Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I Prithee Give Me Back My Heart

You'll be writing about this poem for your first assignment, due on the 24th February (see previous post).  A warmup seems apt, does it not? It's a famous lyric by John Hughes.

Analyze your assigned stanza as you did with the previous poem by Jonson. Please remember that lead-ins and quotations need to make grammatical sense together. And if you use a block quotation, remember that it does not employ quotation marks.


I Prithee Send Me Back My Heart  (John Hughes, c. 1640)


I prithee send me back my heart
  Since I cannot have thine;
For if from yours you will not part,
  Why, then, shouldst thou have mine?

My stanza is the first of the poem and I think it has a significant effect on the tone of the poem and how it sets up the rest of the stanzas. The first part begins with prithee and in my opinion it is about a man begging for his heart back from his ex lover because she has broken it. He then goes on to say that he cannot have her heart. From reading other stanzas I can infer that she may be selfish and that she is not willing to give her all and put in her best effort into the relationship. She will not part from her own heart and her ways, she does not want to have to accommodate for anyone other than herself. He then begins to ask her a question that if she does not want to give her heart away then why shouldn’t she have his heart. It is more of a rhetorical question in my opinion because I do not think he actually wanted an answer from that question, just for her to think about it. I believe that he wants her to change and be better woman for him but she is not one to stray from her routine.

In lines one through four of John Hughes “I Prithee Send Me Back My Heart” the author’s words are essentially “I beg you to somehow release me from loving you/ since you do not love me;/ If you won’t surrender your love to me/ why should I keep loving you?” (1-4). The speaker of Hughes poem appears to be in a relationship that has either ended or was one-sided. The speaker still has feelings for the subject and is begging her or him to “send me back my hear” or, to help the speaker stop loving him or her. The speaker also condemns the subject of the lyric for either having withdrawn or not having returned his or her feelings. The logic given is “why should I still love you if you do not love me?”
The most telling line is the fourth line: “Why then shouldst thou have mine?” This line communicates the underlying bitterness that the speaker feels due to a lack of reciprocation of his or her feelings. The first stanza uses an alternating rhyme scheme ABAB. This poem is written in iamb and the meter/ feet alternate between tetrameter and trimester. This stanza does not utilize assonance, resonance, alliteration or other internal lyrical techniques other than the simple alternating end rhymes.
The overall theme of the poem is simple as well. In the conclusion of the work, the speaker has decided to “let [my heart] lie” rather than having it back (5). The subject of the poem is depicted as 
conniving and likely to steal the speaker’s heart once again (8). With the bitterness of the remainder of the poem, the first stanza tempers that bitterness by showing the reader the depth of the speaker’s pain. The first four lines contribute to the overall work by establishing the purpose for writing the poem: unrequited love.


Yet now I think on’t, let it lie,                          5
  To find it were in vain;
For thou hast a thief in either eye
  Would steal it back again!

The poem "I Prithee Give Me Back My Heart", is a poem that depicts the turmoil that a man is going through because of his one sided love. The poem starts off with the narrator asking his love to return his heart to him because he knows that she is not willing to give him her heart in exchange and as John Hughes says, "Why then should thoust have mine?"
The verse that I am focusing on comes right after that and shows how the narrator immediately has a change of heart. The second stanza starts with the narrator saying, "Yet now I think on't, let it lie." This verse means that the narrator has thought about it more and decided that they should just forget about the whole idea. In the second line of the stanza, he says, "To find it were in vain." He is saying that even if his heart were returned to him, it would be for nothing. The reason for this is explained in the last two verses of the stanza when the narrator says, "For thou hast a thief in either eye, Would steal it back again!" These two verses explain that even if the woman returned his heart, she would just steal it back again by simply looking at him.
This verse is important to the poem because it shows the power that this woman has over him. The poem starts off with him making a stance by telling her to give him back his love for her if she won't love him in return. The second stanza is his realization that what he asks for is impossible to do and even if it was returned, nothing would change. The remaining stanzas show the narrator lamenting his situation then eventually coming to terms with it. This stanza may seem like a small part of the poem but it is actually an important moment. It shows the beginning of the narrator's acceptance that he may never stop loving her and she may never love him in the same way.

