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Jun 29, 2018

W. B. Yeats, ‘The Symbolism of Poetry’

W. B. Yeats, ‘The Symbolism of Poetry’, in “The Symbolism of Poetry” by William Butler Yeats,
 first published in The Dome (April 1900); reprinted in Ideas of Good and Evil (1903).
[Source: Available at Richard Nordquist, About Education website - online; accessed 09.08.2016]
“Symbolism, as seen in the writers of our day, would have no value if it were not seen also, under one disguise or another, in every great imaginative writer,” writes Mr. Arthur Symons in The Symbolist Movement in Literature, a subtle book which I cannot praise as I would, because it has been dedicated to me; and he goes on to show how many profound writers have in the last few years sought for a philosophy of poetry in the doctrine of symbolism, and how even in countries where it is almost scandalous to seek for any philosophy of poetry, new writers are following them in their search.

We do not know what the writers of ancient times talked of among themselves, and one bull is all that remains of Shakespeare's talk, who was on the edge of modern times; and the journalist is convinced, it seems, that they talked of wine and women and politics, but never about their art, or never quite seriously about their art. He is certain that no one who had a philosophy of his art, or a theory of how he should write, has ever made a work of art, that people have no imagination who do not write without forethought and afterthought as he writes his own articles. He says this with enthusiasm, because he has heard it at so many comfortable dinner-tables, where some one had mentioned through carelessness, or foolish zeal, a book whose difficulty had offended indolence, or a man who had not forgotten that beauty is an accusation.

Those formulas and generalisations, in which a hidden sergeant has drilled the ideas of journalists and through them the ideas of all but all the modern world, have created in their turn a forgetfulness like that of soldiers in battle, so that journalists and their readers have forgotten, among many like events, that Wagner spent seven years arranging and explaining his ideas before he began his most characteristic music; that opera, and with it modern music, arose from certain talks at the house of one Giovanni Bardi of Florence; and that the Pléiade laid the foundations of modern French literature with a pamphlet.

Goethe has said, “a poet needs all philosophy, but he must keep it out of his work,” though that is not always necessary; and almost certainly no great art, outside England, where journalists are more powerful and ideas less plentiful than elsewhere, has arisen without a great criticism, for its herald or its interpreter and protector, and it may be for this reason that great art, now that vulgarity has armed itself and multiplied itself, is perhaps dead in England.

All writers, all artists of any kind, in so far as they have had any philosophical or critical power, perhaps just in so far as they have been deliberate artists at all, have had some philosophy, some criticism of their art; and it has often been this philosophy, or this criticism, that has evoked their most startling inspiration calling into outer life some portion of the divine life, or of the buried reality, which could alone extinguish in the emotions what their philosophy or their criticism would extinguish in the intellect. They have sought for no new thing, it may be, but only to understand and to copy the pure inspiration of early times, but because the divine life wars upon our outer life, and must needs change its weapons and its movements as we change ours, inspiration has come to them in beautiful startling shapes. The scientific movement brought with it a literature, which was always tending to lose itself in externalities of all kinds, in opinion, in declamation, in picturesque writing, in word-painting, or in what Mr. Symons has called an attempt “to build in brick and mortar inside the covers of a book“; and new writers have begun to dwell upon the element of evocation, of suggestion, upon what we call the symbolism in great writers.

In “Symbolism in Painting,” I tried to describe the element of symbolism that is in pictures and sculpture, and described a little the symbolism in poetry, but did not describe at all the continuous indefinable symbolism which is the substance of all style.

There are no lines with more melancholy beauty than these by Burns:
The white moon is setting behind the white wave,
And Time is setting with me, O!
and these lines are perfectly symbolical. Take from them the whiteness of the moon and of the wave, whose relation to the setting of Time is too subtle for the intellect, and you take from them their beauty. But, when all are together, moon and wave and whiteness and setting Time and the last melancholy cry, they evoke an emotion which cannot be evoked by any other arrangement of colours and sounds and forms. We may call this metaphorical writing, but it is better to call it symbolical writing, because metaphors are not profound enough to be moving, when they are not symbols, and when they are symbols they are the most perfect of all, because the most subtle, outside of pure sound, and through them one can the best find out what symbols are.

If one begins the reverie with any beautiful lines that one can remember, one finds they are like those by Burns. Begin with this line by Blake -
The gay fishes on the wave when the moon sucks up the dew;
or these lines by Nash - 
Brightness falls from the air,
Queens have died young and fair,
Dust hath closed Helen's eye;
or these lines by Shakespeare -
Timon hath made his everlasting mansion
Upon the beached verge of the salt flood;
Who once a day with his embossed froth
The turbulent surge shall cover;
or take some line that is quite simple, that gets its beauty from its place in a story, and see how it flickers with the light of the many symbols that have given the story its beauty, as a sword-blade may flicker with the light of burning towers.

All sounds, all colours, all forms, either because of their preordained energies or because of long association, evoke indefinable and yet precise emotions, or, as I prefer to think, call down among us certain disembodied powers, whose footsteps over our hearts we call emotions; and when sound, and colour, and form are in a musical relation, a beautiful relation to one another, they become, as it were, one sound, one colour, one form, and evoke an emotion that is made out of their distinct evocations and yet is one emotion.

The same relation exists between all portions of every work of art, whether it be an epic or a song, and the more perfect it is, and the more various and numerous the elements that have flowed into its perfection, the more powerful will be the emotion, the power, the god it calls among us. Because an emotion does not exist, or does not become perceptible and active among us, till it has found its expression, in colour or in sound or in form, or in all of these, and because no two modulations or arrangements of these evoke the same emotion, poets and painters and musicians, and in a less degree because their effects are momentary, day and night and cloud and shadow, are continually making and unmaking mankind.

It is indeed only those things which seem useless or very feeble that have any power, and all those things that seem useful or strong, armies, moving wheels, modes of architecture, modes of government, speculations of the reason, would have been a little different if some mind long ago had not given itself to some emotion, as a woman gives herself to her lover, and shaped sounds or colours or forms, or all of these, into a musical relation, that their emotion might live in other minds.

A little lyric evokes an emotion, and this emotion gathers others about it and melts into their being in the making of some great epic; and at last, needing an always less delicate body, or symbol, as it grows more powerful, it flows out, with all it has gathered, among the blind instincts of daily life, where it moves a power within powers, as one sees ring within ring in the stem of an old tree. This is maybe what Arthur O'Shaughnessy meant when he made his poets say they had built Nineveh with their sighing; and I am certainly never certain, when I hear of some war, or of some religious excitement or of some new manufacture, or of anything else that fills the ear of the world, that it has not all happened because of something that a boy piped in Thessaly. I remember once telling a seer to ask one among the gods who, as she believed, were standing about her in their symbolic bodies, what would come of a charming but seeming trivial labour of a friend, and the form answering, “the devastation of peoples and the overwhelming of cities.” I doubt indeed if the crude circumstance of the world, which seems to create all our emotions, does more than reflect, as in multiplying mirrors, the emotions that have come to solitary men in moments of poetical contemplation; or that love itself would be more than an animal hunger but for the poet and his shadow the priest, for unless we believe that outer things are the reality, we must believe that the gross is the shadow of the subtle, that things are wise before they become foolish, and secret before they cry out in the market-place. Solitary men in moments of contemplation receive, as I think, the creative impulse from the lowest of the Nine Hierarchies, and so make and unmake mankind, and even the world itself, for does not “the eye altering alter all”?
Our towns are copied fragments from our breast;
And all man's Babylons strive but to impart
The grandeurs of his Babylonian heart.
IIIThe purpose of rhythm, it has always seemed to me, is to prolong the moment of contemplation, the moment when we are both asleep and awake, which is the one moment of creation, by hushing us with an alluring monotony, while it holds us waking by variety, to keep us in that state of perhaps real trance, in which the mind liberated from the pressure of the will is unfolded in symbols. If certain sensitive persons listen persistently to the ticking of a watch, or gaze persistently on the monotonous flashing of a light, they fall into the hypnotic trance; and rhythm is but the ticking of a watch made softer, that one must needs listen, and various, that one may not be swept beyond memory or grow weary of listening; while the patterns of the artist are but the monotonous flash woven to take the eyes in a subtler enchantment. I have heard in meditation voices that were forgotten the moment they had spoken; and I have been swept, when in more profound meditation, beyond all memory but of those things that came from beyond the threshold of waking life.

I was writing once at a very symbolical and abstract poem, when my pen fell on the ground; and as I stooped to pick it up, I remembered some phantastic adventure that yet did not seem phantastic, and then another like adventure, and when I asked myself when these things had happened, I found, that I was remembering my dreams for many nights. I tried to remember what I had done the day before, and then what I had done that morning; but all my waking life had perished from me, and it was only after a struggle that I came to remember it again, and as I did so that more powerful and startling life perished in its turn.

Had my pen not fallen on the ground and so made me turn from the images that I was weaving into verse, I would never have known that meditation had become trance, for I would have been like one who does not know that he is passing through a wood because his eyes are on the pathway. So I think that in the making and in the understanding of a work of art, and the more easily if it is full of patterns and symbols and music, we are lured to the threshold of sleep, and it may be far beyond it, without knowing that we have ever set our feet upon the steps of horn or of ivory.

Besides emotional symbols, symbols that evoke emotions alone,--and in this sense all alluring or hateful things are symbols, although their relations with one another are too subtle to delight us fully, away from rhythm and pattern,--there are intellectual symbols, symbols that evoke ideas alone, or ideas mingled with emotions; and outside the very definite traditions of mysticism and the less definite criticism of certain modern poets, these alone are called symbols. Most things belong to one or another kind, according to the way we speak of them and the companions we give them, for symbols, associated with ideas that are more than fragments of the shadows thrown upon the intellect by the emotions they evoke, are the playthings of the allegorist or the pedant, and soon pass away.

If I say “white” or “purple” in an ordinary line of poetry, they evoke emotions so exclusively that I cannot say why they move me; but if I bring them into the same sentence with such obvious intellectual symbols as a cross or a crown of thorns, I think of purity and sovereignty. Furthermore, innumerable meanings, which are held to “white” or to “purple” by bonds of subtle suggestion, and alike in the emotions and in the intellect, move visibly through my mind, and move invisibly beyond the threshold of sleep, casting lights and shadows of an indefinable wisdom on what had seemed before, it may be, but sterility and noisy violence.

It is the intellect that decides where the reader shall ponder over the procession of the symbols, and if the symbols are merely emotional, he gazes from amid the accidents and destinies of the world; but if the symbols are intellectual too, he becomes himself a part of pure intellect, and he is himself mingled with the procession. If I watch a rushy pool in the moonlight, my emotion at its beauty is mixed with memories of the man that I have seen ploughing by its margin, or of the lovers I saw there a night ago; but if I look at the moon herself and remember any of her ancient names and meanings, I move among divine people, and things that have shaken off our mortality, the tower of ivory, the queen of waters, the shining stag among enchanted woods, the white hare sitting upon the hilltop, the fool of faery with his shining cup full of dreams, and it may be “make a friend of one of these images of wonder,” and “meet the Lord in the air.” So, too, if one is moved by Shakespeare, who is content with emotional symbols that he may come the nearer to our sympathy, one is mixed with the whole spectacle of the world; while if one is moved by Dante, or by the myth of Demeter, one is mixed into the shadow of God or of a goddess. So too one is furthest from symbols when one is busy doing this or that, but the soul moves among symbols and unfolds in symbols when trance, or madness, or deep meditation has withdrawn it from every impulse but its own. “I then saw,” wrote Gérard de Nerval of his madness, “vaguely drifting into form, plastic images of antiquity, which outlined themselves, became definite, and seemed to represent symbols of which I only seized the idea with difficulty.” In an earlier time he would have been of that multitude, whose souls austerity withdrew, even more perfectly than madness could withdraw his soul, from hope and memory, from desire and regret, that they might reveal those processions of symbols that men bow to before altars, and woo with incense and offerings. But being of our time, he has been like Maeterlinck, like Villiers de I'Isle-Adam in Axël, like all who are preoccupied with intellectual symbols in our time, a foreshadower of the new sacred book, of which all the arts, as somebody has said, are beginning to dream. How can the arts overcome the slow dying of men's hearts that we call the progress of the world, and lay their hands upon men's heartstrings again, without becoming the garment of religion as in old times?

If people were to accept the theory that poetry moves us because of its symbolism, what change should one look for in the manner of our poetry? A return to the way of our fathers, a casting out of descriptions of nature for the sake of nature, of the moral law for the sake of the moral law, a casting out of all anecdotes and of that brooding over scientific opinion that so often extinguished the central flame in Tennyson, and of that vehemence that would make us do or not do certain things; or, in other words, we should come to understand that the beryl stone was enchanted by our fathers that it might unfold the pictures in its heart, and not to mirror our own excited faces, or the boughs waving outside the window.

With this change of substance, this return to imagination, this understanding that the laws of art, which are the hidden laws of the world, can alone bind the imagination, would come a change of style, and we would cast out of serious poetry those energetic rhythms, as of a man running, which are the invention of the will with its eyes always on something to be done or undone; and we would seek out those wavering, meditative, organic rhythms, which are the embodiment of the imagination, that neither desires nor hates, because it has done with time, and only wishes to gaze upon some reality, some beauty; nor would it be any longer possible for anybody to deny the importance of form, in all its kinds, for although you can expound an opinion, or describe a thing, when your words are not quite well chosen, you cannot give a body to something that moves beyond the senses, unless your words are as subtle, as complex, as full of mysterious life, as the body of a flower or of a woman.

The form of sincere poetry, unlike the form of the “popular poetry,” may indeed be sometimes obscure, or ungrammatical as in some of the best of the Songs of Innocence and Experience, but it must have the perfections that escape analysis, the subtleties that have a new meaning every day, and it must have all this whether it be but a little song made out of a moment of dreamy indolence, or some great epic made out of the dreams of one poet and of a hundred generations whose hands were never weary of the sword. 

Jun 25, 2018

The Rape of the Lock: Relationship between Literature and Society

The Rape of the Lock is a poem in which Alexander Pope shows himself emphatically as the spokesman of his age. This poem pictures the artificial tone of the age and the frivolous aspect of femininity. "It is the epic of triflings; a page torn from the petty, pleasure-seeking life of fashionable beauty; mise-en-scene* of the toilet-chamber and the card table; in short, the veritable apotheosis in literary guise of scent, patches and powder." We see in this poem the elegance and the emptiness, the meanness and the vanity, the jealousies, treacheries and intrigues of the social life of the aristocracy of the eighteenth century.

At the very outset we become acquainted with the idleness, late-rising, and fondness for domestic pets of the aristocratic ladies of the time. Belinda wakes up at the hour of twelve and then falls asleep again. We also become acquainted in the very beginning of the poem with the superficiality of the ladies who loved gilded chariots, and affected a love of the game of ombre. Their ambition to marry peers and dukes, or men holding other high titles, is indicated, too, in the opening Canto:

Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
While peers and dukes, and all their sweeping train....

