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Sep 18, 2010

Puritan

History:
The half century between 1625 and 1675 is called the Puritan Period because a Puritan standard pevailed for a time in England; and all the greatest literary figure were the Puritans, thus, historically the age was one of the remendous conflicts. The puritan struggled for righteousness and liberty, and  because he prevailed, the age is one of the moral and political revolutions.
In his struggle for liberty the puritan overthrow the corrupt monarchy, beheaded Charles I, and established the Commonwealth under Cromwell. The commonwealth lasted but a few years, and the restoration of Charles II in 1660 is often put as the end of the puritan period, but before the end, in 1642 both houses of Parliament voted to close the theaters as breeders of lies and immortality. The age has no distinct limits, but overlaps the Elizabethan period on one side, and the restoration period on the other. In Puritan Age, we have noted the Transition poets, of whom Daniel is chief; the song writers, Champion and Breton; the Spenserian poets, Wither and Giles Fletcher; the metaphysical poets, Donne and Herbert; the Cavalier Poets, Herrick, Carew, Lovelace, and Suckling; and above all, Milton, a great religious poet, who gives us first true Epic Paradise Lost (1667), “English heroic verse without rime.” Another characteristic is the Regular or Pindaric ode— introduced by Ben Jonson—which is a close imitation of Pindar’s form, i.e., Thomson Gary’s “The Progress of Poesy” (1757). The prose of the Period was imitation of the Baroque style, which was largely the outcome of the ornate, prolix and embellished Gothic style of Elizabethans, much against the instructions of Bacon.  The sonnet in the phase known as Miltonic sonnet which has rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efg, efg. Wordsworth has well said of Milton’s use of sonnet: “...in his hand/The thing became a trumpet.” We must therefore be careful to note the particularly historical interest of charming essays of Cowley, the manner of which has a great deal in common with that simpler and clearer way of writing. The poets who inclined to Puritanism and were genuinely repelled by the vices of the court and the town should seek ‘unreproved pleasures free’.

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