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.   

Monday, September 12, 2016

L309 First Writing Assignment

Dr. Stapleton ENG L309 First Assignment   9 September 2016

Besides learning about sixteenth-century English literature, the purpose of the course is to develop your analytical reading and writing abilities. In my profession, we make arguments, present evidence, and organize our findings so that we contribute something new to scholarship in a particular area. To these ends, the exercise to be performed is to analyze Wyatt’s poem “Of the Courtier’s Life Written to John Poins” in your anthology (197-99). Please avoid listing, summarizing, and making needless general statements about life and literature. I’d really enjoy seeing what you can do and hearing about what you think. You’re welcome to bring our other reading to bear on the topic as well.

Wyatt writes most of this text in the second person, and uses a fairly steady rhyme scheme and metrical pattern. Your job is to account for the poet’s effects, whatever you think they are, and to take a position on what you think the poem is doing.  Avoid value judgments (the poem is good; the poem is bad; I believe; I think). You might concentrate on the significant use of sound, tone, attitude, psychology and rhetoric (i.e., structure). Choose brief passages that make your points and show us why they do. Find one slightly longer passage and explain why it is of particular significance.  A poem is usually dramatic, in the sense that it was intended and designed to be read, spoken, or performed aloud. You might account for these elements. If you were teaching someone to deliver “John Poins,” what specific things would you emphasize? What directions would you provide?

My Writing Handouts page on my teaching website provides a great deal of help to those who seek it. The Writing Papers section explains what we do in a general way. The sections on Analytical Writing, Avoiding Needless Repetition, and Lead-ins and Quotations are highly recommended. Crucial: the “In Medias Res” section of the Writing Papers handout. Build your paper from the inside out. Specific is good.

Your essay should be 4-6 pp., double-spaced. No other question of formatting need concern us now. You may indicate line numbers in parentheses.  Please see the section on the Writing Papers page about how to quote poetry.

The paper is due Friday, 30 September, by 9 a.m., by email. Late papers = F. Strictly enforced, non-negotiable. I’m more than happy to discuss your paper or writing at any time possible. Email is fine, and the office is better. The best news is that you may REVISE this paper, the revision due at any time before the due date for the final take-home exam-paper, 12 December.

Required: for revision, office conference. Like your grade and attendance, non-negotiable.

ENG L317 / B627 : Early Seventeenth-Century English Poetry Spring 2017

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Assume the position! 

Assume the position!

1. Read the analytical writing handout on the Writing Papers webpage. What does it say? Show me that you understand by putting its suggestions to work in this little assignment:

2. Here is a celebrated sonnet by Thomas Wyatt, a translation of Petrarch's Rime 104.  Explain how your assigned quatrain (with one exception) functions in the poem, e.g., why in its place? what does it contribute? does it advance an idea? If you have something better to analyze, feel free to offer it.  Most important: which line in your section seems most important, worthy of discussion, and why?

I find no peace, and all my war is done ;
I fear and hope, I burn, and freeze like ice ;
I fly aloft, yet can I not arise ;
And nought I have, and all the world I seize on,

The first quatrain of Wyatt’s translation of Petrarch’s Rime 104 presents us with several sets of dichotomies that at first seem mutually exclusive. However, once the concept of unrequited love is applied to them, they begin to work together. “I find no peace, and all my war is done,” the author writes first, indicating that though he is not actively fighting to attain his love, he cannot feel at peace as long as he bears the love in his heart. “I fear and hope, I burn, and freeze like ice,” he continues, which shows that he fears her reaction to his love, but he hopes that it is positive. His heart burns with passion for her, but he freezes and is unable to approach her romantically. “I fly aloft, yet can I not arise,” he says, noting that his love for the woman he desires makes him feel like he’s flying with bliss, but as long as they are not really together, he feels like he cannot get up in the morning and is weighed down by the fact that the love is only one-way. The last line of the quatrain says, “And nought I have, and all the world I seize on.” He doesn’t have her love, but he grasps the things in the world around him to fill the void that she leaves. This is the first quatrain because it sets up the ideas that the others would follow. It is strong enough to even stand on its own as a short poem to unrequited love as the contrasting wording is powerful and image-provoking. The final line of the quatrain is the most important, because of the different interpretations. One might find that “all the world I seize on” would indicate seizing on his love, but in the earlier lines, it shows the author freezing and generally acting in a more passive role whereas seizing his love would be much more active. It seems more like he is trying calm his passions through the other things around him though he is not successful. It isn’t out of the realm of imagination that people would try to distract themselves when they know their feelings aren’t reciprocated.

In Wyatt's translation of Petrarch he starts with the line, "I find no peace, and all my war is done." This line signifies that even at a time when he is supposed to be at peace he isn't because of his unrequited love. In the second line he says "I fear and hope; I burn and freeze like ice." He is hopeful that the woman he loves will love him back and fearful that she won't. This feeling is excruciating pain for him. Wyatt then says that he flies but cannot arise. This means that his love makes him feel like he is flying but in reality he can never leave the ground because she won't return those feelings. And finally he says that he has nothing but he seizes the world. This relates to him not having her love but he is determined to have it. This quatrain comes first in the poem because it sets up what the poem is about and what it will lead to in the other stanzas. 