In the first stanza of John Hughes’ poem, I Prithee Send Me Back My Heart the speaker ruminates on unrequited love, in fact, his own. In the first stanza, implores the object of his desire to “send back [his] heart” (1). However, what begins as a usual plea for mercy takes a turn in the second stanza. The reader is alerted to the change in tone with the first two words of the first line, “yet now”; not only is there a change in tone, the line is composed in such a way as to emphasize the immediacy of the speaker’s emotions. The text is such that it appears the reader is privy to the speaker’s thoughts as they occur.
Whereas the first stanza creates a palpable feeling of angst, with the second stanza, the speaker eschews mercy from his beloved. Instead, he seems to find it a “vain” (6) entreaty. Here he seems to recognize the futility in asking for his heart to be returned for when he would look into “either eye” his heart would only be stolen “back again” (8). The phrasing in “hast a thief in either eye” accuses her of thievery, placing the speaker’s predicament solely on his unrequited love’s shoulders, thus absolving him of any weakness. Unable to resist her, he decides not to fight his unfortunate fate. While his apparent acceptance does not keep him from bemoaning his wretched state in the following stanzas; however the second stanza proves important in conveying the helplessness in the face of his love’s charms. Indeed, his sad realization that even if he were to be granted clemency, in short order he would, once again, be under her spell.
All five of the stanzas in this poem speak to a man suffering unrequited love, including the second stanza, but it is that stanza that the hopelessness of his situation is most strongly depicted. He desires release but decides to “let it lie” (5) in acknowledgment of the futility in his situation.


Why should two hearts in one breast lie
  And yet not lodge together?                            10
Oh, Love, where is thy sympathy,
  If thus our breasts thou sever?

In lines nine through twelve of John Hughes’ poem I Prithee Give Me Back My Heart, Hughes seems to be questioning the reciprocated feelings of his love. How can she not give her heart to him but hold onto his and have both hearts within her possession, “Why should two hearts in one breast lie and yet not lodge together?” How can these two hearts lie within one being and still not morph together to form a strong bond. This is where I get the sense that he does in fact know, that his feelings are not being given back from her in the ways that he may want them to. “Oh, Love, where is thy sympathy”, the speaker is questioning whether their love will finally care once they have been separated and his heart is where it belongs. The use of “breasts severing”, makes us think that his love is so strong that the only way to get his heart back would be through excruciating pain on both sides, by splitting their breasts apart. Finally I think Hughes is telling her that he has changed his mind and will let her keep his heart because in the end, if he were to get it back, it would only be a matter of time before it was stolen by her again.

In the poem John Hughes said telling a story about a woman that he has fallen for however, they do not care the same about him. In line nine “Why should two hearts in one breast lie” this means, in context with the first part of the poem, why should the one he loves have his heart as well as her own. The love that one has should be given in both ways and not just one. The end part of this line is “And yet not lodge together” this is saying that his heart and hers, when in the same breast, are not joined together as he thinks they should be. She has given nothing and he has given his heart to her with no exception. The next part of the stanza “Love, where is thy sympathy” is asking her why she does not give sympathy when he has love for her but she gives nothing back to him. The end part of this is telling that if we sever our hearts then why is it that she has taken his love and yet does not give any in return.


But love is such a mystery,
  I cannot find it out;
For when I think I’m best resolved,                 15
  I then am most in doubt.

