Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jonson's poem on Shakespeare

For convenience's sake, here is the poem

Analyze your assigned section of Jonson's "To the Memory of My Beloved, Mr. William Shakespeare" (149-51) and write up a one-page paper explaining what the lines are saying (literally), which line or lines is most effective as poetry (meter, sound, hidden effects), and how your part contributes to the entire poem as a whole.  Due Tuesday, 17 January, by 9 a.m., via email.

B  ll. 11-18. (Why does the poem not begin at l. 17?)

In lines eleven through eighteen of Ben Johnson’s “To the Memory of My Beloved…Shakespeare” the author’s literal words are essentially:

With clever ulterior motives or with the intention to give fake praise/ with the intention to tear down while pretending to build up/ to extoll may seem like some skeevy person or a prostitute complimenting a dignified married lady/ compliments from such people would be an insult/ But you [Shakespeare] have proved yourself against your detractors/ you are above needing to get vengeance on your critics or even bothering to wish them harm/ I’ll start by referring to you as the embodiment of the era/ the reason people applaud and love theatre (11-18)

Johnson argues that his motive is wholesome in extolling the virtues of Shakespeare. He states that his intent is not malicious or that he is not giving false praise with the ulterior motive of pointing out flaws in Shakespeare’s skill (although later in the work he seems to take a dig at Shakespeare’s lack of language acquisition). The author further concedes that his skills are viewed as less than Shakespeare’s and, as such, his praise may seem like a prostitute complimenting a dignified married woman (13-14). 
Of all the lines, “Or crafty malice might pretend this praise” is particularly poetic with its use of consonance in malice and might and again with pretend and praise. The same line uses heavy assonance particularly with “a” in ‘crafty’ and beginning of ‘malice’, the “i” sound in the end of ‘malice’, ‘this’, and even ‘praise’ to an extent.  There is further consonance with the repetition of a hissing sound in ‘malice’, ‘this’, and ‘praise’. This line also seems to be written in iambic pentameter. Other lines within the poem are written with different meter and rhythm. The line “The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage” has eleven beats which means it incorporates a half foot. The line is also not a regular unstressed-stressed pattern. This line is also effective since the irregular rhythm causes the reader to trip somewhat and read more slowly and carefully.
Lines eleven through eighteen of the text serve as a preamble: they contribute to the work as a whole by establishing the motive of the author, Ben Johnson. In stating that he is aware that he is viewed “unworthy” to comment on Shakespeare’s works, Johnson addresses this criticism and gives more credence to his poem. Had the poem began at line seventeen, any rivalry or disparity between the two writers could detract from the poem. In addressing these potential issues himself, Johnson removes the question of whether or not he is legitimately praising Shakespeare or if it is satirical and the reader is able to enjoy the work as it was meant: as an elegy.

To answer the question of “Why does the poem not start at 1. 17” I do not have an exact answer but I have an idea. I believe the poem starts after 1. 17 because it gets you into the reading of the poem and gets you excited to read what is next. Starting with line 11 from my assigned section I gathered that there is deceiving acts occurring and that they are purposely being evil. Line 12 gives off an even more descriptive version of line 11 because it is backing it up and stating that where something is going right they will bring wrong to it. Line 13 is showing us that the reason for these problems is because of women in a brothel? A woman that perhaps does not respect her self and neither do the men in her life. Line 14 is implying that there is a married women being talked about and nothing would upset her more than to have whore women admiring her and all she does for her husband and household. Line 15 is indicating that there is proof the whore’s did something wrong and there is a way to show they are in the wrong. Line 16 is describing that despite the need or wants to be better or do better they will not change. Line 17 is about beginning the action on the stage for the play. Lastly line 18 is about the atmosphere of the theater and being on stage with people applauding and taking in everything about the experience. My 8 lines in my opinion are crucial to the poem as a whole because they are describing important characters and information in the play. This poems sound and rhythm is well put together. The last word in some of the sentences rhymes with previous ones and it has that pattern throughout the stanzas.