The poem brings out the coquetry, the art, the artifice, and
and the “ varying vanities” of the ladies of the time . these ladies learnt early in their life how to roll their eyes and to blush in an intriguing manner. Their hearts were like toy-shops which moved from one gallant to another:
With varying vanities, from every part,
They shift the moving toy-shop of their heart.
One gallant could drive put another gallant, and one coach could drive out another coach. "Levity" was the hallmark of these women. Their manners and behaviour were artificial and affected. They knew the art to lisp, to hang their heads aside, to faint into airs, and to languish with pride. They used to sink on their rich quilts and pretend sickness so that young gallant men should come to inquire after their health and in this way also see the costly gowns which they were wearing.
The women of the time felt glad to receive love-letters. Thus, when Belinda at last gets up from her bed, her eyes first open on a love-letter couched in the conventional language of such letters. Another of the vanities of these ladies was to keep domestic pets such as dogs and parrots. Thus Belinda has her Shock and her Poll. Among the ill-omens that Belinda recalls after losing a lock of her hair is the indifference of her two domestic pets: "Nay, Poll sat mute, and Shock was most unkind !"
Aristocratic ladies treated toilet as their chief concern. One important passage in The Rape of the Lock describes Belinda at her dressing-table. Before commencing her toilet operation, she offers a prayer to the "cosmetic powers". At her dressing-table are "the various offerings of the world"— India's glowing gems, Arabia's perfumes, speckled and white combs, files of pins, "puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux." Later in the poem, we are told how these ladies "take such constant care to prepare the bodkin, comb and essence !" They take special pains to curl their hair; they bind their locks in paper durance; and they strain their tender heads with fillets.
The ladies lose their tempers over trifles. Screams of horror from Belinda rend the affrighted skies, and a "living lightning" flashes from her eyes. Thalestris is described as the "fierce virago". The ladies in the poem are depicted as very aggressive, and it is they who start the battle. Women have been jealous of one another from time immemorial. Clarissa stealthily hands over a pair of scissors to the Baron in order to assist him in his wicked design. It is in all probability Clarissa's jealousy of Belinda's beauty, and fame that prompts her to offer this assistance to the Baron.
The ladies have no moral scruples. "Honour" is a word with little meaning for them; and "reputation" is more important to them than honour. The loss of "honour" does not matter if "reputation" is not lost. Several passages in the poem reveal the moral disarray of their lives. In one passage, for instance, a frail China-jar receiving a crack is equated with a lady's losing her chastity. A lady's staining her honour is more serious than her staining her new brocade. A lady's missing a dance-party is as serious a matter as her forgetting her prayers. A lady's losing her necklace is as serious as losing her heart. The death of a lap-dog or the breaking of a rich China-vessel is as serious a matter to the lady as the death of her husband. These are all examples of the superficial nature of the ladies of the time. There is a complete confusion of moral values in their minds. Belinda herself has no real sense of feminine virtue or honour. She is in love with the Baron, and for this reason Ariel gives her up when he sees "an earthly lover lurking at her heart". Her lament over the loss of a lock of her hair is sheer hypocrisy. Besides, she feels unhappy because the loss of this particular lock of hair was vital to her charm. She would not have been much hurt if the Baron had stolen any other hair:

Oh, hadst thou, cruel, been content to seize Hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these !

The aristocratic young men of the time were, like the ladies, lacking in any serious purpose or morality. Florio and Damon are representatives of those gallants and fops who vie with one another to capture the hearts of the ladies. There is a keen competition among them to win feminine favours. Wigs strive with wigs, and sword-knots strive with sword-knots. The attitude of these fops to love is amusingly described in the manner in which the Baron tries to propitiate heaven in order to win Belinda's heart. The Baron builds an altar to Love. This altar consists of twelve vast French romances, three garters, half a pair of gloves, and all the trophies of his former loves. He lights a fire with the tender love-letters that he has received, and breathes three amorous sighs to raise the fire.
The life of the fops is as empty and shallow as the life of the ladies. This is emphasized by the role played by the empty-headed Sir Plume with bit "unthinking face". He is proud of his "amber snuff-box" and "the nice conduct of a clouded cane". He can hardly speak a dozen words without uttering half a dozen oaths. The manner in which a "beau" or a "witling" perishes in the battle of the sexes shows the same thing . "One died in metaphor, and one in song." Taking snuff and wearing wigs were the foremost fashions among the men of that time.
The shallowness and superficiality of the time are also clear from the kind of gossip that goes on at the court; "At every word a reputation dies". Pauses in conversation are filled with snuff-taking or fan-swinging, or "with singing, laughing, ogling, and all that." Card parties were common. Ombre was the favourite game. A victory at ombre gave to a woman a feeling of importance. Coffee-drinking was another important diversion of the times. Coffee "made the politician wise". It was coffee that gave rise to a clever device in the Baron's brain for obtaining possession of a lock of Belinda's hair.
We are given a satirical picture of judges, jury men, and merchants. The judges are in a hurry to sign the judgment and the jury-men are in a hurry to pronounce a verdict of-"guilty" because they want to get back home for dinner. The merchants spend feverish hours at the Exchange. Other aspects of the life of the time which are mentioned in an amusing manner are the wits of heroes and of beaux, courtiers' promises, cages for gnats, chains to yoke a flea, dried butterflies, and heavy books of casuistry. There are references in the poem also to Hyde Park Circus, the Mall, and Rosamonda's Lake. And there is a reference to the well-known astrologer of the time, Partridge, who always made prophecies about the downfall of Louis of France, and of the Pope at Rome.
The glitter and the elegance of the period are also effectively depicted in the poem. Belinda's beauty and charm receive much attention. Robed in white, she sees her heavenly reflection in the mirror. Assisted by her maid, Betty, she decorates and embellishes herself with cosmetics and jewellery. We are fascinated by Belinda's beauty as described in the famous passage dealing with her toilet. Her beauty and charm are mentioned again and again in the poem. She is described as the rival of the beams of the sun. She wears a sparkling cross on her white breast. She smiles at everyone:

Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.

The poet invests her almost with the character of a divinity. If she has any faults, they are hidden by her graceful ease and her sweetness. If she suffers from any errors, the beauty of her face would make us ignore them. She has a care-free temper: "Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay." She is shallow and superficial and yet she is fascinating. We see her as a coquette, a sweet charmer, a society belle, a rival of the sun, and a murderer of millions. This Cleopatra-like variety indicates simultaneously her charm and a vacuous lack of character. The poet uses hyperbolic language in describing her— faultless beauty and even divinity; "nymph", "maid", "the fair virgin", "goddess", etc. The idealising words used by Pope for Belinda reflect the homage which society paid to the image of the beautiful woman. The portrait that Pope paints of Belinda is, of course, satirical, but we also feel compelled to admire this woman who is not less than a divinity. Pope's attitude, and therefore our attitude, towards Belinda, is mocking and yet tender, critical and yet admiring.

Jun 21, 2018

Tennyson’s In Memoriam as the Freudian Trauerarbeit

The Poetic Work of Mourning: Tennyson’s In Memoriam as the Freudian Trauerarbeit

The death of Lord Tennyson’s beloved friend Arthur Hallam yielded perhaps one of the most profound works of poetry and the most sorrowful elegies of commemoration in Western literature. Within a matter of weeks after receiving word of Hallam’s tragic death, Tennyson began sketching a poem that would go on to memorialize his friend, display his personal odyssey through mourning, and provide solace to its readers by offering passionate words to the once ineffable emotions of loss. This poem of the grief and suffering that loss produces, which would come to be entitled In Memoriam, chronicles Tennyson’s personal struggle with existential despair, despair not only in the loss a close friend but also in a loss of part of his identity—a poem that, as Henry Shepherd claims, portrays “the several phases of evolution or development through which a human soul, stricken with the burden of a great sorrow, may pass in the process of restoration” (44). In Memoriam chronicles this evolutionary struggle, as well as chronicles Tennyson’s attempt to fill the void in his identity, the empty space once maintained by Hallam.
It is with this idea of evolutionary struggling to regain one’s sense of a holistic identity through the process of mourning that we turn our attention. It will be the duty of this essay to explicate in detail how Tennyson’s In Memoriam functions within the Freudian economy as the “work” that the poet uses to complete his process of mourning. Within this process, we will see how In Memoriam discloses a movement beginning from negation to substitution, to consolation. As my argument will show, this movement or evolutionary process reveals how the act of writing the poem, the course of composition, becomes Tennyson’s Freudian trauerarbeit (work), as the text allows the subject to distance him or herself from the lost object through the written word, as well as allows for the end product of writing, in this case the poem/elegy itself, to become the object of substitution.
Tennyson, in looking back on his completed work, groups his poem of 131 disconnected lyrics into nine separate groups, with the prologue, written after the poem’s completion serving in the final group, placed at the beginning of the poem in order to frame its content. For the purpose of this research, the prologue will not be addressed first despite its placement at the beginning; we will begin with the oldest lyrics composed within the first collection. According to Tennyson, this first grouping represents the poet’s desolate state in the wake of losing Hallam. This first grouping is made up of poems I through VIII. Within this group, a reader finds the poet in a great state of existential despair, beginning the journey to seek out the lost aspect of his identity through philosophical musing and then turning to composing a written work as therapy within the first stages of his passage through mourning.
The poem begins with the poet meditating on the loss of his friend and the hope in the dead rising to a higher place. Though the soul of the lost may go on to a better place, away from time’s influence, the sufferings endured by those who the lost soul leaves behind are in need of some sort of psychical substitution, someone or something to fill the void of the object now lost in death:
I held it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.
But who shall so forecast the years
And find in loss a gain to match?
Or reach a hand thro’ time to catch
The far-off interest of tears?
Let Love clasp Grief lest both be drown’d,
Let darkness keep her raven gloss:
Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss,
To dance with death, to beat the ground,
Than that the victor Hours should scorn
The long result of love, and boast,
‘Behold the man that loved and lost,
But all he was is overworn.’ (Tennyson I 1-16)

The poet is grief-stricken by the loss of his friend and hopes that the soul of his dead friend has risen to a world beyond the living, but this form of consolation doesn’t fill the void left within the poet’s identity. Tennyson, as the poet in question, in his state of mourning, is well aware that the individual subject is a culmination or a product of external objects, both people and things. These external objects that comprise the individual’s identity, the deep builders of one’s personal psyche, are detrimental to an individual’s identity when threatened or taken away. Tennyson proclaims an unfortunate attribute of the human condition is that in loss, the individual’s very identity is damaged, and left with an empty space in need of filling. This assault on the poet’s very identity is the context of section IV of this first grouping:
O heart, how fares it with thee now,
That thou should’st fail from thy desire,
Who scarcely darest to inquire,
‘What is it makes me beat so low?’
Something it is which thou hast lost,
Some pleasure from thine early years.
Break, thou deep vase of chilling tears,
That grief hath shaken into frost!
Such clouds of nameless trouble cross
All night below the darken’d eyes;
With morning wakes the will, and cries,
‘Thou shalt not be the fool of loss.’ (IV 5-16)

In the passage above, the reader sees the clear conflict the poet is engaged in: the fragmentation of his self-identity. The poet’s sleep is disrupted by an unbearable sense of loss, so unbearable that the lost object becomes incomprehensible. The process of mourning begins with conflict between the remembrance of one’s former self as a whole identity and the new feeling of a divided self.
The poet falls asleep with the hope that the new coming day will bring some sense of solace. When no solace comes, the poet begins to search for some means of mental therapy from his philosophical thoughts on the arbitrariness of death as well as from the pneumonic objects that always call to mind the memory of his deceased friend. The poet begins to write as a means of committing to the page his personal journey through mourning. Though this form of therapy is only a minor material and artistic production, it becomes his greatest means of filling the void, of substitution, of his lost friend with the object of his compositions:
I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more. (V 1-12)

Tennyson, as the poet, finds reprieve in committing his sorrow into language, textualizing his grief into a material product. Though words cannot express the breadth of his grief, there is solace in it. Committing his despondency into a material form, we find Tennyson’s first attempt at “working” through his grief and substituting the lost object for another, traits clearly confirmed in Freud’s 1917 essay “Mourning and Melancholia.”
Drawing from the idea of loss as a disruption of one’s own self-love (narcissism), Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia” explicates the basic process of mourning and the dangers of lapsing into states of melancholia during that process. Mourning, as Freud concludes, is the inevitable outcome of loss, and melancholia is the possible perverse and unhealthy tangent that may come about in one’s process of mourning. This loss can either take the form of a lost person, like a loved one; something more objectified, like a deeply personal item; or even something abstract, like the deterioration of an ideal. Mourning is thus a response to loss, a call to fill the newly formed hole within one’s psyche (Freud 243-47). It is through the process of work (trauerarbeit) that the subject begins to loosen his or her attachments from the lost object and slowly move toward a successful substitution and consolation, an end in mourning. Through “working,” the subject progresses toward this ending, and if moments of melancholia arise during this progression, the subject must defeat its arresting influence and continue along with mourning if the process is to end successfully (248-55). It is with this form of material production, in verbalizing the feelings of loss and the endearment of a fragmented identity, that Tennyson begins working toward successfully substituting the lost aspect of himself with his trauerarbeit. In Freudian terms, Tennyson is working on negating the lost object of himself in order for a new substitute object to fill in the void, to negate with negation.
After this first grouping, functioning as a chaotic display of impulsive emotions and musings in the wake of hearing of his friend’s death, the poet begins to narratize the death of his friend, to construct order within his fragmented ego, to take control of the overflow of emotions. Tennyson, in the second grouping, which consists of poems IX through XX, begins this narratization with the return of Hallam’s body by boat. A reader finds in this section the poet’s split ego, as he struggles with denial and reality: the fantasy that Hallam is being brought back home alive, and the reality that Hallam is dead and will never return. Additionally here, the poet takes his first plunge into melancholia, where the hope in successfully completing the process of mourning seems lost, and the void of the absent object seems to retain its strongest hold on the subject:
What words are these have falle’n from me?
Can calm despair and wild unrest
Be tenants of a single breast,
Or sorrow such a changeling be?
Or cloth she only seem to take
The touch of change in calm or storm;
But knows no more of transient form
In her deep self, than some dead lake
That holds the shadow of a lark
Hung in the shadow of a heaven?
Or has the shock, so harshly given,
Confused me like the unhappy bark
That strikes by night a craggy shelf,
And staggers blindly ere she sink?
And stunn’d me from my power to think
And all my knowledge of myself. (XVI 1-16)

The questions Tennyson is asking are typical of a subject in mourning, questions arising in bouts of melancholia: does grief ever end, and will I ever be whole again?
While mourning is considered the natural response to losing the object of invested identity, according to Freud, melancholia is when the subject cannot successfully substitute the lost object for the living and present one. The subject has narcissistically devoured the lost object, and this lifeless object has now become a part of the subject’s ego. Or in another way, the subject preserves a half-dead element within his or her psyche. As the subject’s lost object remains in this half-dead state, it causes great mental harm to the psyche of the subject, in that the subject is not letting go—or is keeping alive—something that is already dead. Melancholia causes complete entropy in the subject’s psyche and leads the subject to identify with the dead and lost, as opposed to the living and present. It is not the object that is dead in melancholia, but the very subject him or herself (Carel 6-9). The melancholic is immobile in the process of mourning, as he or she is unable to create a new object to invest his or her identity in since he or she has narcissistically consumed the lost object and remains faithful to it, thus preserving the present by arresting time and refusing change. Just as the melancholic subject is psychologically dead, so too is the world dead for the melancholic (Freud 256). In the process of mourning, there are always moments when melancholia arises occasionally.
This kind of melancholic condition carries over into the third grouping, poems XXI through XXVII, where Tennyson begins to recollect on the times he spent with Hallam and the various discussions they had. The poet, in both the second and third groupings, is in a state of pure abeyance, remaining locked in a condition of existential despair, unable to progress further in his process of mourning. But the poet must undergo this particular process. The poet must negate the past and the void within his identity by working through it, narratizing it, and committing it to words, in order to construct the foundation in which to begin a successful completion of grief and a successful substitution of the lost object—where melancholia becomes namable, and the subject overcomes his or her loss by controlling symbols (Ruti 648). Narratizing, in committing the ego to language, thus distances the poet from the trauma of the lost object and aids in a successful substitution. It is through this melancholic stage that only those who can see their way out will be able to end their sorrow. Tennyson seems compelled to write, to rework the past along constructive lines:
Behold, ye speak an idle thing:
Ye never knew that sacred dust:
I do but sing because I must
And but as the linnets sing. (XXI 21-24)