In lines fifteen through eighteen of John Hughes’ poem I Prithee Give Me Back My Heart, Mr. Hughes seems to be talking about the complexity of love and how difficult it is to understand how it effects us mentally and emotionally. It is familiar rhetoric that has been written about in poetry, drama, and even comedy, for centuries. This is a strong and repetitive theme that most people can identify with on some basic level—often due to their own experiences.
His choice to speak of the mystery of love seems appropriate in the context of the rest of the poem. It’s like he is both stating that it is a mystery and asking why love would be so cruel that it would allow itself to manifest so strongly when perhaps that love is not reciprocated in its entirety, or not entirely within our control. This is followed up by the line “I cannot find it out;” which is a way of saying that even after much thought and self-exploration, the answers to these questions still manage to allude him. An idea that is reinforced when he states that even when he believes that he has managed to work through it, he finds himself even more confused than ever because the rational part of his mind disagrees with his emotional self—hence the paradoxical style mystery that people often encounter when trying to reason through love and heartbreak by using logic and forethought.

Hughes’ poem is an exploration of one person’s love for another and his want for understanding and his desire to know whether or not that love is reciprocated as fully and as completely as he wants it to be. It’s a poem of contemplation and giving one’s self up to their own emotions and the arms of another and accepting love as it is, and my particular section would seem to be his effort to reason with himself and come to terms with the fact that love doesn’t always make sense, nor can it always be reasoned with.

The subject of lines thirteen through sixteen in John Hughes’ poem “I Prithee, Give Me Back My Heart” is fairly straightforward. In these lines, he is basically saying that love is elusive for him, and that when he thinks he has it all “figured out”, it ends up getting away from him all over again. This is not a relatively new line of thought on the subject either; many men before him and plenty of men since have felt the same way about love. So while the lines themselves may seem completely cut and dry, there is actually more to that- and to the poem, then a man simply waxing poetical (literally) about the folly of love.
            What’s particularly interesting about this stanza in relation to the rest of the poem is the defeatist attitude that is present in the whole work, which seems to come to a head in these lines, when he essentially ‘gives up’ on the notion of love altogether. Originally, the poem starts with him speaking about a specific woman, but by this point, it’s as if he has encompassed the notion of love in its entirety in his pessimism.
      Most people would take this poem and believe it to be a masterpiece work on the folly of love. In this, there is disagreement. There are plenty of ways to write about unrequited love, and a plethora of other examples to compare this to that are equally well written or even superior to this work in terms of expressing the sorrow a person can feel in their pining being all for nothing. This poem, however, has a tone more akin to whining entitlement than anything else. It is, after all, written by a man who tries to claim he has thought deeply on the matter of love and ‘almost’ figured it out, only to have it allude him, as if he is some great Grecian philosopher. Pity is the poor girl who ‘stole’ John Hughes’ heart- or, rather, the girl who would just as soon have him stop writing passive aggressive love poems when he fails to get his way, more like.


Then farewell, Care, and farewell, Woe,
  I will no longer pine;
For I’ll believe I have her heart
  As much as she hath mine.                                  20

These are the closing statements of the entire poem and conclusion/resolution to the thoughts of the speaker.
Throughout the poem the speaker talks about the hardships of love and the effects that they have had on him. It is clear the speaker has been hurt by love but still seeks to love/be loved. After communicating all of his fears and worries that are involved with love, Hughes comes to a resolution on the subject. Lines 17-18 state…
“Then farewell, Care, and farewell, Woe,
I will no longer pine;”
The speaker is directly telling “Care” and “Woe” “farewell”. The speaker communicates that when he loves he will no longer be careful or express grief, regret, or distress. When the speaker communicates that he “will no longer pine”, he is saying that he will no longer yearn for love so intensely because he is losing vigor.
Lines 19-20 state…
“For I’ll believe I have her heart
As much as she hath mine.”

Throughout the poem Hughes speaks about the troubles he has with love. It seems like it has affected him hard, and he is trying to figure out why. In the ending lines, 17-20, he is coming to a conclusion on how he is going to handle things. In line 17, “Then farewell, Care, and farewell, Woe,” he is treating “Care” and “Woe” as if they were nouns. Hughes is saying he is done caring about love and also done worrying about it. Line 18, “I will no longer pine,” is saying he will no longer search for love or have any dealings with it. The last two lines say, “For I’ll believe I have her heart, as much as she hath mine.” These last two lines were a little bit more difficult to interpret. Perhaps Hughes is saying that he’ll pretend that the woman he loves, loves him equally as much as he loves her. So now since he is pretending to feel loved, he doesn’t have to worry or care about it anymore. Hence the two lines that came before.