D-F ll. 25-40

Explanation of lines 25-40:
That I am comparing you, I excuse myself
But I only mean that you hold your own, and then some, with the great incomparable poets
But if I thought my judgment impaired by age, I could compare you surely to your contemporaries
I would speak of your superiority when compared to Lyly, Kyd, or Marlowe
And though you possess less formal education than those mentioned, your works would hold their own
if Euripides, Sophocles, Pacuvius, and Accius were called to life again to witness your dramas and comedies
your work would stand above even the hallowed and revered Greeks and Romans

In my uneducated estimation, the most effective line within these lines of the poem is line 39, Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome. I chose this because the meter appears to change to me. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, but in this line it appears to be eleven syllables. I am sure that in my unpracticed ear, I am missing something, but I cannot reconcile nor discover the reasoning. The poem is written in couplets and this line, like many throughout the poem, uses enjambment. There is both a harshness and discordant sound in the consonants used here, which I felt reflected the feeling of the poet. Both haughty and insolent are somewhat severe to the ear. It is in this particular line that Johnson’s reverence becomes most vehement.
While the poem, overall, places Shakespeare in high esteem, I think it is the comparisons found in lines 25-40 with the most esteemed poets of the past that exemplifies the regard in which Johnson holds Shakespeare. With these exhaustive comparisons, he leaves no room for doubt Shakespeare’s timeless greatness.

G  ll. 41-54

In Ben Johnson’s “"To the Memory of My Beloved, Mr. William Shakespeare", we see get a lot of praising from Johnson for Shakespeare. He dives in, admiring his work and skill, but also recognizing that though they have different styles, they are both great at what they do and he would not have it any other way. Line 41 starts my sections off by changing the direction in which who the speaker is talking to. He addresses his Britain directly, which would be a place and not a person. Making this decision not only makes what he is saying a statement, because it cannot reply, but the change in audience makes the reader focus on what he is saying. Britain has the right to consider itself a winner because of the fat that Shakespeare doing his work there on the stage. Line 43 really sticks out to me because it has become so true. Johnson says that his had no age but was for all time, which can be interpreted as Shakespeare’s work transcending all time and all languages. His work will live on to become something greater than anything else. Lines 44-46, compares Shakespeare with Roman Gods like Apollo and Mercury. In doing this, it brings Shakespeare’s work being so dramatic and so popular, to an unquestionable point.

In this poem it sounds like he “Johnson” will excuse himself. The part “But I only mean that you hold your own, and then some, with the great incomparable poets” seems to be saying that Shakespeare is able to “hold his own” meaning to contend with the great poets of old. But if his ‘Johnson’ judgment was compromised do to his age he would compare Shakespeare to the peers that were in his own time and not the older ones. Johnson would say that Shakespeare was superior to Lyly, Kyd, and Marlowe even when Shakespeare himself had much less formal education because the works that he did could stand their own even when placed against works made by people of much higher education levels. If the great poets of old like Euripides, Sophocles, Pacuvius, and Accius came back to life and witnessed the dramas and comedies that Shakespeare made, they would say that they were good. Shakespeare’s works would stand higher than that of the works that the Greeks and Romans revered.

The line in the poem that seemed the most effective is the line that tells of Shakespeare’s less formal education. I say this line because it makes a point that even if one does not have any formal education one can still achieve greatness if only the effort to learn and do great is within them. I feel that this line holds Johnson’s portrayal of Shakespeare as one of the greatest poets if not the greatest over other lines. This part of the poem lines twenty-five through forty have a large influence on the rest of the poem because it give the high standing that Johnson has for Shakespeare in both education levels as well as the honour of saying that he ‘Johnson” holds Shakespeare in the same light as the poets of old both Roman and Greek. This part is saying that Shakespeare is great no matter the time one looks at and compares him to.