Tennyson must compose his sadness if he ever wishes to find passage out of his melancholic impasse. He must narrate on the past, must dwell within the memories, in order to take control of it, to regain his sense of autonomy over what has occurred in order to force himself to fill the void left by Hallam with his own poetic work.
This form of therapy, Freud argues, is the negation of the lost object. The subject undergoing the process of mourning must negate the lost object, negate the negation or the void, and substitute its absence with a new object. This first negation must take place in order to begin a successful journey toward consolation and the ending of mourning. Tennyson begins this negation by taking control over his past memories. Havi Carel writes,
This process of negating a negation, deleting a lack, is one of overcoming death and loss and a process that eventually leads to a renewed investment in life and in love…. This is the normal process of mourning, where the ultimate loyalty is to life, to Eros and to the renewed investment in a new object. On this understanding of mourning, in the attenuation of the investment both the positive and the negative emotions attached to the lost object become muffled, weakened, and with time are transformed into memories (3).
The poet’s identity is fragmented, and there resides a Hallam-shaped hole in it. In order to pull together the pieces of his identity and negate the negated space, Tennyson must control his past (Clewell 44). The present and a substitute object is a negation of the void, just as the past is the negation of the present. By taking control over his memories, narratizing them, and substituting his void with the written word, Tennyson orders the fragments of his ego and creates a consolatory space for their reconstruction.
As Freud describes in “Mourning and Melancholia,” it is the melancholic who views reality in a purer, unadulterated, and material manner. Loss lies at the very heart of human subjectivity. It is loss that creates the subject. Just as the subject is an accumulation of externalities, the subject is also a product of the dialectical usurpation and negation of those very objects. Within the Freudian canon, this is most clearly seen in the Oedipus complex, where the subject becomes a subject through the primal loss of his or her mother and moves through life driven by the desire to find a substitute for the former infantile feeling of wholeness. The subject is driven by desire to fill in the lack.
It is the melancholic, according to Freud, who has a more keen awareness of this loss and the drive of his or her own compulsions. The melancholic sees life unhindered by socially constructed fantasies. Tennyson appears in this very state in discussing death, it’s arbitrariness but also its necessary and natural occurrence, as far back as in the first grouping:
One writes, that ‘Other friends remain,’
That ‘Loss is common to the race’—
And common is the commonplace,
And vacant chaff well meant for grain.
That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter, rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore
To evening, but some heart did break.
O father, wheresoe’er thou be,
Who pledgest now thy gallant son;
A shot, ere half thy draught be done,
Hath still’d the life that beat from thee.
O mother, praying God will save
Thy sailor,—while thy head is bow’d,
His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud
Drops in his vast and wandering grave. (VI 1-16)

Here, we see an instant in which melancholia allows the poet to assess, in a more pure form, the nature of death and dying, the reality of all life’s finitude. There is no rational understanding as to why some die at particular times and why others do not. The poet here does not delve into the idea of cosmological theodicy. Tennyson is simply addressing the absurdity and the mere randomness of death: an arbitrary occurrence free of any reasonableness or justification. This idea is common among melancholics, as they see life as absent of meaning and death as a random occurrence to which we are all susceptible.
Tennyson continues his melancholic musings further in the latter parts of the third group of lyrics, specifically in poems XXIV through XXVII. Tennyson, continuing with narratizing his recollections of the past, begins to project and fictionalize his own ideality onto his memories, rewriting them in order to hopefully conquer them. Tennyson begins by questioning the perfection of the past and the validity of his memory. Was the past perfect, or is the perfection of the past—the ideal nature of his friendship with Hallam, the fond times they had with one another, the complete omission of any turbulent times—just a mere projection of Tennyson’s mind? It seems that, according to the poet, it is a projection. Because of the distance between the present and past, the gap between the two adds to the fantastical nature of the memory.
But these memories, writing down the past in a material form, drive the poet into even greater despair. Time doesn’t move for the melancholic who continuously remains in the past. As Ruti discuses, “it is possible that melancholia facilitates a different type of rewriting—one that does not seek to surmount but merely to revisit and reassess the past” (644). Though, as stated above, narratizing memories is how the mourner takes control over the past and uses that narratization to pull him or herself out of a melancholic stage, memory is also a very dangerous aspect to dwell upon (Hsiao176). Remembering “might technically help us ‘come to terms’ with our painful memories as much as it can go awry—in the direction of compulsive repeating and/or melancholia” (Gana 61). We see this sort of “going awry” in Tennyson’s XXVI lyric, where the poet, remaining too long within a past memory, dives further into his melancholic state. For the melancholic, time cannot move forward the process of mourning. The melancholic wishes to preserve the present state of mourning, without progressing and without the possibility of a successful ending to the process of mourning. Maintaining the pain keeps the absent object alive.
But, again, recollecting these memories and narratizing them, gaining a sense of ownership over the past by even fictionalizing it, is a necessary plunge into melancholia that allows the subject a greater chance in moving forward. Tennyson has already began the preliminary stages of substitution by negating the void—that is, replacing Hallam with an elegy to Hallam—but he must go backward, regressing into melancholia, in order to move forward. As Bruce explains, Tennyson must venture through these “mournful memories and melancholy forebodings” in order to reach the other side of consolation (445). Through the pain of the past, through the negation of the past and the void it has created, the poet may have a chance at ending his existential despair and sorrow.
Poems XXVIII through XLIX contain recollections on the poet’s first Christmas without Hallam. It is with this first Christmas that Tennyson is thrown in to his deepest state of melancholia, even going so far as to wish for death to end his sadness and suffering: “This year I slept and woke with pain, / I almost wished no more to wake” (XXVIII 13-14). Again, with melancholia, Freud argues that individuals arrested in their process of mourning, those living-dead mourners still stuck in the past, have a keener and more accurate sense of the horrors of life (257). Their views are unclouded by the contentment created by society, and their sufferings brings about a greater sense of truth in the meaninglessness of existence. We see this existential clarity when Tennyson writes,
This round of green, this orb of flame,
Fantastic beauty such as lurks
In some wild Poet, when he works
Without a conscience or an aim. (XXXIV 5-8)

We also find here Tennyson continuously revisiting the notion of his own death. Since the object that the subject has once invested a part of its identity in is dead, the subject also wishes for his or her own death to narcissistically mirror the dead object—unable to endure the state of half living. Freud argues that in primary narcissism, the ego sees itself outside of itself, and so the external object of love and/or admiration is primarily one of a representation of the subject’s very ego. With that said, if the external ego that subject has identified with is dead, the subject wishes to be like his or her mirrored ego—namely, dead (Clewell 46). The subject is in a sense already dead, so it seems only fitting to physically end one’s life when stuck in the impasse of melancholia. We see Tennyson musing over this thought, both over his own death and consistently reassessing the death of Hallam. In Tennyson’s melancholic thoughts on death, we find him unable to take solace in thinking of the afterlife. The idea of heaven and the joyous notion of living after death in eternal bliss are of no comfort to him. We see this very melancholic approach to death, Tennyson’s more real sense of it, also in his views on love:
Yet if some voice that man could trust
Should murmur from the narrow house,
‘The cheeks drop in; the body bows;
Man dies: nor is there hope in dust:’
Might I not say? ‘Yet even here,
But for one hour, O Love, I strive
To keep so sweet a thing alive:’
But I should turn mine ears and hear
The moanings of the homeless sea,
The sound of streams that swift or slow
Draw down Æonian hills, and sow
The dust of continents to be;
And Love would answer with a sigh,
‘The sound of that forgetful shore
Will change my sweetness more and more,
Half-dead to know that I shall die.’
O me, what profits it to put
An idle case? If Death were seen
At first as Death, Love had not been,
Or been in narrowest working shut…. (XXXV 1-20)

Both death and love do not have a theological quality to them. Death is arbitrary, and all love will eventually die. Both the notions of an afterlife and love cannot console the melancholic suffer who is mourning for the loss of his own self.
For Tennyson, this first Christmas ushers in the greatest sensation of emptiness. His psychological state appears to be at its lowest while his melancholic bouts seem to be at their highest. Wishful thinking on the afterlife and love are unable to console his grieving, and towards the latter part of this lyrical group, it becomes apparent that the true enemy of mourning is consciousness. It is one’s awareness, one’s ability to remember and project the present into past memories and future projects, that becomes damaging to the mourner. Unable to forget, the melancholic remains stuck in the memory. The poet asks if death will be the end of consciousness as the individual soul merges with the universal soul, or will death be even more detrimental and consciousness is further heightened.
The poet seems unable to shake off these ideas as he battles with melancholia, even going so far as to doubt the very therapy of substituting Hallam with his material elegy:
Beneath all fancied hopes and fears
Ay me, the sorrow deepens down.
Whose muffled motions blindly drown
The bases of my life in tears. (XLIX 13-16)

Art, poetry, nature, philosophy: nothing is worthy to stand as a substitute for Hallam. This first Christmas, a time of gathering, propels Tennyson into his deepest despair, into his deepest bout with melancholia. We see here the poet latching onto the dead object, unable to, in Freudian terms, to respond to the call of reality. Ferber notes that it is the “melancholic who remains sunken in his loss, unable to acknowledge and accept the need to cleave and in a self-destructive loyalty to the lost object, internalizes it into his ego, thus furthermore circumscribing the conflict related to the loss. The lost object continues to exist…” (66). Coping with the lost object and resulting lack by resuscitating the lost object as an ever-present specter in the subject’s psyche, the melancholic refuses the external world for the world of the dead and the world of existential despair. Yet, again, this regression may become a valuable aid to the mourner in progressing forward. Past this first difficult time, Tennyson is able to withstand the entropy of melancholia and rise above it in order to once again move forward in the process of mourning.
In the fifth and sixth groups of poems, Tennyson describes his uncertainties on the existence of a higher being and on the phantom of Hallam. He does so in the same sort of melancholic tone as described above. However, unlike the lyrics before, among this sea of melancholy, the poet shows instances of sporadic hope in moving past this state and continuing on with the process of mourning through substitution. In the first lyrical group, the poet is conflicted with the hope in an afterlife. Though during this point in the nineteenth century, there arose many advances in science and technology that would challenge the belief in God, heaven, and the spiritual realm and suggest them to be fiction and fantastical wishful thinking, the poet begins to find solace in thinking, whether fact or fiction, that the spiritual world does exist:
Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last—far off—at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry. (LIV 13-20)

The concluding lyrics of this group also speak in a similar manner, hoping for the continuation of life after death despite the evidence that concludes otherwise. Throughout Tennyson’s passage through mourning, we have thus seen him go through the preliminary stages of mourning, and, while attempting to substitute Hallam for his own written composition, we find him sink into bouts of melancholia, where even the living poet seems just as dead as his lost object. Here, in the passage above, with hope in the afterlife, the poet now seems to be emerging out of the depths of his melancholy in order to continue in successfully substituting Hallam with a new and living object of identity investment.
Again, this substitution, exchanging the lost object with the written composition, is the Freudian work:
The long and arduous process of the work of mourning maintains the lost object within the psyche, gradually accepting the fact that it is indeed lost and working a way out of the attachment to it. The work is composed of a slow and painful working through of each of the memories and strands attaching the dejected subject to the object, which Freud defines as a thousand links. The detachment from the loss is done thereupon, through an extremely meticulous work of untangling the attachment, which is largely composed of memories. However difficult and even unbearable this work may be, it nevertheless ends with a complete loosening of all points of attachment…. In other words, the cutting of the strands of attachment is dictated by the voice of reality, so that the work of mourning is directed towards life and lifeenergy. This is the point in which the principle of life takes over and directs the mourner to focus himself on the important work of detachment and uninhibited life. The aim of the process of detachment has thus, nothing to do with the object itself, but with the subject which has to be freed from it. (Ferber 71)

Through work, composing Hallam’s elegy that will fill the void within Tennyson’s psyche, the poet is able to loosen his attachments with the dead object. He is able to redirect his energies toward a living investment, where life is once again valued, the ego is provided new meaning, and the dead are laid to rest.
It is in the seventh lyrical group, those dealing with the first anniversary of Hallam’s death as well as the second Christmas without him, that Tennyson negates his former melancholic self along with his lost object in order to fully substitute Hallam with his poem. In lyric LXXVII, the reader finds this negation, and the beginnings of a successful substitution come about, as the poet muses over fame and the art of the poetry. The poet acknowledges that death comes to everyone, and with death also goes the death of the poet’s fame. But the poet is no longer writing for fame:
What hope is here for modern rhyme
To him, who turns a musing eye
On songs, and deeds, and lives, that lie
Foreshorten’d in the tract of time?
These mortal lullabies of pain
May bind a book, may line a box,
May serve to curl a maiden’s locks;
Or when a thousand moons shall wane
A man upon a stall may find,
And, passing, turn the page that tells
A grief, then changed to something else,
Sung by a long-forgotten mind.
But what of that? My darken’d ways
Shall ring with music all the same;
To breathe my loss is more than fame,
To utter love more sweet than praise. (LXXVII 1-16)

The poem will be forgotten, but the poet will continue to write despite the transitory nature of the poem and despite the transitory nature of fame a poem may bring. The poet will continue to write as a form of therapy, mastering his memories, taking control over an event that seemed arbitrary and uncontrollable, mastering his emotions, and moving toward replacing his lost friend with his material work. Though the work may never be an acclaimed success, it is truly a work only for the poet himself, a private meditation and constant dialectical procedure moving him toward filling the void within his identity. For Tennyson, Hallam was “rich where [he] was poor / And he supplied [his] want the more / As his unlikeness fitted [his]” (LXXIX 17-20). But with the aid of his elegy, Tennyson’s fragmented identity—these areas now plagued by a lack where Hallam was once present—will be filled.
In poem LXXXV, a reader begins to see the success the written poem as the substitute for Hallam is having on Tennyson’s passage through mourning. Though Tennyson is still conflicted with sorrow, working through his memories and narrating them, shifting his effects from contemplating on Hallam as a lost object and the dead aspect of his identity to his material composition as the Freudian trauerarbeit, the substitution begins to loosen the attachment Tennyson has maintained with the lost object:
My pulses therefore beat again
For other friends that once I met;
Nor can it suit me to forget
The mighty hopes that make us men. (LXXXV 57-60)

My old affection of the tomb,
A part of stillness, yearns to speak:
‘Arise, and get thee forth and seek
A friendship for the years to come.
‘I watch thee from the quiet shore;
Thy spirit up to mine can reach;
But in dear words of human speech
We two communicate no more.’ (LXXXV 77-84)

