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.