Johnson does a wonderful job when he uses Nature with Shakespeare as well. Not only does everyone love him but Nature personified as a woman, appreciates the beauty of his work so much, that she dreams of wearing his words as clothing. At this time, for Nature to appreciate and bask in you and your work, that means you must be something special. In line 54 we see a reference to “Natures family”, it feels like Johnson is saying that the ancients Terence, Plauttus, and Aristophanes were not apart of this family but Shakespeare is. It seems his work is so pure and natural because it was gifted to his from nature and not something that he had to learn, he was born with the gift.

M  ll. 55-64

 On lines 41 through 54 of Jonson's poem "To the Memory of My Beloved, Mr. William Shakespeare," Jonson discusses William Shakespeare's legacy. Jonson also discusses the impact Shakespeare’s work had on the world, its timeless quality, and lasting influence. Finally, Jonson dives into the works of others and even makes reference to what he thinks are more antiquated creative artists, basically stating that they lack the flow and clear, poetic feel of Shakespeare’s work.

Johnson also discusses the high quality of Shakespeare's writing, referencing nature and the tight, meaningful structure found throughout his pieces. This can be seen in lines 47-49, when Jonson states, “Nature herself was proud of his designs, and joyed to wear the dressing of his lines, Which were so richly spun and woven so fit.” He was basically stating that he felt that the sound of Shakespeare’s work and his word usage and overall structure was that of a master wordsmith.

In my personal opinion, these three lines are also some of the best from a poetic stance, they flow well, and, along with line 43, provide a lot of context regarding Jonson’s feelings toward Shakespeare’s work. Which is also what I consider the most important element in this section of the poem and why it was included. Jonson wanted to leave his audience with the impression that regardless of who you are or when you were born, there is a certain endearing element in Shakespeare’s work that transcends the typical bounds of literature.

In Ben Johnson’s poem “To the Memory of My Beloved, The Author, Mr. William Shakespeare, and What He Hath Left Us”, Johnson writes exclusively on the prowess of Shakespeare’s abilities, lauding him as a true poet that could not possibly have any compare. It is clear from the work as a whole that Johnson not only holds Shakespeare in high regard as a poet, but also as an artist and as a fellow man in the general sense as well. Throughout the poem, he compares Shakespeare to other famous authors, and even to the poets of ancient Greece, which is possibly the highest compliment the late bard could be awarded at the time.
Lines 55 through 64 speak specifically on the talent of Shakespeare himself rather than the comparisons showered on him in the rest of the poem. This section is particularly important because it focuses not on comparing him to others, but, rather, singling him out as a remarkable individual in his own right. This section marks a turning point for the poem, which, up until line 52, had been name dropping in order to lift Shakespeare up for comparison. In this section, the object of the poem turns from comparison to establishing Shakespeare’s skills in his own right.
            The stanza of lines 59 through 60 are particularly interesting in this section because they note the importance not only of a poet’s ability to write, but to edit- what Johnson describes as ‘striking the second heat’ on ‘the Muse’s anvil’ is likening the art of crafting poetry to that of blacksmithing. The imagery here is quite profound, as blacksmithing is not easy work and involves a lot of sweat and toil. Yet Johnson compares the two arts like the work of a poet is a task that also involves a lot of sweat and hard work.

            Yet, the most poignant line in the section is the last line, line 64, which reads ‘For a good poet’s made, as well as born’. This is particularly notable because it brings up an excellent point of contention in the writing community, one that has certainly raged for as long as writing has been established as an art form. Are poets born talented, or is honing their craft a skill that can be established through study and hard work? According to Johnson, it is a combination of the two- and in saying this here, he alludes to the fact that Shakespeare is both these things- a born poet, and a poet that has worked hard to master his craft. This, in combination with the earlier lines that regard the crafting of poetry as hard and toilsome work, paint a picture of Johnson’s viewpoint of Shakespeare very clearly. Even in comparing him to other poets, he finds that Shakespeare has gone on to hone the craft of his own volition, not simply working off the foundation of others, and is truly a master craftsman of the time.