My heart, tho’ widow’d, may not rest
Quite in the love of what is gone,
But seeks to beat in time with one
That warms another living breast.
Ah, take the imperfect gift I bring,
Knowing the primrose yet is dear,
The primrose of the later year,
As not unlike to that of Spring. (LXXXV 113-120)

Though the origin of pain is always present, the poet begins to recover through substituting his work for the lost object. Tennyson finds his therapy in substituting the poet’s speech for the dead and begins to take control over the void within his identity, even going so far as to convince himself, like convincing himself of the bless felt in the afterlife discussed earlier, that Hallam wishes him to take on another, living, friend—a human substitute.
Here, a reader finds Tennyson’s substitution through the aid of Freudian work coming to its conclusion. The process of mourning comes to a close as the poet transitions his emphasis from the lost and dead object to the living elegy, thus filling the once hollow space in his identity left from Hallam’s death with a psychical object that both represents Tennyson’s mastery over the past and his holistic identity reflected back to him through the completed composition.
We have now reached the conclusion of Tennyson’s poem, lyrics CIV through both the epilogue and prologue. In these passages, Tennyson’s journey through mourning draws to a close. Commencing with Hallam’s death, arrested at times with bouts of melancholia, Tennyson has successfully substituted his dead object and filled the void within his identity with his poetic work. As the poem functioned as a dialectical conversation within himself, Tennyson rises to a new and higher level of understanding, where he is sure in the existence of a divine and omnipotent God and an afterlife:
Whereof the man, that with me trod
This planet, was a noble type
Appearing ere the times were ripe,
That friend of mine who lives in God,
That God, which ever lives and loves,
One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event,
To which the whole creation moves. (Epilogue 137-144)

This similar success in the process of mourning is accepted further in the prologue, written seven years after the poem had been completed. Through work, the Freudian trauerarbeit, Tennyson was able to attain a higher state of being and regain his sense of holism that was fragmented by Hallam’s passing. He was able to take control over his mourning and conquer melancholia by loosening his attachment to the void within himself and his deceased friend by focusing his energies and constructing a new identity by his own hand, a composition worthy to be invested into his psychological self and worthy to fill the hole left by such a beloved friend.
Upon reaching the conclusion of mourning, Tennyson comes to his final evolutionary phases, that of consolation. Consolation occurs, in the case of Tennyson’s In Memoriam, when the poet has successfully substituted his lost object with an other. This other comes in the form of his completed work. The work functions, in the words of Hsiao, as a stand in, for the lost aspect of himself (187). No longer is the poet a fragmented ego, gaining his sense of self from a lost and deceased object. He is now a holistic subject, as the void within his identity has been successfully negated, and replaced with the material product of his therapeutic work.
Works Cited
Carel, Havi. “The Ambivalence of Mourning.” Friends of Wisdom. N.d., 2004. Web. 1 Oct 2011. <>.
Clewell, Tammy. “Mourning Beyond Melancholia: Freud’s Psychoanalysis of Loss.” Journal of the American Psychoanalytical Association 52.1 (2004): 43-67. Web. 1 Oct. 2011. <>.
Ferber, Ilit. “Melancholy Philosophy: Freud and Benjamin.” EREA 4.1 (2006): 66-77. Web. 2 Oct. 2011. <>.
Freud, Sigmund. “Mourning and Melancholia.” The Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund FreudVol. 14. Ed. James Strachey. London: Hogarth, 1957. 243-58.
Gana, Nouri. “Remembering Forbidding Mourning: Repetition, Indifference, Melanxiety, Hamlet.” Mosaic37.2 (2004): 59-78. Web. 2 Oct. 2011. <>.
Harold, Bruce. “Tennyson and Death.” Sewanee Review 25.4 (1917): 443-56. Web. 8 Oct. 2011. <>.
Hsiao, Irene. “Calculating Loss in Tennyson’s In Memoriam.” Victorian Poetry. 47.1 (2009): 173-196. Web. 1 Oct. 2011. < victorian_poetry/v047/47.1.hsiao.pdf>.
Ruti, Mari. “From Melancholia to Meaning: How to Live the Past in the Present.” Psychoanalytic Dialogues 15.5 (2005): 637-60. Web. 2 Oct. 2011. <>.
Shepherd, Henry. “Some Phases of Tennyson’s in Memoriam.” Modern Language Association 6.1 (1891): 41-51. Web. 1 Oct. 2011. < 456295?origin=JSTOR-pdf>.
Tennyson, Alfred. In Memoriam. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2004.

Jun 17, 2018

The "Metaphysicals": English Baroque Literature in Context


In the still predominantly British study of English literature, the term "Baroque" is hardly ever used to describe the era between the Renaissance and the age of Neoclassicism, and it seems that only scholars of comparative literature who have dared look across the Channel, such as René Wellek, as well as cultural scholars use it in their approach. 1 In British studies of English literature, the term "Metaphysical" is still given preference. Originally, "Metaphysical" was used as a derogatory term by the Neoclassicists in order to differentiate their aesthetics, which was based on reason and clearly defined rules, from the Baroque aesthetics of the "last age". From their point of view the Baroque poets had offended against the eternally valid norms of reason and nature and so, in this diphemistic sense, "Metaphysical" was meant to describe something "unnatural" or "adverse to nature" rather than the "supernatural". After John Dryden's and Samuel Johnson's derogatory use of the term "Metaphysical", it became a neutral technical term -- a frequent semantic change when the immediate historical context sinks into oblivion. In his influential Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire (1693) Dryden described how, during his aberration from reason as a youth, he was dazzled by Abraham Cowley's "points of wit, and quirks of epigram" and other "puerilities", and looked upon him as a pupil of the Baroque poet John Donne: 

    He [Donne] affects the metaphysics, where nature only should reign. [...] In this Mr Cowley has copied him to a fault. 2

In 1779, Samuel Johnson wrote a short biography of Abraham Cowley. This was the first of a series of biographical and critical prefaces to his anthology of Works of the English Poets (1779-1781), a book firmly based on Neoclassical principles. His judgement and terminology followed Dryden's:

    About the beginning of the seventeenth century appeared a race of writers that may be termed the Metaphysical poets [...]. 3

In a rather haphazard enumeration Samuel Johnson accused these 'unnatural' poets of a great many offences against reason and nature: exhibiting artificiality instead of concealing art, the desire for originality at the expense of the mimesis of nature, unpolished stylistic carelessness, abstruse conceits arbitrarily yoked together in a kind of discordia concors, enormous hyperboles, gross absurdities, and horrible obscenities often conveyed in puns and quibbles.  4 The Rationalistic and Neoclassical purification of the language, as propagated by the Académie Française after 1634 and by the Royal Society after 1668, tolerated no multiple meanings of words that would confuse the understanding, and thus radically inverted the dynamic expansion of the Renaissance and (even more so) of the Baroque vocabulary prominent in Rabelais, Shakespeare, and Donne. Shakespearean and Metaphysical puns and quibbles offended against the most basic Neoclassical rules of reason, the rule of clarity and the rule of decorum. 

Apart from being distorted by Neoclassical prejudices, Samuel Johnson's catalogue of the characteristics of English Baroque literature is also rather incomplete. Ever since Grierson's edition (1912) and Eliot's essay (1921), research into Baroque poetry has not only led to a revision of Neoclassical prejudices but has also looked at the Baroque period unhampered by the distortions of a different aesthetic approach.  5 It has, moreover, led to a substantial expansion and modification of Johnson's catalogue. On the basis of recent research studies, the characteristics of English Baroque literature can be summarized in nine points: 


In the literary comparison or image the distance between vehicle and tenor was widened in an artificial and affected way to such an extreme or even contrariness that any logical or natural relationship between the two was no longer immediately recognizable. 6  Comparing the body, in which the soul lives confined until its liberation by death, to a prison or to a coffin had been a natural conventional illustration of Plato's soma-sema-doctrine; but comparing the body to a rusty gun barrel which the bullet of the soul breaks in order to fly upward to heaven, as John Donne did in his Second Anniversary (1612), was an instance of Baroque wit, originality, and eccentricity:

    But thinke that Death hath now enfranchis'd thee,
    Thinke that a rusty Peece, discharg'd, is flowne
    In peeces, and the bullet is his owne,
    And freely flies: This to thy Soule allow,
    Thinke thy shell broke [...] 7

The 'eccentric' world picture spreading through Europe after Nicolaus Copernicus' De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543) produced equally 'eccentric' art forms, which were later labelled with epoch-terms denoting just this eccentricity: 'baroque', 'il seicento eccentrico'. A remarkable manifestation of this loss of the centre or Verlust der Mitte 8 can be seen in Baroque church architecture. Here, the circle as the typical feature of Renaissance groundplan design was replaced by the Baroque oval. Thus the church-goer's traditional experience of the centre below the cupola was clearly distorted. Typical examples are Bernini's Jesuit Sant' Andrea al Quirinale in Rome or the Jesuit Loreto Church near the Hradcany (Castle) in Prague.  9  In Baroque rhetoric, the conceit replaced the Renaissance image just as the oval replaced the Renaissance circle in Baroque architecture, giving the reader an equal sense of distortion. A typical example is the famous divine poem on the repentant sinner Mary Magdalene, 'The Weeper', and its strong-line coda, 'The Tear' (MSS ca 1640), by the Roman Catholic and Counter-Reformatory poet Richard Crashaw. The poem disrupts the well-proportioned and by now time-worn Petrarchan comparison of eyes with fountains or orbs and tears with springs or stars 10  in the most extravagant and illogically mixed ways. In rapid and broken succession, the eyes are no longer fountains but become extended to "portable and compendious oceans" faithfully and paradoxically following their beloved Christ, and the tears are drops weeping for their own loss, or, more paradoxically, moist sparks, watery diamonds, maiden gems worn by a wanton woman blushing at Christ, her very masculine and beautiful lover, pearls of dew carried on pillows stuffed with the down of angels from the sinner's lowly dust to heaven, to be metamorphosed into stars and singers in the heavenly choir of angels. 11 Besides concrete physical objects such as eyes and tears, abstracts such as moderation, repentance, grace, wisdom, and love could also be illustrated by such far-fetched and original vehicles. Thus, the obvious and harmonious comparison of love with fire in Petrarch was replaced by the artificial and eccentric comparison of love with a flea in Donne. 12 This concettismo was closely related to the originally anti-Calvinist and Counter-Reformatory mixed genre of the emblem. Complementing a Baroque history painting, the emblem was chiefly meant to convey abstract doctrines of faith and philosophy to the human senses, in a tripartite combination of word and picture. This task would almost necessarily put a strain on the emblem writer's inventiveness in finding eccentric vehicles and tertia comparationis, as when he illustrated the universal indispensability of divine and human love by depicting the world as a cask and Amor-Christ as a cooper binding together that cask's loose planks. 13  It is typical of this Baroque ut pictura poesis that, for instance, the conceptistic comparison of divine grace with a magnet, which alone can draw the iron human heart up to God, was used both in a holy sonnet of John Donne's 14  and in an emblem in Georgette de Montenay's Monumenta Emblematorum Christianorum (1540)15 


Much has been written about the theatricality and dramatic quality of Metaphysical poetry, especially in its earlier phase. In their radical opposition to Calvinistic theology, Metaphysical poems are intensely picturesque, displaying all the pictorial splendour usually associated with the flashy illusory stage-designs of the Stuart court-masque. Calvin's rabbinistic, anti-Catholic, (and allegedly early Christian) interpretation of the first commandment of the decalogue (Exodus 20. 4), forbidding not only idols but all pictures, had entailed his ban on plays and playhouses in general. No theatres were allowed in Calvin's Genevan theocracy, and the early English Calvinists' ("Puritans'") antagonism to the theatre and its consequences has been well investigated. Small wonder that the Counter-Reformation reacted by stressing both the practice of the theatre (Jesuitendrama) and the literary and artistic commonplaces of the theatre. "Totus mundus agit histrionen", "el gran theatro del mundo", "das große Welttheater", became a favourite theme and motif of Baroque literature. 16  Moreover, against the background of the sister arts ut pictura poesis, attention should be paid to the theatricality both of Baroque church architecture and of Baroque painting. Baroque churches were splendidly designed as theatrum sacrum, and theatrical illusion (as in trompe l'oeil ceilings) was consciously made use of in order to involve the senses ad majorem Dei gloriam. The heavens opening and revealing God surrounded by his hierarchies of angels in all their glory was portrayed as a theatrical pageant comparable to (and exceeding) that of the most splendid court-masques, giving observers a sensual foretaste of the delights to come in the world beyond. Baroque paintings, too, are full of theatre motifs and heavy drapery, with curtainsallowing glimpses of what seemingly was not meant to be seen. This, of course, had the contrary effect: disclosing rather than concealing, arousing curiosity and guiding the eye directly to what was only half-heartedly hidden. Christ in the manger or Christ on the cross no longer carries a napkin or loincloth hiding his shame, but rather a theatre curtain revealing it and conveying Christ's erotic potency and soteriological fertility to the astounded spectator. 


Not only in literary comparisons but also in the context of the two conflicting world pictures and two conflicting religions -- even the most remote elements were connected in contentio or composition (now called antithesis) or synoeciosis or opposition (now called paradox). 17  We find heaven and hell, life and death, fire and water almost automatically linked, just as Baroque literature reflected the increasing awareness of a world out of joint on all levels. In their massive accumulation and complex clusters, antithesis and paradox became distinctive characteristics of Baroque rhetoric. 18  Thus, in his two earliest verse letters referring to his participation in the Islands Expedition (1597), 19  John Donne opposed the descriptions of two contrary experiences in extremis, a sea storm and a sea calm. Both not only threatened the sailors' lives, the second even more than the first, but confronted them with two versions of pristine, pre-Creationist, Godless chaos. In the storm

    Darkness, lights elder brother, his birth-right
    Claims o'er this world, and to heaven hath chas'd light.
    All things are one, and that none can be,
    Since all formes, uniforme deformity
    Doth cover, so that wee, except God say
    Another Fiat, shall have no more day. 20

And in the calm

    He that at sea prayes for more winde, as well
           Under the poles may begge cold, heat in hell. 21 

All aim is lost in disorientation, all coherence (of the fleet) is gone. All order, distinctions, and laws of causality are annihilated in a hell of shrieking noises or baking heat. The speaker can no longer distinguish directions and seasons, day and light, sleep and death, health and disease. And every thing and act planned for the sake of survival either fails or turns to its very contrary. The accumulated paradoxes underline the obliteration of all created relationship between cause and effect, as of all rational order. Another of Donne's eschatological poems either composing or opposing extremes is The First Anniversary (1611). Here the old world, shaken by a severe fever with hot and cold flushes, doubts whether the end of this crisis signifies the world's survival or its death, only to learn that its inevitable decay due to sin is the (certainly very Utopian) precondition of its rebirth into a virtuous and prelapsarian state. 22  In Cyril Tourneur's play The Revenger's Tragedy (1607), the hero Vindice wavers between extreme love and extreme disgust, libido and contemptus mundi, at the sight of the skull of his murdered mistress, which is wrapped in beautiful clothes. 23  Arthur Hübscher talks of "Baroque as a means of forming an antithetical awareness of life". 24  

