heavenly beauty.

Spenser certainly loves beauty, but he is not merely confined to the earthly beauty. He thinks of heavenly beauty and heavenly love. Spenser harmonised the world of the Renaissance with that of Reformation. Behind the pictures that he paints like a great sensuous artist, there is the heart of the devout Christian that never allows the sensuous pleasures to override the considerations of a noble and virtuous life.

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Edmund Spenser was a great metrical artist. He was the first conscious inventor of a distinct kind of poetic diction and prosody. He knew and studied to his best advantage three metrical systems prevailing in his time. (i) The quantitative system of the classics, (ii) the syllabic system of the French writers and (iii) the system of Chaucer. Spenser experimented with all the three and learned something from each.

The most brilliant invention of Spenser in the field of versification is the Spenserian stanza- a stanza form which has made him immortal. The Spenserian stanza is a long stanza consisting of nine lines; the first eight lines are iambic Pentameter. The ninth line is a longer one. It consists of twelve syllables, or in other words, it is an Alexandrine. The rhyme scheme of Spenser's stanza is ab ab bc bc c. It will be seen that one rhyme 'b' is repeated four times and the other 'c' three times. This makes the stanza a very difficult one, for the poet who uses it must find for every stanza as many as four words having the same end sound. But Spenser has showed great skill in use.

Spenser is the master of music and melody and he knows the art of creating harmony. He uses the following devices to produce music in his verse.

First of all, he uses in quick succession a number of liquid vowels and consonants as 'o' 'u' 'l' 'm' 'n' etc. Secondly, he makes judicious use of onomatopoeic words i.e. words whose sound echoes their sense. These two devices are best illustrated by the passage below;

And more to lulle him in his slumber soft, A trickling stream from high rocke tumbling downe,And ever drizzling raine upon the loft. Mixed with this murmuring winde much like the sowne; Of swarming Bees did cast him in a swowne."

Thirdly, he makes effective use of medial rhymes and alliteration. He allures the readers along with "cunning baits of alliteration." Alliteration with him is not a mere embellishment as with lesser poets. It has a music of its own, as it continually echoes the sense. Spenser also employs rhyme and assonance to create music. For this, he frequently duplicate the effect of end rhyme through unobtrusive sound echo or medial assonance within the verse:

Lo! now she is that stone; from whose two heads As from two weeping eyes, fresh streams do flow, Yet cold through fear and old conceived dreads; And yet the stone her semblance seems to show; Shapt like a maid, that such ye may her know

To sum up, Spenser's stanza form is suited to all the purposes of a long poem like The Faerie Queene. It is suited to a description of landscape, to the elaborate epic simile, to a description of particular scenes, situations and events. It is also suited to the sketches of persons and to the analysis of thoughts and feelings.

Spenser's skill as a metrical artist

Green Land | June 14, 2022 | 0 comments

Edmund Spenser was a great metrical artist. He was the first conscious inventor of a distinct kind of poetic diction and prosody. He knew and studied to his best advantage three metrical systems prevailing in his time. (i) The quantitative system of the classics, (ii) the syllabic system of the French writers and (iii) the system of Chaucer. Spenser experimented with all the three and learned something from each.

The most brilliant invention of Spenser in the field of versification is the Spenserian stanza- a stanza form which has made him immortal. The Spenserian stanza is a long stanza consisting of nine lines; the first eight lines are iambic Pentameter. The ninth line is a longer one. It consists of twelve syllables, or in other words, it is an Alexandrine. The rhyme scheme of Spenser's stanza is ab ab bc bc c. It will be seen that one rhyme 'b' is repeated four times and the other 'c' three times. This makes the stanza a very difficult one, for the poet who uses it must find for every stanza as many as four words having the same end sound. But Spenser has showed great skill in use.

Spenser is the master of music and melody and he knows the art of creating harmony. He uses the following devices to produce music in his verse.

First of all, he uses in quick succession a number of liquid vowels and consonants as 'o' 'u' 'l' 'm' 'n' etc. Secondly, he makes judicious use of onomatopoeic words i.e. words whose sound echoes their sense. These two devices are best illustrated by the passage below;

And more to lulle him in his slumber soft, A trickling stream from high rocke tumbling downe,And ever drizzling raine upon the loft. Mixed with this murmuring winde much like the sowne; Of swarming Bees did cast him in a swowne."