R-Z  ll. 75-80

Lines 75-80 paints the picture of Johnson looking up into the sky and envisioning Shakespeare being there. He sees him in the hemisphere because Shakespeare has created a constellation to make his mark in the night sky. Johnson then goes on to compliment Shakespeare saying he was the star of poets which relates to the constellation comment. Even though he’s gone he asks him to watch over the stage and continue to help influence it whether it would be for positive or negative judgement. Johnson says “drooping stage” which could mean that the theater community is in mourning because of the loss of Shakespeare. Since he is gone the world has gone dark like night. However, while they mourn it is also a celebration of Shakespeare’s work.

This poem was a tribute to William Shakespeare and Johnson’s way of recognizing how great he was. The lines that I analyzed were the ending lines so it gave a good closing summary to the poem. It was pretty much saying, in Johnson’s perspective, I see you up there, you were the best, the world misses you, and I hope you watch over the people who continue your work.

The poem is a couplet which means every two lines rhyme. This was mentioned earlier, but lines 76 and 77 create a good description. Johnson claims to see Shakespeare in the stars which he thinks is fitting because he calls him the star of poets. I thought that was pretty clever.

Jonson’s poem “To the Memory of my Beloved, Mr. William Shakespeare” is written with rhyming couplets of verse in iambic pentameter otherwise known as heroic couplet. The 80-line poem is an elegy to the poet Shakespeare, as the speaker of the poem seems to be Ben Jonson himself giving praise to his existence and influence. In the closing of the poem, lines 75-80, Jonson literally illustrates a sort of dreamy or heaven-like mural made of stars in the sky representing a remembrance or after-life of Shakespeare. The opening couplet, “But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere” (75) “Advanced, and made a constellation there!” (76) describes Jonson acknowledging Shakespeare’s passing and pointing out a constellation in the dark sky making him a literal and figurative star.  Shakespeare described as a constellation in the sky represents the brilliance and influence he has brought onto poets as the greatest poet of his peers, “Shine forth, thou star of poets, and with rage” (77).  The word rage could signify a strong emotional influence that Shakespeare had onto his audiences or a poetic inspiration. The stage is described as drooping or sadly falling, “chide or cheer the drooping stage;” (78), which personifies the stage mourning the death of the Shakespeare. The poets and audiences alike are described as mourning like night or darkness, “Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,” (79). At the very end of the poem, Jonson closes with the idea that although Shakespeare is gone there is still the influence of his work left behind which can be the “light” to his mourning. Jonson had written the poem in admiration of Shakespeare and the influence of his work and in his own perspective the best of his time now becoming a forever star in the sky.

Line 75 of Ben Jonson’s poem To the Memory of my Beloved, the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare states, “That so did take Eliza, and our James!”. When Jonson says Eliza and James he is referring to Queen Elizabeth and King James- They are said to have had a big impact on Shakespeare’s writing. Both Queen Elizabeth and King James are dead. Jonson links Shakespeare’s death with theirs stating that the same force took all of their lives. Jonson then transitions into line 76-78 by brightening the mood of the poem. He states...
But stay, I see thee in the Hemisphere
Advanc’d, and made a Constellation there!
Shine forth, thou Starre of Poets, and with rage,
The thought of death is uplifted when Jonson claims he can still see Shakespeare in the Hemisphere because Shakespeare was capable of advancing and building a constellation. Jonson refers to Shakespeare as the “starre of poets” this can be related to the constellation reference. Jonson then encourages Shakespeare’s spirit to shine forth. These lines demonstrate Jonson’s view on the immense impact Shakespeare had on the world. This impact it still seen in the “Hemisphere”.
Lines 79-80 state…
“Or influence, chide, or cheere the drooping Stage;
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn’d like night,
And despaires day, but for thy Volumes light.”
In these lines Jonson is explaining what the world is like without Shakespeare physically alive in this world. He explains that since Shakespeare’s death the theatre world has been dark like night and has undergone a “drooping Stage”. Though it is clear that Jonson is upset about Shakespeare’s death he still celebrates his life and works throughout the entire poem. Lines 75-77 are most effective as poetry. They evoke emotions in the reader that truly believe that though Shakespeare has died he is still very much alive in our world today.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