Situative as well as rhetorical paradoxes can be found in all epochs of literature, and have been aptly classified in three types: the serious and unresolvable paradox, the comical and satirical paradox, and the playful or semi-jocular paradox. 25  The distinctively Baroque paradox belonged to the first type. Like the conventional serious paradox, it opposed extreme opposites in seeming logicality; but it aimed at eccentric surprise. It exceeded the conventionality of Tertullian's maxim of "credo quia absurdum" in its witty originality and offence against conventional decorum. In John Donne's Holy Sonnets, each speaker tries to overcome the broken state of the world and the church in a privatissime illogical communion between two lovers, himself and his desired God. The speaker will never be free unless God chains him, and will never be chaste unless God rapes him. God has to overthrow him in order that he may firmly stand. 26  In Richard Crashaw's 'Hymn to Saint Teresa', penetration is the precondition of virginity as well as ignorance the precondition of knowledge, bankruptcy the precondition of trade, weakness the precondition of strength, martyrdom and death the precondition of life, and fall and sin the precondition of resurrection and salvation. In their theological and philosophical unresolvability, such serious paradoxes, homiletically conventional or sensationally shocking, were radically different from the traditional comical and satirical type of paradox on the one hand, and from the traditional playful or semi-jocular type of paradox on the other hand. 27  And they also differed from the paradoxy that modern literary theory postulates for all poetry (Cleanth Brooks and the New Criticism) or even prose (Paul de Man and Deconstructivism). The distinctive feature of Baroque paradoxes is their shocking choice of joined opposites as well as the sheer quantity of obsessive paradox cumulation, which sets them apart from the serious paradoxes that survived in the Augustan age, with its self-imposed obligation to a return to harmony and to the restrictive rule of decorum. 28  The typically Baroque use of paradoxes must be understood as the literary expression of an age that did not only have to face new contradictory theologies, philosophies, and views of history. 29  The age had, above all, been taken by surprise in having to face a totally new, non-geocentric world picture. Where the centre is lost, excess and eccentricity are the new norm itself. Thus, an aesthetics of excess, eccentricity, disproportion, non-balance, monstrosity, and stupendousness became the hallmark of the Baroque: "la estetica di stupare". And so the Baroque sought to bridge by an excessive and eccentric, original and innovative wit and art what faith found increasingly difficult to believe. 30  It was here that the replacement of religion by art began, and it is here that we find Matthew Arnold's and Friedrich Nietzsche's predecessors in doubt. Baroque man lived torn between two logically irreconcilable world pictures: on the one hand, the old Ptolemaic, geocentric one which had for centuries given man a sense of order and dignity, which was now increasingly called in doubt; and, on the other hand, the new Copernican, heliocentric one which, though it proved empirically convincing, resulted in a deep sense of physical and moral displacement and ontological disorientationTycho Brahe's typically Renaissance attempt at reconciling the two world pictures shows the whole extent of the dilemma. 31  From an early seventeenth-century rational and erudite man's point of view, Anthony Munday spoke of "opposed truth", 32  and Baltasar Gracián of "monstruos de la verdad". 33  This antithetical awareness explains Crashaw's desperate call to return to Saint Teresa's childish, pre-logical, and mystical acceptance of contraries beyond man's rational comprehension. But the lost firmness of faith was irretrievable, and Baroque mysticism differed from medieval mysticism in its strong element of doubt. In this, Baroque love of paradox and Baroque mysticism were closely connected. 


As shown above, Baroque literature's characteristic feature of replacing logical lines of argumentation by paradoxes, syllogisms, barocones 34  and other kinds of witty and spurious argumentation reflects the feeling of an original community and continuity increasingly torn apart. George Herbert's broken altar (fragmented in violation of biblical law) 35  symbolizes the broken church, and is wittily associated with the psalmist's broken heart as well as the speaker's broken poem. The speaker's poetic sacrifice, like all sacrifice, aims at an 'at-one-ment' with God, though (paradoxically) to the exclusion of both the church and the community. 36  Donne's First Anniversary, his above-mentioned poetic anatomy of the dead old world, provides another type of such unexpected disruptions of the train of thoughts. It teems with sudden changes of argument and truncated thoughts, marked by aposiopeses or interruptions of the type of "But no!" and underlined by numerous antitheses and unresolvable paradoxes. Another splendid instance is Donne's poem 'A Noctural upon St Lucy's Day', with its wittily paradoxical and surprising treatment of alchemy. 37  The speaker, tout seul by the death of his beloved lady and in his isolation from "all others", feels more than ordinarily depressed on St Lucy's day, being the shortest, darkest, and most sapless day of the year. All others stand in expectation of the next spring, which will renew their erotic vitality. The speaker, however, feels his own death multiplied into utter nothingness. Alchemy, the ultimate goal of which was the transformation of lower into higher matter, is replaced by a "new alchemy", transforming nothingness into a higher form of nothingness. Then this utter bodilessness will exalt him far above the mere fleshly and goatlike regeneration of "all others" and effect his regeneration into an infinitely higher love. Thus, nothingness distilled to its "quintessence" and "elixir" becomes a higher life, the nadir turns zenith. A dense erotic imagery (alchemy and alembics, the tropic of capricorn, sap and balm, lust, goat, bed) is inseparably interwoven with an equally dense religious number symbolism (3, 5, 7, 9, 12) and imagery (sun, vigil, eve). 38  Such a definitely unprudish sensuality as appears in these paradoxes refers to still another source of the logically broken dispositio of the classical literary rhetorical discourse: the trompe l'oeil argumentation of the Jesuits, i.e. the deliberate satisfaction of the senses, condemned by Calvin, by deceiving the senses (as well as in the above-mentioned trompe l'oeil perspective of Baroque church ceiling paintings) ad majorem Dei gloriam following Ignatius of Loyola and the Council of Trent (1545-63). 39  


With the growing post-Copernican sense of macrocosmic chaos and the post-Machiavellian (and pre-Hobbesian) threat of political chaos, especially civil war, man tended to withdraw and in some cases even to create his own ordered microcosm: 40  alone with his paramour in his love chamber, alone with his God in his prayer-room, or, in the most extreme case, entirely alone (as the speaker of Andrew Marvell's 'The Garden'). This self-imposed separation of microcosmic privacy from macrocosm and state, in the hope of finding a last refuge of cosmic harmony in this privacy, dissolved the time-honoured doctrine of the three integrally corresponding planes of the Creation. 41  Calvinistic Protestantism had destroyed the old holistic Roman Catholic ceremony of the Eucharist (and with it the kath'holon unity of sensuality and spirituality, man and God, as well as high and low members of one church community). This had significantly contributed towards an irreversible development still in progress today, the individualization and isolation (Vereinzelung) of man, which modern sociologists have called "the tyranny of privacy". 42  Cast back upon himself in his private prayers for forgiveness and peace, the Protestant had begun to leave the traditional communio and to become tout seul43  Efforts during the Counter-Reformation to re-establish the old kath'holon feeling of a communio ecclesiastica et eucharistica were doomed to fail. In court culture, too, this by now irreversible development became apparent in the increasing isolation of the monarch and nobility. Whereas King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, had still visited the country and personally responded to entertainments and pageants presented to them by the citizens, the succeeding Stuarts more and more withdrew into the privacy of their courts. King James I (1603-25) ostensibly reduced contact with the people, and King Charles I (1625-40) tried to abolish such public relations altogether, with disastrous political consequences which cost him both his throne (1642) and his life (30 January 1649). 44  The cult of the Stuart court-masque may be regarded as another symptom of that isolation, as the royals and their courtiers staged plays in which they themselves were both actors and spectators, to the exclusion of the public. 45  The admission of representatives of 'the world' to royal audiences became an intimidating ritual set in equally intimidating surroundings of architectural designs, which almost signalled unwelcome intrusion. 

Driven into a similar isolation, quite contrary to his nostalgic Catholicism, the Baroque poet of the early Stuart period (1603-40) shunned the community of a world which he felt to be in the agonies of death and decay--vaguely comparable to the later Romantic poets' cult of loneliness, and then again to the self-withdrawal of the Decadent poets of the Fin de Siècle. 46  It has been convincingly shown that the individual speaker and lyric ego of the Baroque period assumed a solipsistic poetic dignity and dramatic complexity which was not regained until the lyrical revival in the Romantic movement of the later eighteenth century. 47  The speaker or ego of a Baroque lyric equally scolded the celestial bodies, the king, the nobility, the clergy as well as secular wealth and public morality as intruders, and banished them from the place of his poetic privacy. Thus John Donne about himself and his mistress:

    She is all States, and all Princes, I,
    Nothing else is, 48 

and about himself and his God:

    Churches are best for Prayer, that have least light:
    To see God only, I goe out of sight, 49 

and the speaker of Andrew Marvell about himself and his garden:

    Society is all but rude,
    To this delicious Solitude. 50 

In a study of Baroque religious poetry in France, Helmut Hatzfeld referred to a particular expression of this private mode, which he called the "tout-seul formula". 51  In the context of this vehemently defended private mode of the Baroque poets it is noteworthy that amor eroticus and amor divinus, i.e. love-chamber and prayer-room, 52  could be freely exchanged in a most sensuous and unprudish manner (just as, in Baroque artChrist appears as a potent and tender lover with all erotic connotations). Thus, consciously following the Old Testament Song of Solomon and the contemporary emblem books, John Donne could not only be the great solitary lover and the great solitary divine, but was also able to convey divine love to the senses of his readers through erotic images of the private practice of physical love. 53  One of his most notorious poems in this respect is his 'Hymn to Christ at the Author's Last Going into Germany' (MS 1619). The speaker addresses Christ as an intimate lover, paradoxically demanding freedom and protection in an unfree and tyrannous relationship dominated by jealousy and zeal, "divorcing" the speaker from all his former friends and desires, and demanding an amorous tryst with Christ in the darkness of a church where they can hide and make love out of sight of the community. With the saving ship or ark of the church "torne" in times of the religious conflicts of the Reformation, the Baroque poet, now tout seul, moves closer to his God to be saved from Noah's flood:

    IN what torne ship soever I embarke,
    That ship shall be my embleme of thy Arke;
    What sea soever swallow mee, that flood
    Shall be to mee an embleme of thy blood;
    Though thou with clouds of anger do disguise
    Thy face; yet through that maske I know those eyes,
           Which, though they turne away sometimes,
                  They never will despise. 54 

The reader of the Baroque poet's lyrics, like the hearer of the Baroque divine's sermons, is almost excluded, progressively so from Donne via Herbert and Crashaw to Vaughan and Traherne. In Donne's 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning', the lovers' bodies have become so thin (like precious beaten gold) and so translucent and transcendent as almost to leave the material world behind (as in death) and to be sacred in their remoteness:

    T'were prophanation of our joyes
           To tell the layetie our love. 55 

Individual love, be it amor divinus or amor eroticus, is indispensable for salvation where the community is breaking up, the ring or circle of perfection only being attainable by the refined lovers' "stiffe twin compasses". 56  In Donne's 'The Ecstasy', the reader is assigned the role of a hypothetical third person, selected on strictest conditions and only temporarily admitted to observe the alchemically refined lovers (and the primacy of their newly mixed mind directing the new union of their bodies) from a "convenient distance":

    If any, so by love refin'd,
            That he soules language understood,
    And by good love were growen all minde,
            Within convenient distance stood,
    And if some lover, such as wee,
            Have heard this dialogue of one,
    [...] 57 

The justification of and appeal to the senses ad majorem Dei gloriam, in conscious opposition to Calvin's reductionist spiritual theology, led the Baroque poets to adopt the Aristotelian enargeia or evidentia -- the ideal of "ante oculos ponere" as it is used in Ignatius of Loyola's Exercitia Spiritualia58  Calvin's destruction of the Eucharist had bedevilled the sensuous enjoyment of God, and Protestantism's recourse to the printed text had interrupted the lively and sensuous exchange between the speaker and hearer, the face-to-face interaction as between the giver and taker in the Eucharist. 59  The Counter-Reformation sought to re-establish that old sensuous interchange, and the need to bridge extreme poles which were drifting more and more apart accounts for the strained artificiality of the Baroque artist's creative effort. The truth conveyed by a work of art was not only to be understood, but to be received with ecstatic sensuality. It was meant to be heard with the ears, seen with the eyes, smelt with the nose, tasted with the tongue and felt by the sense of touch. This led to the tripartite structure of the Ignatian meditation as a weapon of the Counter-Reformation. In the first but indispensable step of meditation, compositio loci, the meditant had to conceive a vivid image of a particular scene of salvationChrist's Crucifixion or Heaven or even Hell, if necessary with the aid of a Baroque painting. He had to feel Christ's pains, to see his blood flow, hear his words on the cross, taste and smell the sweetness of heaven and the sulphurous stench of hell, 60  before he was allowed to proceed to a theological comprehension in the second step of meditation. In the third stage he had to transfer his feelings and understanding into affective involvement and practical action. In 1954 Louis Martz, and in 1955 Arno Esch, showed this tripartite structure to be characteristic of a great part of English Baroque poetry. 61  In the title of his work Louis Martz even suggested calling all English Baroque poetry "The Poetry of Meditation". 62 


In his Ars Poetica, Horace had recommended the golden mean between elliptical brevity and long-winded detail; and the early Neoclassicists of the School of Ben Jonson followed this conventional rule of "Breve esse laboro Obscurus fio". The Baroque poets of the School of Donne, however, revolted by making the very contrary, "masculine" elliptical brevity for the purpose of stylistic obscurity, their poetic ideal. In classical literary rhetorical discourse, obscurity had ever been a stylistic device of the ornatus. Thus, even in its own time, the term "strong lines" was used for English Baroque poetry, vehemently opposed by the early Neoclassical School of Ben Jonson. 63  In the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque age models changed: they shifted from Demosthenes' dense precision of thought to Isocrates' dazzling external form, from Cicero's balanced stylistic clarity to the epigrammatic and elliptical taciturnity of Tacitus and Seneca. 64  This also explains the popularity that Tacitus's contemporary Martial and his Epigrammata enjoyed with the Metaphysicals, who delighted in writing terse epigrams both in English and Latin: Donne's Epigrams, Herbert's Passio Discerpta, Crashaw's Epigrammata Sacra, Marvell's Inscribenda. Thus, the stylistic ideal of the Golden Latinity of Horace and Cicero was replaced by the later stylistic ideal of the Silver Latinity of Tacitus and Martial. Art historians, and, in their wake, literary historians consequently attempted to explain the Baroque as a returning phenomenon of decadence following classical peaks. 65  This was done, for example, by the art historian Jacob Burckhardt in 1855 and in 1860, until in Renaissance und Barock (1880) his pupil Heinrich Wölfflin suggested accepting Baroque decadence as an art form of its own. Decades later, this was still the case with Ernst Robert Curtius: in Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter (1948) he opposed classicism and mannerism as virtus and vitium.