Thirdly, he makes effective use of medial rhymes and alliteration. He allures the readers along with "cunning baits of alliteration." Alliteration with him is not a mere embellishment as with lesser poets. It has a music of its own, as it continually echoes the sense. Spenser also employs rhyme and assonance to create music. For this, he frequently duplicate the effect of end rhyme through unobtrusive sound echo or medial assonance within the verse:

Lo! now she is that stone; from whose two heads As from two weeping eyes, fresh streams do flow, Yet cold through fear and old conceived dreads; And yet the stone her semblance seems to show; Shapt like a maid, that such ye may her know

To sum up, Spenser's stanza form is suited to all the purposes of a long poem like The Faerie Queene. It is suited to a description of landscape, to the elaborate epic simile, to a description of particular scenes, situations and events. It is also suited to the sketches of persons and to the analysis of thoughts and feelings.

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Conventionally an ancient writer, while commencing an epic poem, invoked the help and the blessings of the Muse of epic poetry. Actually the name of the Muse of epic poetry was Calliope. But Spenser here invokes the help, not of the Muse of epic poetry but of history whose name was Clio. The poet invokes the help of this Muse of history because, in the course of his epic namely The Faerie Queene, he wishes to make occasional references to historical events and historical personages. Clio's function was to record the deeds of heroes; and Spenser wishes his poem to be regarded partly as a historical poem. He invokes Clio as the keeper of the records of the deeds which he is going to describe in his poem. Spenser here regards Clio as the chief of the nine Muses, although actually it was Calliope who was the chief of all the Muses. Thus, Spenser is here making a lax and inaccurate use of classical mythology.

We have also a glimpse into the didactic purpose of Spenser. The two chief themes of his epic poem are (i) the heroic deeds of the knights and (ii) the loves of the knights and the ladies. These were the two chief pursuits of chivalry of the medieval times. But Spenser also adds a third theme to these two. The third theme is allegory. The last line of the first stanza indicates all the three themes of Spenser's poem. "Fierce warres and faithful loves shall moralize my song." A moral allegory runs through the whole of Spenser's poem.

In addition to invoking the help of Clio, Cupid, Venus and Mars, Spenser seeks the patronage of Elizabeth, the reigning Queen of England at the time. Those were the days when royal patronage was very important. Spenser showers glowing epithets on Queen Elizabeth whose radiance he compares to the light of the sun.

Describe the significance of the invocation of The Faerie Queene?

Green Land | June 14, 2022 | 0 comments

Conventionally an ancient writer, while commencing an epic poem, invoked the help and the blessings of the Muse of epic poetry. Actually the name of the Muse of epic poetry was Calliope. But Spenser here invokes the help, not of the Muse of epic poetry but of history whose name was Clio. The poet invokes the help of this Muse of history because, in the course of his epic namely The Faerie Queene, he wishes to make occasional references to historical events and historical personages. Clio's function was to record the deeds of heroes; and Spenser wishes his poem to be regarded partly as a historical poem. He invokes Clio as the keeper of the records of the deeds which he is going to describe in his poem. Spenser here regards Clio as the chief of the nine Muses, although actually it was Calliope who was the chief of all the Muses. Thus, Spenser is here making a lax and inaccurate use of classical mythology.

We have also a glimpse into the didactic purpose of Spenser. The two chief themes of his epic poem are (i) the heroic deeds of the knights and (ii) the loves of the knights and the ladies. These were the two chief pursuits of chivalry of the medieval times. But Spenser also adds a third theme to these two. The third theme is allegory. The last line of the first stanza indicates all the three themes of Spenser's poem. "Fierce warres and faithful loves shall moralize my song." A moral allegory runs through the whole of Spenser's poem.

In addition to invoking the help of Clio, Cupid, Venus and Mars, Spenser seeks the patronage of Elizabeth, the reigning Queen of England at the time. Those were the days when royal patronage was very important. Spenser showers glowing epithets on Queen Elizabeth whose radiance he compares to the light of the sun.

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