L317 Seventeenth-Century English Poetry: syllabus

Dr. M. L. Stapleton
ENG L317 / B627: Early Seventeenth-Century English Poetry
Spring 2017 MW 4.30-5.45  LA 116
Office: LA 105  Hours: available by appointment

Teskey, ed., Paradise Lost: A Norton Critical Edition (ISBN: 0393924289)
Rumrich and Chaplin, ed., Seventeenth-Century British Poetry: 1603-1660: A Norton Critical Edition (ISBN: 0393979989)

Always come to class with your book. Cell phones and tablets are welcome, too. I would appreciate it if you would limit your usage to class-related issues.

1/11 (W) 1/18 (W) 1/23 (M) 1/25 (W) Jonson, “On Something That Walks Somewhere”; “On My First Daughter”; “On My First Son”; “Inviting a Friend to Supper”; “Why I Write Not of Love”; “To Penshurst”; “To . . . Shakespeare”
1/30 (M) 2/1 (W) 2/6 (M) 2/8 (W) Donne, “The Sun Rising”; “The Flea”; “The Apparition”; “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”; “The Ecstasy”; “Elegy: On His Mistress Going to Bed”; [“At the round earth’s imagined corners”]; [“Death be not proud”]; [“Batter my heart”]; “Good Friday, 1613: Riding Westward”
2/13 (M) 2/15 (W) 2/20 (M) Herbert, “The Altar”; “Redemption”; “Easter [I]”; “Easter-wings [I]”; “Affliction [I]”; “Jordan [I]”; “Jordan [II]”; “The Collar”; [“Love III”]
2/22 (W) 2/27 (M) 3/1 (W) Herrick, “The Argument of His Book”; “Dreams”; “Delight in Disorder”; “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”; “His Prayer to Ben Jonson”; “The Bad Season Makes the Poet Sad”; “Upon Julia’s Clothes”; Carew, “Song: Persuasions to Enjoy”; Lovelace, “Love Made in the First Age: To Chloris”; Waller, “The Story of Phoebus and Daphne Applied”; “Song [Go, lovely rose]”
1/16 (M) NO CLASS
3/6 (M) 3/8 (W) NO CLASS
3/13 (M) 3/15 (W) Philips; Lanyer, from Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum
3/20 (M) 3/22 (W) 3/27 (M) 3/29 (W) Marvell, “An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland”; “The Nymph Complaining for the Death of Her Fawn”; “To His Coy Mistress”; “The Definition of Love”
4/3 (M) 4/5 (W) 4/10 (M) 4/12 (W) 4/17 (M) 4/19 (W) 4/24 (M) 4/26 (W) Milton, Paradise Lost


1. Attendance: You are allowed five (5) absences for any reason you choose. Students who miss more than this will fail the course, without exception, regardless of circumstances. I do not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences, nor am I responsible for material that you miss because you are absent. Students who miss the attendance call (the first five minutes of class) will be marked absent.

If you need to leave early, it is perfectly acceptable to inform me beforehand. If you have an emergency, it is perfectly acceptable to inform me of this, as well. Please take care of  your bathroom business before class starts. It is extremely rude to get out of your seat and leave the room when class is in session.

2. Papers and exams are due on the scheduled dates by 9 a.m.: 2 24 February, 31 March, 1 May. Late papers = 0. No exceptions. 4-5 pp. We’ll submit these in a Word document over email to my address above so that I can return them to you this way. Revision is optional but strongly encouraged, and includes an mandatory office conference. Revisions are due by 1 May.