The plain, partly colloquial, and often consciously deformed poetic style is a particularly striking feature of the English Protestant Baroque. John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Andrew Marvell, and Thomas Traherne demonstratively rejected the poetic diction and high stylization of Renaissance poetry from Petrarch to Shakespeare, as well as the ornatus malus of stylistic Mannerism (Euphuism, Gongorism, Marinism). 66  Thus, the plain style of English Baroque poems stood in antithetical tension to their highly complicated and conceptistic intellectual content. George Herbert expressed this most controversially - and even paradoxically - in his two 'Jordan' poems, with an artificial pun on the 'plains of Jordan':

    Who sayes that fictions onely and false hair
    Become a verse? Is there in truth no beautie?
    Is all good structure in a winding stair?
    I envie no mans nightingale or spring
    Nor let them punish me with losse of rime,
    Who plainly say, My God, My King. 67 
It should, however, be noted that Herbert's 'Jordan' poems are self-deconstructive in their apparent contradiction between their argument in favour of pristine, original, 'natural' plainness (analogous to the Protestant recourse to 'primitive' Christianity) on the one hand, and their 'artificial' though non-mannerist rhetoric on the other hand (analogous to the Roman Catholic insistence on post-primitive tradition and ornament). This expresses the Anglican Church's and the Metaphysical poet's tension between their Protestant and their Roman Catholic heritages, also reflected in the palace architecture of the period, where plain Neoclassical façades concealed ornate Baroque interiors, - the more private the rooms the more ornate their decorations. Typical examples were Inigo Jones's Banqueting House in his unexecuted designs for a new Whitehall Palacehis Wilton House, and the Caroline Aston Hall near Birmingham. 68  This contrast between interior and exterior ornamentation can also be traced in the development of the Church of England. Though Protestant in its public self-presentation, the Church of England was secretly re-Catholicizing itself from within, most notably in the religion and politics of King Charles I and Archbishop William Laud. 

In Protestant Poetics and the Seventeenth Century Lyric, a study based on rich source material, Barbara Kiefer Lewalski 69  shows how the plain style of the Bible, so dear to Protestants, influenced English Baroque poetry no less strongly than did Ignatian meditation. It is a well known fact that European Protestantism could only encounter the, in a literal sense, 'sensational' flood of anti-Calvinist, Counter-Reformatory pictorial and emblematic art by its increasing acceptance or 'containment' of the picture itself and simply by using its contents for Protestant purposes. The by now plain churches, robbed of their ornamentation by iconoclasm, were filled again; what was originally a Counter-Reformatory emblem was now dedicated to the Protestant cause, 70  and the tripartite structure of the Ignatian meditation was adopted for numerous Protestant Baroque poems. English Protestant Baroque, however, differed considerably from Continental Jesuit Baroque in its frequent use of the biblical plain style as an important means of Protestant appropriation.


The classical maxim "ars est celare artem", often wrongly attributed to Horace, was the rhetorical poetic ideal in the Renaissance as well as in the later age of Neoclassicism. The Neoclassical critic Joseph Addison, for example, found fault with the Baroque poet's 'false wit', as apparent in "Anagrams, Chronograms, Lipograms, and Acrosticks" as well as "Poems cast into the Figures of EggsAxes, or Altars". 71  And the Neoclassical critic Samuel Johnson later generally pointed out that the Baroque poet perverted the doctrine of 'ars est celare artem' into its very opposite:

    The Metaphysical poets were men of learning, and to show their learning was their whole endeavour. 72 

In his Neoclassical saeva indignatio, and due to his lack of distance to the Baroque period, Samuel Johnson was unable to understand that the art and learning displayed in the Baroque work of art (poem or sermon alike) were indispensable. They were meant to surprise the readers, hearers, and spectators and thus helped to convey the impression of total novelty and originality, which mirrored a totally new world picture. So, "new" was a favourite adjective in the titles of Robert Southwell's poems. Moreover, they kept the reader or audience in admiration and at a distance, thus guaranteeing the artist's private mode. Both reader and audience were meant to enjoy the absolute originality and scarcely comprehensible complexity of his brilliant wit from a distance, just as they would admire a firework display. 73  The Italian Baroque poet Giambattista Marino, well known among English Baroque poets, expressed this principle in a memorable couplet:

    E del poeta il fin la meraviglia [...]
    Chi non sa far stupar, vada alla striglia! 74 

Moreover, the "dissociation of sensibility", first identified and denominated by T.S. Eliot in 1921, had not yet taken place in the Baroque age. The learning of the Baroque poet expressed in verse and prose was not only intellectual but also emotional. According to Eliot the Baroque poets were "men who incorporated their erudition into their sensibility" and felt their thoughts "as immediately as the odour of a rose". 75  Eliot criticized Neoclassicism for having dissociated the original integral unity of life and art, for splitting it into emotion and reflection, decorum and indecorum, as well as into "true wit" and "false wit". 76 


The enumeration and contextual description of these nine characteristic features of English Baroque literature in verse and prose indicates a complex variety of seemingly heterogeneous causes. But their overall coherence and interaction, the nature of and reason for their historical development, as well as their connections with the other Baroque arts both in England and on the Continent demand an even more extensive and differentiated contextual documentation. These characteristic features were often attributed to a returning esprit de révolution against the compulsion by rules and norms 77  characteristic of the Baroque, Romanticism, and then again the Neoromantic Fin de Siècle. Sigmund Freud showed that in human life superego-oriented, Apollonian phases controlled by rules and norms are always followed by id-oriented, revolutionary and Dionysiac phases despising rules and norms. Literary historians such as F.L. Lucas have applied this observation to literary history, as, for example, in their explanation of Romanticism as a revolution against rule- and norm-oriented Neoclassicism. 78  The same is true, at the turn of the 17th century, for the increasing rebellion against the fixed Petrarchan conventions which had dominated Renaissance poetry. 79  Under this aspect, Baroque Metaphysical and Neoclassical Cavalier poetry may be regarded as two very different, even contrary reactions to the same outworn Renaissance tradition. The Metaphysicals reacted by extension and excess according to the principle of originality. They tried to exceed Renaissance art by even more various forms and expressions; they sought its wit and splendour amongst other things by a superabundance of even bolder paradoxy; they extended traditional images to the most tortuous, unexpected, surprising, and original conceits by way of an excess of discordia concors and an innovative urge towards forward orientation, Entgrenzung. The Cavaliers, on the contrary, reacted by restriction according to the principle of imitation. They aimed at less variety, less wit and flashiness, preferring clarity and purification of the language, modification of extremes, reduction of images to natural associations, imitative backward orientation to the model of the Age of Emperor Augustus (1st century BC), obedience to the rules laid down by reason and Horace, Begrenzung and Überschaubarkeit. The fundamental difference appears from an invective that a Cavalier poet, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, wrote against the "male" and "strong line" Metaphysicals:
    The reason why men run into such obscure conceits, is because they think their wit will be esteemed, and seem more when it lies in an odde and unusual way, which makes their verse not like a smooth running stream; but as if they were shelves of sand, or rocks in the way, and though the water in those places goeth with more force, and makes a greater sound: yet it goeth hard and uneasy. As if to expresse a thing hard, were to make it better. 80 

John Donne, the figure-head of the Metaphysical school, and Ben Jonson, the head of the Cavalier school ("the tribe of Ben"), were irreconcilable enemies. The Baroque reaction, however, became the dominant tradition and very much the fashion of the day. Its roughness, novelty, and juxtaposition of extremes mirrored the disorientation of the age much better than the countercurrent Neoclassical reaction with its smoothness, elegance, naturalness, and backward orientation. This also explains the fact that more Cavalier poets occasionally wrote Metaphysical poems than vice versa. Yet in the course of time, Cavalier Neoclassicism was destined to prevail and supersede the Metaphysical Baroque everywhere in Europe: first in France (with Malherbe), then in England (with Dryden), and last but not least in Germany (with Gottsched).

The distinctive Metaphysical originality can be well demonstrated from the Metaphysicals' radical break with the traditional Renaissance sonnet. There was the compulsory form of 14 lines, with its high stylization of nature and the cosmos and the beloved donna angelicata as well as a fixed characterization of the beloved lady and an equally fixed allocation of roles with stereotyped comparisons. And there was the tragic "star-crossed lover", who could not reach his heavenly and pure beloved lady in this life, and from whom she withdrew even further in death. There were his sweet sighs and his eyes, from which the tears shed as from a fountain at the sight of his unattainable donna angelicata, with her sun-like eyes, her lips as red as corals, her snow-white skin, her breath sweet as the smell of roses, her golden hair and her walk angelic and light under the fateful power of the stars and among the sweet songs of murmuring meadow flowers. After two hundred years such a litany of Petrarchan conventions would necessarily have to lead to a revolution 81  which took place first in the form, later in the content (inventio) and finally, in the Baroque period, even in the diction (elocutio) of Baroque poetry. 

A similar development had already taken place in the history of painting. Since about 1520, the pre-Baroque Mannerists had begun to break the canonical forms of Renaissance painting (Raphael, Leonardo) by defocussation, decentralization, and winding lines (serpentinata) anticipating Bernini. Then, immediately in their wake, the high Baroque painters broke the content of Renaissance painting by sensualizing, eroticizing, and aggrandizing biblical history, as well as by dismissing the Renaissance ideals of proportion and beauty. Eccentricity, even deformity, became a hallmark of Baroque art, as in many of the court portraits of the Spanish painter Velazquez. 

The history of music sticks out insofar as this stylistic modification of the principle of harmony by distortion, dissonance, eccentricity, and enormity occurred somewhat later, around 1600, 82  with the breaking up of traditional polyphonic composition, and lasted somewhat longer, until around 1750Pure polyphony began to be hybridized by monophony, further enriched with an increasing wealth of extremes and dissonances. The early period of Baroque music has been aptly characterized as aiming at typically Baroque originality, exploring "new resources such as chromaticism, dissonance, tonality, monody, recitative, and new vocal and instrumental combinations." 83  The introduction of the thoroughbase or basso continuo initiated a stile moderno (as distinct from the traditional polyphonic stile antico) which remained the fashion until the middle of the eighteenth century: the epoch of Baroque music. 84  This chiaroscuro-like thorough bass was often performed by ever new gigantic bass instruments which produced ever lower and darker sounds, throwing into relief tortuous lines of chromatically arranged tones high above: the contrabassoon, the great bass recorder, the bass flute, the bass dulcian, and the large bass viol. 85  By contrast, and analogous to the literary conceit, the instruments playing the upper lines grew more and more elevated in pitch: the Baroque flute or recorder, the (valveless) Baroque trumpet, the favourite oboe or hautboy expressing love (oboe d'amore), the frequently introduced "sharp violins" expressing "jealous pangs and desperation, fury, frantic indignation, depths of pains and heights of passion". 86  Thus, compositional artificiality (including quaintly handled counterpoints and compositiones figuratae such as notes arranged to form a cross or other subject of the piece) 87  coexisted with intense passions as analysed and described in philosophical, literary and musical Affektenlehren88  The widening of extremes was reflected in the concerto grosso as a favourite genre of Baroque music, with a small concertino (mostly of violins) playing against an overwhelming orchestral grosso. And it also manifested itself in the popularity of the castrato with his artificial voice ("falsetto"), whose growth-hampered larynx and unbroken voice produced a vocal range that no natural voice was capable of (up to three and a half octaves). His artificial voice, again, was matched by the castrato's monstrous size and androgynic appearance, which later exposed him to the ridicule of the 'nature'-oriented Neoclassical critics. Moreover, artificiality was the hallmark of many musical genres of the Baroque, such as the opera and the fugue, which later incurred similar satirical blame, as in Alexander Pope's second Dunciad (1742). There, the Harlot Opera with her false tinsel thus addresses the Empress Dulness "in quaint Recitativo":

    "O Cara! Cara! silence all that train:
    Joy to great Chaos! let Division reign:
    Chromatic tortures soon shall drive them hence,
    Break all their nerves, and fritter all their sense:
    One Trill shall harmonize joy, grief, and rage,
    Wake the dull Church, and lull the ranting Stage;
    [...]" 89 
In the history of poetry, however, these compository eruptions are to be observed as early as in the history of painting. In 1530, Sir Thomas Wyatt still imitated Petrarchan sonnets rather closely in his English adaptations. His successor, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was already varying the Petrarchan rhyme patterns by choosing alternating rhymes and a final couplet, a form which was later even adopted by Shakespeare. And in 1582, Thomas Watson published Hecathompathia, a fairly conventional cycle of one hundred sonnets, though revolutionary in its 18-line form. About this time, however, in Astrophil and Stella, Sir Philip Sidney was already beginning to play with the conventional inventio of Petrarchism. He did so by making the failure to imitate Petrarch and Ronsard the precondition of a slowly developing and very erotic passion. 
Ten years later his successor Edmund Spenser broke the conventional inventio in his Amoretti, allowing the courtship to be crowned by success and marriage. Finally, in the 1590s, Shakespeare left all conventions behind, replacing the beautiful donna angelicata by a promiscuous bisexual youth and an ugly dark prostitute and complicating this confusion of emotions by introducing a fourth character, the Mannerist Rival Poet, who alternately sleeps with both the youth and the Dark Lady. But Shakespeare -- as well as Surrey and Watson and Sidney and Spenser -- largely remained loyal to the Renaissance conventions of poetic diction, even if he criticized empty elocutionary pathos in his Rival Poet. 
It was left to the revolutionary and Baroque poet John Donne and his School to completely break apart the monolithic Petrarchan canon of form, content, and diction. 90  Donne's originally invented conceits, which may be explained as modelled on the tortuous pictorial illustrations of the contemporary emblem books, exploded traditional Petrarchan diction as effectively as his well-nigh ugly plain style and his originally invented metrical forms, which he freely chose to underline his very un-Petrarchan contents. Thus, the close relationship between the emblem and the conceit needs some further investigation in order to understand the Metaphysical revolt against Renaissance Petrarchism's ideals of proportion and beauty. 91 
As a contemporary of Shakespeare, Donne also wrote his Songs and Sonnets for circulation in manuscript. Donne, born and brought up a Catholic, converted to Protestantism about 1596 and became an Anglican High Church divine. He was well acquainted with the Baroque conceits of the Jesuits modelled on Ignatian examples, as they were used in the underground activities of the Counter-Reformation in England in the 1590s, which took place despite the threat of most severe punishments. The prose meditations and poems of the English Jesuit and early Baroque author Robert Southwell circulated in manuscript and will probably have been known to John Donne, as was Southwell's spectacular and most cruel fate: Southwell was executed in London in 1595, after three years of imprisonment and torture in the Tower. 92  In any case, John Donne was familiar with the "emblems" or "hieroglyphics" of the Alciati tradition, which had its roots in a misunderstanding of the Egyptian hieroglyphs as pictorial moral ideograms. It was a fertile misunderstanding in the history of art, which explains the synonymity of "emblem" and "hieroglyph" in the Baroque period 93 , and which is still apparent in the original misnomer 'hieroglyph'. The Tridentine justification of the theological usefulness and acceptability of the 'sensational' picture, in contrast to Calvin's view, eventually led to the emblem gaining a similar Counter-Reformatory significance. The emblem acted as a mediator between the abstract contents of faith and the human senses, just as the Baroque painting or sculpture did for the concrete contents of faith. Modelled on the Exercitia of Ignatius, it was made to stimulate all the senses. Even the conscious deception of the senses, for example in the Baroque illusionist paintings on walls and ceilings ad majorem Dei gloriam, was accepted in line with the Jesuit principle of 'dulce et utile'.
Thus the 'sensational' visual art of the Baroque did not refrain from presenting abstract items of faith, such as divine grace, divine love and forgiveness, theological and secular sins and virtues through bold pictorial analogues, even if vehicle and tenor lay very far apart without any natural connection, thus acting against all laws of philosophical logic. As obvious clichés were only rarely available, the most important characteristic of an emblem book author in the Alciati tradition was the Baroque sense of 'wit', i.e. the capacity to produce original, artificial and remote pictorial analogies making use of the proverbial Jesuit sophistry and inventiveness. In the eikon of the emblem, he visualized divine grace via the image of a magnet for an iron heart or via the image of a besieger in front of a besieged fortress shaped like a heart. And in the poema of the emblem, he elaborated his lemma to explain the illustrations, thus creating literary conceits.