            It seems like Hughes or whoever the speaker may be is giving up on the idea of love. Everything that came before lines 17-20 explain his troubles. He gave his heart to a woman however, she did not give him hers. The speaker is puzzled by this because if he loves her why can’t she love him back? He continues to question why they can’t love each other and calls love a “mystery” that he can’t figure out. At the end he comes to the conclusion that he is done with love and will stop caring about it. 

Hughes seems to illustrate throughout the poem, a speaker that begins with an idea that his love returned their heart. As the poem progresses, the speaker quickly changes their mind and speaks in a tone of bitterness and conceit. Hughes illustrates the pain and hardships that love may bring onto a person with deep regret of allowing a person to posses their heart or love. In the closing of the poem, the speaker directly states a farewell to “Care” and “Woe” meaning he will no longer bear an attachment or live with great sorrow due to a once love. This could also serve as a tactic in hopes that the speaker’s love will change her mind after already rejecting him. He proceeds in stating, “I will no loner pine;” (18) the speaker is suggesting that he will no longer suffer from a mental decline from a broken heart or long for the return of his love. Rather than in a state of sadness and regret throughout the poem, the speaker is beginning to acknowledge that he no longer wants to be in pain or suffering of a lost love. Yet in ending, “For I’ll believe I have her heart,/ As much as she hath mine.” (19-20) depicts a sort of confusion that the speaker believes to possess the heart of his love just as his love possesses his. Hughes incorporates the illusion that even after bearing a broken heart or lost love that brings suffrage onto a person will mend itself in the end by believing love will always return.

First Assignment

I Prithee Send Me Back My Heart  (John Hughes, c. 1640)

I prithee send me back my heart
  Since I cannot have thine;
For if from yours you will not part,
  Why, then, shouldst thou have mine?

Yet now I think on’t, let it lie,                          5
  To find it were in vain;
For thou hast a thief in either eye
  Would steal it back again!

Why should two hearts in one breast lie
  And yet not lodge together?                            10
Oh, Love, where is thy sympathy,
  If thus our breasts thou sever?

But love is such a mystery,
  I cannot find it out;
For when I think I’m best resolved,                 15
  I then am most in doubt.

Then farewell, Care, and farewell, Woe,
  I will no longer pine;
For I’ll believe I have her heart
  As much as she hath mine.                                  20

An Answer  (Lady Jane Cavendish, c. 1644)

I cannot send you back my heart
   For I have but my own,
And as that sentry stands apart
   So watchman is alone

Now I do leave you for to spy                              5
  Where I my camp will place,
And if your scouts do bring allay
   Maybe yourself will face.

Then if you will challenge me the field
   And would me battle set,                                     10
I then as master of the field
   Perhaps may prove your net.

Here are two lyrics from the middle of the seventeenth century, one celebrated, sung, praised, and beloved, known by all, the other virtually anonymous and not printed until the late twentieth century, circulating, if at all, in manuscript.  You’ll have written about one but not the other by the time you start your papers.

Can the two poems be put in dialogue, even if Hughes’s “I Prithee” preceded Cavendish’s and, therefore, he could not have seen it? The “Answer” to some extent fulfills its title, but not exactly, even in the first two lines.  How, specifically, can the poems be said to speak to one another, like a man and a woman?  Answer poems often satirize or tweak the nose of the famous lyrics to which they respond. This “Answer” does not, particularly.

Please look at the writing handouts on the class webpage and on the blog, especially those called “Writing Papers” and “Analytical Writing.” It would also benefit you to study the sections on quoting poetry properly.

Your essay is due by email on Friday, 24 February, by 9 a.m. I do not accept late papers for full credit, and a failure to turn one in will affect your final grade severely. It is better to submit inferior work than nothing at all.

4-6 pp.   

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
email: stapletm@ipfw.edu  

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.