Wyatt’s translation starts with, “I find no peace, and all my war is done.” The line, “all my war is done,” seems to mean that either a literal war he fought might be over, but it is more likely referring to some other struggle or conflict in his life. Despite this conflict being over the speaker is apparently still not at peace and the source of this unrest is likely to appear later in the poem. The next stanza presents a series of opposites that the speaker claims to experience all at once; fear and hope, burning and freezing. This stanza seems to imply that the speaker is in conflict with himself, he is both fearful and hopeful and he experiences both extremes concurrently and equally. The next two lines continue this odd paradox with, “I fly aloft, yet I cannot rise,” and, “And nought I have, and all the world I seize on respectively.  Both statements are contradictory and don't seem to make a lot of sense, however they along with the rest of the lines may refer to a relationship of some sorts where the speaker feels that only he has these feelings and they are not reciprocated, though the first quatrain is fairly vague and the idea of unrequited love can only be inferred though is probable in the sonnet form. The first four stanzas serve to set up a frame of mind for the speaker where he can clearly be seen to be in some discomfort and emotional turmoil, while the next lines of the poem will likely explore this and clarify the first quatrain's meaning.  

That locks nor loseth, holdeth me in prison,
And holds me not, yet can I scape no wise :
Nor lets me live, nor die, at my devise,
And yet of death it giveth me occasion.

The second quatrain leads the reader into the hopeless struggle one is in when love has consumed them. Wyatt shows indecision by making the speaker bounce ideas, would it be better to live and love or die to end their sorrow. This stanza contributes to the idea of Petrarchan love, that love is something the speaker cannot obtain. The way the speaker describes his prison, it is apparent that they are no longer in control of their love or life. “Nor lets me live, nor die, at my devise,” their life is no longer being decided by their own thoughts, but rather it is being decided by their love/heart. Only death will break the bond that holds the love together. This quote is the most important because it conveys the central idea of the stanza which is the speaker is powerless to the wills of love. The third line is the most important of the stanza. It conveys to the reader the feeling that the speaker has tormenting them. “Devise” is the word that catches my eye in the line. It is not just the word, but the phrase “my devise”. The speaker is trying to control the love, but it operates as a separate entity. It gives him neither life or death, but still the speaker exists. 

Without eye I see; without tongue I plain:
I wish to perish, yet I ask for health ;
I love another, and thus I hate myself ;
I feed me in sorrow, and laugh in all my pain.

The third quatrain is the bridge between the beginning of the poem where the audience is introduced to the apparent conflicting views of the speaker, and then to the explanation behind the speakers internal strife. Although the audience isn’t fully aware of the speakers conflict until the final two lines (13 and 14) the tenth line  “I wish to perish, yet I ask for health ;“ alludes to the speakers unhappiness in both life and death.

Pleasures of death are romanticized in this poem as death is looked upon as delivery from the torment brought on by the poet’s love. The first two quatrains of the poem establish the poet’s vice; his inability to cash in on his love for another makes him feel stuck, frozen, grounded, despite feeling elated by the effects of enamor. The second quatrain specifically develops the poet’s sensation of entrapment within paradoxical confines. While the poet reports himself being neither freed or locked inside of the mentioned prison, the futility of attempting to break the hold of the miserable vice is so oppressing, that death seems to the poet a viable escape. In the third and final quatrain, the argument for death has the poet nearly completely convinced of its validity. Without the bodily senses which allow the poet to react to the world, the poet can be stoic in the face of adversity. The paradoxical nature of the poem, however, has the poet ultimately not asking for death, as even it cannot serve as the ultimate deliverer from the pains of love.

Within Thomas Wyatt’s sonnet, Petrarch's Rime 104, the line that I find most important to the poem as a whole is, “I love another, and thus I hate myself” as the contrasting words of love and hate show the cynical view that the speaker has of love due to it’s uneven nature. Understanding this view is imperative to understanding the poem as a whole because it demonstrates how the speaker feels that love is so painful that he must have to truly hate himself in order to entertain such an emotion. Such a notion reinforces the concept of unrequited love which is brought about in the first two stanzas as the emotional effects of such a predicament are displayed through his emotional torment. The contradictions apparent throughout the third stanza as well as the rest of the poem display the confused state that the speaker is in, he does not really want to die although death appears constantly on his mind as the only conceivable solace from the painful result of unrequited love. Ultimately the speaker’s love is stronger than his pain as even though he longs for death, he does not wish to actually die, for to do so would bring him farther from his love. The words, “laugh in all my pain” reinforce this notion as they show that even though he is suffering, he still delights in the emotion of love. Essentially, the speaker is caught in a painful cycle of wanting to be free from the pain of unrequited love and not wanting to lose the pure love that he has formed.

Elizabeth, Lindsay
Lo, thus displeaseth me both death and life,
And my delight is causer of this strife.

Wyatt’s speaker expresses “thus displeaseth me both death and life,” he finds no escape from his desire. With death he could escape the pain, and yet lose his passion. With life he could experience love, but suffer from the sting it causes. His affection knows no cure, and throughout the sonnet the speaker describes the physical and mental torment it brings him. “I fear and hope, I burn,” the feelings he portrays are mixed and confused. Fear and burning are unpleasant thoughts, but hope is more optimistic and promising. He expresses the uncertainty of attachment and the conflicting feelings it causes by using paradoxes. “Wish to perish, yet I ask for health” or “laugh in all my pain,” the speaker is constantly contradicting himself. Wyatt expresses the depth of human’s interaction with love. However, Wyatt’s speaker seems resigned to this fate with the last line of the sonnet, “my delight is courser of this strife.” He realizes that the love he feels will also result in pain. Wyatt appears to show that love is irrational, and if the narrator wishes to pursue this love he may suffer emotional or physical peril. However, by not pursuing his desires he will also be trapped. The sonnet embodies ambiguity in pursuing love.