3. Plagiarism: It should go without saying that students are also expected to do their own work; indebtedness to secondary sources (either printed or electronic) must be clearly indicated so as to avoid plagiarism:
—(piecemeal) using someone else’s words and phrases as if they were your own, not paraphrasing or summarizing properly, even with proper documentation;
—(grotesque) using someone else’s ideas as if they were your own, without proper documentation;
—(more grotesque) allowing someone else to write your paper for you.

4. The course grade will be determined by a rough averaging together of your three exams-papers and any revision of these. I reserve the right to take additional factors into account: improvement, class participation (or the extreme lack of it), and, of course, attendance. Grades are not negotiable, personal, or subject to the influence of extracurricular academic factors.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dr. Stapleton    ENG L309   Spenser Exam   28 November 2016

You should approach your assignment in the same way that I suggested you interpret your midterm.  Examine The Faerie Queene 12.1-14 (pp. 920-22 in your book) and relate details from the stanzas to the rest of the text in a meaningful way. 

Frequently, those who study FQ tend not to read the last canto very carefully and tend to discount its effects and poetics.  Your job is to explain why this is a mistake, using those fourteen stanzas as evidence. You can talk about whatever you like: lines that seem to reticulate to other parts of the poem or that “say” the text as a whole; people who don’t seem important; events that appear to be gratuitous; how the sounds and metrics accentuate or enhance Spenser’s narrative via mimesis (i.e., Aristotle’s word and concept μίμηση).

Your Spenser exam is due by 9 a.m. on Monday 12 December. I do not return finals or write comments on them.

Carpaccio, St. George and the Dragon (1502), Scuola di San Giorgio, Venice

Monday, October 3, 2016

L309 Midterm

Dr. Stapleton First Exam

Not at the first sight, nor with a dribbed shot,
Loue gaue the wound, which, while I breathe, will bleede;
But knowne worth did in tract of time proceed,
Till by degrees, it had full conquest got.
I saw and lik'd; I lik'd but loued not; 5
I lou'd, but straight did not what Loue decreed:
At length, to Loues decrees I, forc'd, agreed,
Yet with repining at so partiall lot.
Now, euen that footstep of lost libertie
Is gone; and now, like slaue-borne Muscouite, 10
I call it praise to suffer tyrannie;
And nowe imploy the remnant of my wit
To make myselfe beleeue that all is well,
While, with a feeling skill, I paint my hell.

1. Explicate the sonnet above, Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella #2. Simply paraphrasing it into your own words will not be sufficent. To explicate means to explain and analyze the poet’s effects, which will enable you to demonstrate your newfound knowledge about how those like him do their work: structure, rhetoric, rhyme scheme, “matching” rhymes, meter and metrical diversity, tone, emotion, allusion, diction, puns, wordplay.

2. You’ve now read other writers of the period, such as Gascoigne, Wyatt, Skelton, Dowriche, Lok, Whitney, and Surrey. What traditions or conventions do Sidney and his predecessors have in common? What seems different? Be specific.

3. As a refresher, here is my section on analytical writing from my webpage that I’m sure you’ve seen before. Let it be your guide:

Its most important section:
Always a) Analyze your quotations. Find words, phrases, or general ideas in your citations that you can discuss and relate to your premises; b) avoid the simple paraphrase of a character’s words into your own, unless the actual meaning of a passage is in question and at issue; and, most crucial, hardest to master, c)cite only as much as you are prepared to discuss thoroughly, and no more. Keep those quotations SHORT.

4-5 pp. Due Friday 7 October by 9 a.m. via email

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Anne Dowriche

Are you, as readers, friendly to her poetry?