Baroque poems can often be read as the poemata of emblem books, as for example, John Donne's Holy Sonnet 'Thou hast made me':

    Thy Grace may wing me to prevent his art,
    And thou like Adamant draw mine iron heart. 94 

Thus, the emblem art of the Counter-Reformation turned out to be a highly appropriate instrument to break up clichés by means of witty conceits, including the clichés of a declining literary Petrarchism. The Council of Trent legitimized the practice used in Baroque poetry which, following the biblical Song of Solomonpresented divine love through physical erotic love, and thus made it the object of desire. Presented thus in numberless emblem books dedicated to amor, it easily allowed the rendering of spiritual into secular rhetoric. Instead of applying the stereotyped, obvious and logical comparison of love with fire, John Donne used the tortuously conceited, original, witty, artificial and by no means logical comparison of love with a flea, which is far from obvious and stands in need of a 'Jesuitical' explicatio rabulata.

The emblem book as a source of English Baroque rhetoric was to be found all over the British Isles and was generally accessible. 95  It is true that emblem books were originally meant as a weapon of the Counter-Reformation and that the art of printing in England was notoriously backward, so that until the Restoration a relatively small number of English emblem books (compared with the immense flood of Continental emblem books) had been printed. 96  But, firstly, the pressure exerted by the Counter-Reformatory 'sensational' paintings and sculpture was so great that the Protestants had to move away from stern Calvinistic doctrine and avail themselves of the fine arts by adjusting them to their Protestant cause: their churches grew more and more ornamented, they filled their emblem books with pointedly Protestant contents. Secondly, Catholic as well as Protestant emblem books from the Continent circulated freely in England, and English emblem book authors often received their printing plates directly from the Catholic capital of printing, Antwerp, or the Protestant capital of printing, Leyden, and then supplied them with new English lemmata and poemata. English Protestantism even assimilated the Ignatian meditation, also filling it with Protestant contents. The poems of the Protestant Nonconformist or 'Puritan' Metaphysicals, Andrew Marvell and the early John Milton of the hymn 'On the Morning of Christ's Nativity' (MS 1629), convey the Calvinist view of nature's corruption with all the pictorial splendour of Baroque emblem books and Baroque paintings. The first step of meditation, the visual imagination of the details of salvation and faith, remained invariably the same: compositio locicomposición del lugarseeing the spot. This explains the preference for the tripartite structure of meditation also present in Protestant English Baroque poetry. 

The emblem-generated conceit with its distinctively 'sensational' quality contributed to the distortion of elegant, well-proportioned, though time-worn Renaissance comparisons. It is frequently linked to the closely related paradox, as both rhetorical figures reflect the time's need to live with two logically opposed and irreconcilable world pictures. John Donne called that church the most faithful bride which opened her lap to everyone; 97  and Richard Crashaw identified that woman as the most celestial whose sins and repentance had bowed her down to earth most lowly. 98  Crashaw's 'Saint Mary Magdalene, or, The Weeper' shows how Petrarchan clichés were cited in order to immediately and extensively disrupt them with adynata, antitheses, paradoxes, and to endow them with a sensational and tangible eroticism which replaced the barrenness of the frustrated Petrarchan lover's vain complaints. The sexuality of Christ is marked as clearly as in Baroque emblems, where Christ is often syncretistically presented as a naked Amor-Christ, the son of Venus-Maria, or in Baroque paintings, where Christ is often shown as an ecstatic lover (even on the cross). 99  Streams of bloody sweat pour from the ecstatic face, and streams of blood pour from the vaginal wounds, and believers or saints approach these wounds to suck in the blood or probe them with their fingers100  Crashaw's poem, as stated above, starts on the conventional comparison of the repentant sinner's eyes with fountains or orbs and tears with springs or stars, only to eroticize them and to vary them into ever-changing and ever contradictory new images. These are accumulated with an enormously dynamic vitality, creating ever new sensations of surprise. The reader of the poem feels his thoughts whirled around, much as the spectator of the wall paintings of a Baroque church cupola feels his eyes restlessly wandering into heaped-up vistas of splendid and erotic images. The poem's sensational and theatrical composición del lugar quality in its insistence on balmy sweetness and rich perfumes is obvious. Mary Magdalene's tears are no longer mere symptoms of self-humiliation or complaint for the loss of virginity. Paradoxically, they combine virginity and procreation, repentance and enjoyment, lowliness and richness, self-humiliation and self-exaltation, in a markedly erotic diction combined with alchemistic vocabulary suggesting ever new potencies. 

Such heaped combinations of antitheses (contentiones) and paradoxes (synoecioses), as defined above, dominate even the shortest Metaphysical poems, everywhere shoring up a neo-mystical and holistic creed against threatening ruin and doubt, shouting "credo quia absurdum" so much the louder in their attempt at bridging the enormity of the gap. This neo-mysticism explains the frequency with which smallness and infinity as well as time and eternity are either juxtaposed or paradoxically joined under one aspect, cutting across the neat Thomistic categories of tempusaevumaeternitas101 The first stanza of the final chorus of Crashaw's Nativity Hymn, a typically Baroque poem written in the theatrical style of a Caroline court-masque, may serve to illustrate this:

    Wellcome, all WONDERS in one sight!
           Aeternity shutt in a span.
    Sommer in Winter. Day in Night.
           Heauen in earth, & GOD in MAN.
    Great little one! whose all-embracing birth
    Lifts earth to heauen, stoopes heau'n to earth. 102
The disproportion and enormity of such cumulated antitheses and paradoxes, disrupting all Renaissance ideals of beauty, not only mirror the tension of men confronted with irreconcilable world pictures, theologies, philosophies, and historiographies. They also attest to a sense of living in a world totally out of joint and fragmented, descended into chaos 103 , standing in need of salvation and in need of a re-orientation on all three corresponding levels of the once ordered cosmos: macrocosm, microcosm, state, as described above. On the state level, especially at court, men observed an increase in political Machiavellianism. In England, Machiavellianism was (mis)understood as a disruptive ethical philosophy, disconnecting ethics from fixed natural norms and linking it to political utility, thus providing a justification for intrigue and murder. The Machiavellian stage-villain, multiplied in Jacobean and Caroline drama, was a reckless devil incarnate and solipsistic individualist divorced from all religious and social ties, "Ego mihimet sum semper proximus". 104  

The most famous literary manifestation of this widespread feeling that political, social, and moral coherence was crumbling together with the chaos in macrocosm and microcosm is John Donne's First Anniversary (1611) - a very theatrical poem full of conceits and breaches of logic, using as its central conceit the anatomy of the corpse of the old world after its slow and weary decease:

    And new Philosophy calls all in doubt,
    The Element of fire is quite put out;
    The Sun is lost, and th'earth, and no mans wit
    Can well direct him where to looke for it.
    And freely men confesse that this world's spent,
    When in the Planets, and the Firmament
    They seeke so many new; they see that this
    Is crumbled out againe to his Atomies.
    'Tis all in peeces, all cohaerence gone;
    All just supply, and all Relation:
    Prince, Subject, Father, Sonne, are things forgot,
    For every man alone thinkes he hath got
    To be a Phoenix, and that then can bee
    None of that kinde, of which he is, but hee. 105 

Ten years earlier, Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida (1601-2) had shown the exemplum horrendum of a culture in decline, its ruin caused by the relativization of "degree, priority, and place" as well as "moral philosophy" and the "law of nature".  106  Shakespeare had his Ulysses deliver his famous "degree speech" drawing a similarly dark portrait of the horrible and universal chaos caused by the loss of the old geocentric order:

    O, when degree is shaked,
    Which is the ladder to all high designs,
    The enterprise is sick! How could communities,
    Degrees in schools and brotherhoods in cities,
    Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,
    The primogenitive and due of birth,
    Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,
    But by degree, stand in authentic place?
    Take but degree away, untune that string,
    And, hark, what discord follows!  107 

The ominous signs of a world descending into chaos are depicted in many contemporary sources describing similar details. With its enumeration of the symptoms of decadence, John Donne's swan song anticipated the apocalyptic mood of the Fin de Siècle poets, who, in their turn, rediscovered English Baroque poetry as congenial: the assumption of eccentric as well as centric spheres (already made by the Ptolemaic astronomers), of man growing smaller and smaller as well as more prone to disaster, of seasons increasingly out of tune while at the same time losing all attributes of beauty, proportion and colour, of new epidemics (such as syphilis and influenza), of masses of vermin, of numerous fateful meteors, of the loss of the noble art of divination due to the broken "correspondence" between heaven and earth:

    For heaven gives little, and the earth takes lesse,
    And man least knowes their trade and purposes.  108 

Between those two corresponding levels - macrocosm and microcosm - there existed a third level of correspondence: the state as 'bodie politick'. But even the state, where order manifested itself in peace within and without, seemed, at that time, to be falling prey to the chaos of war. In England no end to the wars with Spain and France was in sight, and the ever increasing religious and political polarization clearly pointed to the inevitability of the imminent Civil War; on the Continent the Thirty Years' War broke out and devastated Germany with the same vehemence as the Civil War did in England. 

Thus, the individual Baroque artist felt increasingly disconnected from all three (formerly corresponding) levels which had once been believed to be firmly connected and based on a divinely pre-established world order. This sense of disconnectedness produced various reactions, attempts at bridging the gap on the one hand, and resignation on the other hand. On the one hand, as shown above, devices of contrariety joined in art what could no longer be joined in theology: the poet's conceit and paradox as well as the painter's chiaroscuro and the musical composer's counterpoint. In this context we should understand the idea of the work of art as an atoning sacrifice to reconcile estranged mankind to God, - an idea later revived in Romantic poetology (and another respect in which Baroque poetry anticipated Romantic poetry). The idea is most prominently expressed in George Herbert's The Temple, even in the collection's introductory poem,

    A verse may finde him, who a sermon flies,
    And turn delight into a sacrifice. 109 

and then, memorably in his pattern poem 'The Altar', where the "broken ALTAR" of the poet's heart and pen is offered as a sacrificial act of at-one-ment and soteriological reintegration:

    O let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,
    And sanctifie this ALTAR to be thine. 110 

The self-confessing speaker's private mode shows how, on the other hand, the Baroque artist resignedly withdrew into his own privacy: together with his mistress into the intimacy of his love chamber, with his God into the isolation of his praying-room, with his own thoughts into the isolation of a garden or a library. So, in the one extreme, Baroque horticulture brought forth secluded retiros. In their high-walled and small enclosures man found a visual (and psychological) safeguard against the immensity and the chaos without, a centre regained. 111  In the opposite extreme, the overwhelming and centralized palace gardens of the Baroque princes mirrored the 'new theology', which implicitly taught that immensity, immeasurability, unrepresentability, and apparent chaos were the image of the immensity of God, who had created that seemingly disorderly universe. In this theology, loss of measure became the new measure itself. This provocative creed is also contained in Crashaw's 'The Weeper'. Mary Magdalene, the "pretious Prodigall" ever sweating balmy tears at the approach of Christ her bridegroom whom she ever follows, is exuberant, excessive, luxuriant, and wanton in her overproductive physical secretion 112 , just as the poet is excessive in his cumulation of shockingly sensational images. Excess implicitly appears no longer to be an ingredient of sin, but of the virtue of imitatio Dei. The Baroque princes' excessive gardens as well as excessive erotic lives must be seen in this context of the history of ideas, the more so as love and the garden (as love's classic location) had been closely associated from both classical antiquity and the Old Testament Song of Solomon to the Baroque emblem books. 113 

Baroque poetry was characterized by an attitude of a totally unascetic, un-Pauline, Epicurean contemptus mundi, which called into question both the traditional concept of the world and of man as well as the traditional ethical and artistic restrictions of the Renaissance. This was especially true in the context of Ficino's neo-Platonic love ethic. John Donne, the love poet, drove the world and its social norms out of his love chamber by using coarse, unpoetic, and sneering language, thus breaking all ethical and stylistic decorum. In 'The Canonization' he went so far as to paradoxically praise himself and his mistress as saints, not because of any kind of chaste subordination of their bodies to a sovereign mind, but because of the consuming quality of their unrestrained and erotically potent sensuality. The second stanza of the poem is particularly revealing as to the connection between revolutionary and anti-Petrarchan love and rhetoric on the one hand, and the Baroque contemptus mundi on the other:

    Alas, alas, who's injur'd by my love?
    What merchants ships have my sighs drown'd?
    Who saies my teares have overflow'd his ground?
    When did my colds a forward spring remove?
    When did the heats which my veines fill
    Adde one more to the plagui Bill?
    Soldiers finde warres, and Lawyers finde out still
    Litigious men, which quarrels move,
    Though she and I do love. 114 

The Petrarchan clichés (such as sighs like sea storms, tears like spring-tides, spells of cold like winter storms in spring, spells of heat like epidemics) are not only chosen to mock traditions no longer held to be acceptable. They also depict a chaotic world, war and destruction of countless people, to which the witty Baroque poet contrasted the better alternative of voluntary self-consummation in excessive love. Thus, the poet, freed from traditional social and ethical restrictions, simultaneously demonstrated his release from traditional restrictions of style. 

The same is true for John Donne's religious poetry. In the III. Satire, for example, he broke all conventions of the Anglican Church, dispensed man from both the teachings of the great churchmen and the orders of his King, binding him solely to his own conscience as moulded by the Law of God alone. Wherever Donne emphasized that secular laws and teachings could only be of limited validity, he emphasized the breach of tradition by an extensive use of paradoxes:

    That thou mayest rightly obey power, her bounds know;
    Those past, her nature, and name is chang'd; to be
    Then humble to her is idolatrie. 115 

Just as the Baroque poet called on the king, the nobility, the clergy and the traditional guardians of morality not to interfere by scolding breaches of decorum, he also kept his readers, audience and critics at respectful distance. He displayed all his learning in esoteric thought and language, refusing any direct understanding of his poetry. 116  The most extreme example of this is, no doubt, Baroque pulpit oratory with its extensive and complex trains of thought; additionally laden with patristic and rabbinic knowledge, and often also with quotations in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syrian and Arabic. 117  Baroque poetry, too, shows such strategies of distance and isolation in its private mode: among these were the strong lines with their obscurity as well as their overriding principle not to conceal art: "ars est praesentare artem." 

In historical perspective, the contemptus mundi increased in the same measure as the new Copernican concept of the world gained ground and wars devastated both England and Germany, and man withdrew into his privacy as described above. 118  Both the lives and the works of the older Baroque poets such as John Donne and George Herbert were torn between the extreme poles of a splendid public career and a private withdrawal. Their poems dramatize the defence of their escapist private mode against the ever present temptations of a chaotic world. 119  

Through his clandestine marriage with Ann More in 1601, against all rules of civil and canonical law, John Donne forfeited his chance of a public career, thus thwarting all his previous efforts: "John Donne, Anne Donne, Vn-done". 120  Later, Donne was deeply disappointed when the King whom he had scolded and rebuked only made him Dean of St. Paul's instead of Archbishop of Canterbury. The bridge between heavenly spirituality and worldly sensuality was never broken down entirely, either in Donne's life or in Donne's poetry, where erotic and spiritual love were so dramatically juxtaposed that it is often difficult to distinguish between his love poems and his divine poems. 'The Canonization' may be regarded as the best example of that double tension. 

