In “Fulke Greville’s Aesthetic Reconsidered,” David A Roberts discusses the purpose of poetry, the two different types of poetry, and which type is better. He also discusses which type of poetry Fulke Greville uses and why it is significant.
Roberts argues that poetry is a way to repair nature, which was destroyed by man. He discusses how poetry is man’s imitation of nature, and that poetry corrects the imbalance of man, and thus “poetry helps restore the primal balance of all nature, since man was the source of the fall of nature.” Roberts is arguing that the point of poetry is to reflect nature and essentially heal it.
Roberts then goes on to discuss the two different types of poets/poetry, “Clear spirits” and “Dull spirits”. He says that “clear spirits” also carry a negative connotation, as they are too “subjective” and “emptied of contents”. Roberts describes the meaning of their poetry as “superficial”. He says that nature in their eyes is “inconsistent”. He then goes on to discuss “dull spirits”. They are described as the complete opposite of “clear spirits”. Roberts describes the poetry of “dull spirits” as being much more obscure than that of “clear spirits”. He also explains that while the “clear spirits” focus on the drastic ups and downs of nature, “dull spirits” focus on the constants of nature, so they are much more moved by the power of the drastic changes in nature, thus influencing their poetry in a more powerful, genuine way.
Roberts then argues that Fulke Greville uses more of a “dull spirit” style, as he focuses more on what happens after the decline of nature. He also describes Greville’s style as obscure. However, he also argues that Greville uses both styles in a very unique way. Greville uses a much more “clear spirit” style at the beginning, but it morphs into the “dull spirit” style as the persona in his work grows as a person and learns how to find clarity.
In conclusion, Roberts argues that the purpose of poetry is to imitate nature, and that there are two different styles used to achieve this purpose. He also argues that the “dull spirit” style is better because it is more genuine than the inconsistencies of the “clear spirit”. He ends by arguing that Greville uses both of these styles in a unique way, beginning with the “clear spirit” and ending with the “dull spirit” as Greville’s persona is enlightened.