A terrific portrait from 1567, which might be of Catherine Willoughby (1519-80) or her daughter. She was married to Henry VIII's friend and brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

The event Anne Dowriche describes in Bloody Marriage, Butcherly Murder, was a horrific event indeed, the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572.  I want you to do a simple thing. Read as much of the long poem as you can, choose no more than two lines that you think are good poetry, and write a detailed paragraph explaining why. If you could be done with this by next class period, wonderful.


“Where lifting up his voice, so that the King might hear,
These words he spake before them all, devoid of fainting fear:”
(Loughlin et al. 635)
These lines have a refreshing simplicity to them where they say a lot without too much effort. The meaning is clear to understand, that the speaker is unconcerned with how he appears in front of the king and is intentionally challenging him, which is a powerful image all on its own. With just these few words Dowriche creates a clear characterization of the speaker as someone who has seen atrocities and is willing to stand up to a lord as high and powerful as the king. The final few words, “devoid of fainting fear,” also directly relates to the ending of the first line, “so that the king might hear,” in more than just completing the rhyme but also clarifying that the challenge made is not a slight underhanded comment to potentially be overheard, but is in fact a bold declaration made without fear, thus leaving no room for misinterpretation but rather solidifying the reader’s understanding as the speaker has solidified his stance against the king.

"The King doth threaten death, and God doth threaten Hell,
If for the King I should forsake my God, should I do well?" (699-700)

    These two lines are good poetry because they show the conflict between following  earthly or heavenly authority. This quote is spoken by De Nance, the head of the royal guard. He is ordered by  King Charles IX to kill Count Rochefoucauld, however he defiantly refuses. As the example above shows, he is conflicted between obeying his king and obeying God. He knows that what they are doing is sinful, but he is also a servant of the king. If he disobeys the King, he dies. If he murders innocent people, he goes to Hell. The last line is a little sarcastic, with De Nance asking if he should do a good job since he is forsaking God to follow the King. This shows that he is a man who is willing to stand up for his own values. Even if it will cost him his life

“There is a subtle vein that feeds this cankered sore, /For now the deeper it is lanced it riseth still the more.” (25-26)

                I have chosen this couplet as good poetry for their use of imagery to reflect the tension during the massacre.  The author of this piece has crafted these lines as a metaphor for the ongoing fighting and tension. This can be found within the lines themselves. The first line gives us the image of a sore, but no ordinary sore, this one is cankered. Leading to this sore is a “subtle vein” (25), this use of subtle creates a contradiction. The opposition of a “subtle vein” leading to a “cankered sore” creates the tension in the line between these two images. Sore is a word that sticks out because one does not get a sore overnight. A sore is a wound that builds up over time which is what the author wants the reader to notice. This is a problem which has been festering over time.  The second line invokes the feeling of the couplet. The couplet gives the reader a sense of hopelessness while conveying the overall tone of the poem. Tension is found in the second line due to the sore being “lanced” and still “riseth” even when it is cut or pierced the sore continues to grow.  There are all of these horrible things happening, but every attempt to stop the massacre was futile.  The second line serves as the anchor of this couplet, finishing the idea created at the start of the couplet.

I see a lot of play with the role of the King and how this affects the outcome of the war at hand. Line 17, makes it seem like when good intentions are the prime purpose of each person of power, Satan swoops in to “vex” them. This goes hand in hand with God using Kings to do his bidding and to follow him. It’s a fight to the finish and it seems in this story, Satan is the one pulling through with the men in question. Line 74, correlates with this idea that they are all so easily conquered by him and in this case, were actually willing to follow his lead. These two lines show the deception in the poem and how wrongfully led the people are. No one is safe from this evil and this shows that the powerful are a strong start to corrupting the general public and leading them down the path that they have no real choice in.

The Mother Queen in this must also play her part,
That no suspect of treason may remain within their heart. (57-58)

            These two lines indicate that there is a coup being planned. The Council agreed to pretend to succumb or yield to the rising force, which was the only way because two civil wars have already happened, and a third is a close possibility. The king must make it appear that he has come to the side of Christendom. He knows that he has to smile, pretend and entertain and the Queen must do the same.


“I will,” said he, “forget, yea pardon and release
All former griefs, so that you will now yield to have peace. (79-80)

These two lines indicate that the King is saying yeah man lets forgive and forget. Let us let the past be in the past so we can move on to bigger and better things. All the while the King is plotting in his mind to not live up to his word. DOUBLE CROSS



Within the poem Bloody Marriage, Butcherly Murder written by Anne Dowriche, the couplet that stood out to me the most was, “A secret thing I have bethought which here I will / bewray:” (37-38). The poet first catches the attention of the reader in the couplet prior to this one which addresses the audience directly, thus, forging the notion that what is to be said next is especially noteworthy. Following these lines, Anne Dowriche entices the reader with talk of secrets which she intends to reveal in the remainder of her poem. The added alluring aspect that a secret brings to the poet’s work does a wonderful job of not only catching the attention of the reader but also implying a great importance to the remainder of her poem. Due to the attractive aspect that revealing a secret brings to the reader, these two lines serve as an example of good poetry as they catch the reader’s attention and make them eager to read on.

“It galled him to the heart, that where he did devise
To choke the word that even there more it did arise” (19 & 20)

The first aspect of these lines that stood out to me was their sound. Although the word galled means to annoy or to rub harshly, galled is also a rather harmonious word within the poem. The writer uses this contrast to explain the kings annoyance while also making her own approval of his annoyance known. The awkwardness of the word galled also adds to the illustration of the king’s bewilderment that the very word he is suppressing is not only the word that is surviving but is the word that is growing as well.I think the feature of these two lines that I appreciate the most is the author’s use of better. I don’t know enough about meter to elaborate I just know that as a reader I enjoy it. I also assumed that the speaker is using “the word” to refer to the Word of God. Therefor, I appreciated the authors words in line 20 because this aligns with scriptures continues history of being suppressed yet seizing to die out. I also think it is interesting how obvious the author declares her allegiance too annoying the king. Even though she is a woman she is not afraid or intimidated. 

Elizabeth, Lindsay

“Where from his wounded head sprang out so fresh a flood, / That vizard-like his face was all imbrued with gory blood” (613,614).
I chose these 2 lines of poetry as an example because of the brilliant use of imagery. Dowriche paints a gruesome image of the slaying of the Admiral. After his corpse is tossed from the window, she describes him in distressing detail. She emphasizes the blood by comparing the head wound to a springing flood. Then she furthers the graphic image by stating his face was now masked from the stains of “gory blood” (614). He is unrecognizable, and he is dirtied by their wrongs. It is grisly, to be sure, but that is the purpose of the lines. Dowriche is attempting to draw attention to the horrors of their crimes against the Protestants forces. They are slaying guiltless individuals and staining them physically (with blood), and perhaps metaphorically by implying they soil their pureness. She spares no details in how they murdered him because she wants to stir the readers’ emotions. These lines are a good representation of the cruelty and atrocity the narrator wishes to express. Dowriche is using very clear and memorable images to make a point to the readers. Most importantly, the graphic images invoke feeling and reaction which is vital aspect to poetry.

“’There is a subtle vein that feeds this cankered/ sore,/ For now the deeper it is lanced it riseth still the/ more.’” (25-26)

            The reason why these particular lines are important is because they foreshadow what is to come. The poem is about a bloody murder, this we already know before reading the first few lines. Within these lines, we know that there is a foe afoot, that is as the lines suggest, “this cankered/ sore,/”. No matter how the forces fight against this enemy, they still rise up as if they have not been beaten down, nor has any metal in their armor been penetrated beyond fixing. To describe your foe, or opposing force, as a sore is a very deep insult, one administered for an enemy of extreme calibration. These two lines are dripping with pure hatred for the opposing force, there is not one nice thing said. By reading these two lines and noting their importance within the poem alerts the reader of circumstances that will become reality very soon.