Donne's pupil George Herbert, younger brother of the prominent Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury, born in 1593 and 17 years Donne's junior, found it less difficult to give up his highly prestigious office as public orator at the University of Cambridge. In ostentatious modesty, he became rector of the humble country parish of Bemerton, located within walking distance between Salisbury, the proud cathedral town, and Wilton House, the gorgeous palace of his family, the Herberts, Earls of Pembroke. His Temple poems -- published in the year of his death by his literary executor Nicholas Ferrar, who also chose to live in rural isolation -- reduce the tension between erotic and spiritual love by submerging Donne's erotic imagery, and are much more easily classified as divine poetry. Yet they retain, albeit in reduced form, the dramatic tension between the desire for privacy and the temptations of the world, as for example in 'The Quip':

    The merrie world did on a day
    With his train-bands and mates agree
    To meet together, where I lay,
    And all in sport to geere at me. 121 

Richard Crashaw, born in 1613 and trained on Giambattista Marino, was even more willing to dispense with an academic career at Cambridge within the Anglican Church hierarchy. Crashaw, a former High Churchman, turned to the Spanish mystics, converted to Catholicism and died in 1649, holding a minor church office in Loretto. His hymn 'The Weeper' ends with two stanzas spoken by Mary Magdalene's personified tears, in which the migrating tears affirm their scorn at pursuing such "inferior gemmes" as are placed on such "toyes" as crowns or coronets, vain and evanescent things even below drops of morning dew hovering upon flowers. They would much rather

                  [...] goe to meet
    A worthy object, our lord's FEET. 122 
The treasures of the world, however, are still present and not yet quite removed from the poem's scope. They survive in its intense sexual imagery, visualizing Mary Magdalene as a typically Baroque woman embracing the extremes of sensuality and spirituality, much as does the Mary Magdalene of the Baroque paintings by Georges de la Tour and El Greco. The strong Ignatian component in Crashaw's Italianate Baroque, amor eroticus as a significant of amor divinus, would not allow a pure saint's total withdrawal and spiritualization. Thus, Crashaw's divine poems lack Donne's dramatic defence of the private mode while retaining (or even intensifying) his dramatic tension between amor divinus and amor eroticus.

Andrew Marvell (born in 1621) and Thomas Traherne (born as late as 1637) were contrary characters in their public aspirations. Marvell was Latin Secretary to the Council of State (as successor to John Milton) before and anti-Cavalier controversialist after the Restoration; whereas Traherne, by contrast, was content to lead a single and devout life as rector of Credenhill in his native Herefordshire. What both had in common though was that, when they died (Marvell in 1678 and Traherne in 1674), they left their private mode Metaphysical lyrics unpublished. Marvell's lyrics were found by his housekeeper and published in 1681 (Miscellaneous Poems), and Traherne's were not found until 1896 and published in 1903 (Poetical Works). The private mode of their Metaphysical lyrics is quite unthreatened by worldly aspirations. In one of Marvell's much-anthologized meditational poems, a drop of dew, symbolizing the soul, has dropped into a bed of roses; yet it weeps with its own tear at the loss of heaven, despising the beauty and fragrance of the earthly roses,

    ´So the World excluding round,
    Yet receiving in the Day. 123 
The speaker of Marvell's 'The Garden' drives the private mode to its very extreme, so as to make a tragi-comical fool of himself. Thus, the poem provides a satire on the exuberances of the Roman Catholic (as opposed to Marvell's and the early Milton's more restricted Protestant) Baroque. 124  As such, the speaker of 'The Garden' voices the opposite extreme to the ascetic speaker of 'A Mower against Gardens', neither of which extremes Marvell would have adopted. Marvell's speaker is a sensualist, hedonist, sybarite, whose love of solitude appears as a mere temporary recovery from amorous excesses, to which his fancy recurs again and again. Quite apart from the fact that he grossly misunderstands the mythical tales of Apollo attempting to rape Daphne and Pan attempting to rape Syrinx, his desire "To live in Paradise alone" 125  as a prelapsarian Adam before the creation of Eve stands in blatant contradiction to his erotic fancy, giving the lie to this extreme of the private mode. His equation of his garden with Paradise evokes associations of Original Sin and the Fall of Man, which he seems to blot out. And his spiritual ecstasy, with a free soul "Annihilating all that's made To a green thought in a green shade", is proved a short-lived illusion by his observations in the poem's final (seventh) stanza: the seasonal flowers, the sundial, the short-lived bees computing "thyme" or "time", suggest the narrow limits of his corporeal existence: memento mori. And even then, the obvious pun on "hours" and "whores" 126  proves him an unregenerate extreme sensualist. Thus read, the poem is a Protestant Baroque plea for a private mode which provides no Donnean excuse for worldly amorousness. 

In Traherne's highly visionary Poems of Felicity127  such as 'Eden' and 'Innocence', worldly seductions are no longer perceived, any more than worldly pains. Traherne was a Cambridge Platonist, a fact which helps explain his anti-Calvinism and flat denial of a fallen and corrupt earth:

    A learned and a Happy Ignorance
                  Divided me,
           From all the Vanitie,
    From all the Sloth Care Pain and Sorrow that advance,
           The madness and the Miserie
    Of Men. No Error, no Distraction I
    Saw soil the earth, or overcloud the Skie. 128 

Traherne's 'proto-Romantic' yearning for infancy and a child's anamnetic view of the world as a reflection and part of heaven uneclipsed by clouds of Calvinistic denigration goes well beyond Crashaw's mysticism. In his lyrics, this spiritual view of the world transcends and rules out Vaughan's contemptus mundi as to the merry world and its enticements. Traherne's parallel 'proto-Romantic' denial of anything profane in the world, anticipating Blake, finds a brilliant expression in his poem 'On Leaping over the Moon'. The poet's vision melts with that of his little brother skipping over a pool of water, and the reflection of this everyday scene in the water interfuses it with the skies, so that the brother seems easily and without any danger to overleap the moon. In the instructive light of this nightly vision, the scene is no longer banal. The same "Place of Bliss" appears "under our Feet" and "o'er our Heads": 129 

    On hev'nly Ground within the Skies we walk,
           And in this middle Center talk:
                  Did we but wisely mov,
                  On Earth in Hev'n abov,
                         We then should be
                         Exalted high
    Abov the Sky: from whence whoever falls,
           Through a long dismal Precipice,
    Sinks to the deep Abyss where Satan crawls
           here horrid Death and Despair lies. 130 
In this mystical vision, man is again placed into a centre, between an easily reached heaven above and an impotent hell below. Traherne's poem shows men on the lookout for a new anthropocentric orientation, replacing the lost geocentric world picture. However, in the 200 years of reordering which elapsed between Copernicus's De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (1543) and Pope's Essay on Man(1733-34), 131  Traherne's solution of the problem is a very private and unteachable one. Small wonder that Traherne, who never addresses any reader except his brother as his alter ego, saw no point in a literary reputation, remained content with his small parish in his native Herefordshire, where he died, and left his manuscripts unpublished. This demonstrative disdain for literary reputation was only surpassed by the American Metaphysical poet Edward Taylor (1644-1729) in his small frontier village of Westfield in Massachusetts, who in his will even forbade the publication of his manuscripts. Like Traherne's, Taylor's manuscripts were not discovered and published until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries respectively.

Finally, Henry Vaughan, born in the same year as Andrew Marvell, showed no hesitation at all about giving up worldly careers with his conversion after 1648, and about remaining in the seclusion of his home county of Breconshire (Wales). His secular love poems belong to the period before his conversion: Poems (1646) and Olor Iscanus (MSS ca 1647). Quite unlike Donne, Vaughan felt ashamed of their erotic worldliness, and even more ashamed when his friends injudiciously published Olor Iscanus in 1651. His religious poems such as 'The World', 'The Retreat', or 'Corruption' -- all published in 1650 as part of the collection with the paradoxical title Silex Scintillans -- show him to be a nostalgic primitivist in the sense of Neo-Platonism, totally removed from this dark, chaotic world with its aspirations in love and war, and an esoteric admirer of the Hermetic philosophy: 132  Man, no longer the crown of creation on a still earth in the centre of the universe but hurled somewhere around the sun, seeks rest in a world-contemning ecstasy of the mind, carrying him above all physical things even more than the speaker of Marvell's 'The Garden' with his imagined escape to a "green thought in a green shade":

    I saw Eternity the other night
    Like a great Ring of pure and endless light,
    All calm, as it was bright,
    And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years
    Driv'n by the spheres
    Like a vast shadow mov'd. In which the world
    And all her train were hurl'd. 133 

And thus, mystically uplifted into the light of the Empyrean, Vaughan's enraptured speaker looks pitifully down on this dark, chaotic world and its hurled-about votaries, who live in lightless caves: the lover and the statesman, the miser and the Epicurean. They are so far removed from the ecstatic speaker's scope that they cannot tempt him any more. Parallel to the decline of the Elizabethan drama and the Ptolemaic universe, Metaphysical poetry was increasingly deprived of its original dramatic tension. 134  The struggle between the temptations of privacy and those of the world upon the 'stage of life', the tension between erotic and divine love, and the conflicting rhetorical figures of disparity, which had been part of its Baroque theatricality, are irretrievably lost:

    O fools (said I,) thus to prefer dark night
    Before true light,
    To live in grots, and caves, and hate the day
    Because it shews the way,
    The way which from this dead and dark abode
    Leads up to God,
    A way where you might tread the Sun, and be
    More bright than he. 135 

The difference between the earlier and the late Metaphysical poets is mirrored in Metaphysical pulpit oratory, if we compare the sermons of Lancelot Andrewes and John Donne on the one hand with those of Jeremy Taylor on the other hand. Taylor, chaplain to King Charles I (as Andrewes had been chaplain to King James I), and Charles's spiritual aide on the scaffold, preached sermons that accumulated and intertwined Metaphysical conceits in disdain of all worldly aspirations:

    LEARN to despise the world; [...] for it is a cousenage all the way; the head of it is a rainbow, and the face of it is flattery; [...] its body is as a shadow, and its hands do knit spider's webs; it is an image and a noise, with a Hyaena's lip and a Serpents tail [...]  136 

In the history of Metaphysical poetry, this loss of dramatic tension and theatricality becomes manifest in a comparison of the late Mary Magdalene hymns or Christmas hymns of Henry Vaughan with the early ones written by Robert Southwell and Richard Crashaw. The "Dear, beauteous Saint" 137  of Vaughan's Silex Scintillans has cast away all of Mary Magdalene's traditional pictorial attributes: her mirror, her carefully combed hair, and her vessel of nard which simultaneously denoted the anointing of Christ's feet and the pernicious box of Pandora. Here, the saint's weeping eyes are no longer "sins loose and tempting spies", but fixed stars despising all earthly contact, except for their remote exhortation of "dark straglers" (moral and political sinners lost in the darkness of error). 138  Similarly, Vaughan's hymn on 'Christ's Nativity' presents an unworldly child in a clean manger, and one of the poem's few remaining conceits (the comparison of the manger with a human heart) opens up an estranging gap in time and space between man and God, a gap which God alone can bridge from far beyond human reach:

    I would I had in my best part
    Fit Roomes for thee! or that my heart
           Were so clean as
           Thy manger was!
    But I am all filth, and obscene,
    Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean. 139 
Robert Southwell's and the young Milton's Christmas hymns, by contrast, describe very personal encounters with a "silly, tender Babe [...] In homely manger trembling" 140 , a tangible God "All meanly wrapt in a rude manger". 141  Pre-Baroque and Baroque paintings of the Nativityas by CorreggioBarocciand Caravaggio, mark the extreme poverty and everyday homeliness of the world's most exceptional moment of divine epiphany. The mightiest prince of the whole world appears in the homeliest hut, the greatest weakness is the greatest strength, and the child's sweet birth is envisaged so as to foreshadow the man's bitter passion. The swaddling-cloth is both at once: royal cloak and dead body's shroud. If such paradoxical and highly dramatic bridging of extremes may be regarded as a characteristic of Baroque art, then Vaughan's comfortable adoption of the spiritual and undramatic renunciation of the sensual extreme, both in his life and his poetry, indicates the end of the Baroque epoch.

Conversely, the late Metaphysical disintegration of Baroque complexity and dramaticality could also manifest itself in the very opposite way, fusing with Cavalier poetry (and thus breaking up the Baroque private mode). Abraham Cowley discards all spirituality and mysticism from the love poetry of his collection The Mistress (1646), isolating an extremely carnal amor eroticus from its theological combination with amor divinus. The late or post-Baroque "dissociation of sensibility" (as identified by T.S. Eliot) resulted from God becoming more and more removed from man, an intellectually constructed rather than emotionally experienced deus absconditus. Thus, the dissociation of sensibility increasingly split a more and more beast-like sexuality from a more and more barren and sterile holiness. This is the disintegrative line of the development of erotic literature from Abraham Cowley via the Earl of Rochester and John Cleland to Victorian pornography and the demonic or merely de-spiritualized animal eroticism in the anti-religious poetry of Charles Baudelaire and Gottfried Benn. 142  Cowley's poetry links love to gold, dowries, and treasures, even where his Machiavellian speakers ironically disavow all prostitution, as in 'The Given Love':

    To give All will befit thee well;
    But not at Under-Rates to sell143 

This speaker's claim to uniqueness and privacy proves mere irony. A comparison of the poem with Donne's 'The Canonization' shows the almost parodistical destruction of the Baroque private mode. Whereas Donne's speaker excludes the genteel world and its accepted values in order to realize his unifying love with his one mistress, Cowley's speaker does so only in order to unmask both that world and himself as true dissimulating Machiavels, changing both amorous allegiances and political allegiances according to opportunity. The only thing that distinguishes him from the world is his honesty:

    I'll some such crooked ways invent,
    As you, or your Fore-fathers went:
    I'll flatter or oppose the King,
    Turn Puritan, or Any Thing144 
This should not, of course, mislead us to regard late Metaphysical poetry simply as a decadent form of Donne's poetry. 145  It stands in its own right, but it moved closer to Cavalier poetry and thus indicated its epoch's need for a less scholastic, less dramatically torn, but more rationalistic way of writing. It has been aptly shown that this development is also reflected in the development of the aesthetic philosophy of and in the style of Thomas Hobbes. 146  The apparent chaos in macrocosm, state, and microcosm had first led the intellectuals into a more or less extreme withdrawal, with the consequence of an upgrading of private and social mode poetry and a simultaneous devaluation of all public mode genres, notably the epic. The heyday of Metaphysical and Cavalier poetry saw an increasing decline both in the production of epic poetry and prose 147  and in the quality of drama. But, as the sense of chaos visibly increased with the Civil War in Britain (and the Thirty Years' War in Germany), there arose a new demand for a new public responsibility in literature.

After 1640 the public mode of poetry flourishing in the Renaissance again gained ground, 148 and with it the classical public mode genres, i. e. the verse epic and the drama (the latter being strictly prohibited though secretly cultivated throughout the Commonwealth). John Milton's early lyric poetry written between 1629 and 1638 (such as the Nativity Ode, the sonnet 'On Shakespeare', and Lycidas) had already shown symptoms of overstepping the private mode and reassuming a public praeceptor populi stance, so that Milton could later claim them as poetical exercises for his epic magnum opus (first his projected King Arthur, then Paradise Lost). By having recourse to the epic models of Spenser and the Spenserians, notably Giles Fletcher, Milton demonstratively reached back across the hiatus which the late Jacobean and the Caroline period had left with regard to the writing of epics. Moreover, as the public mode or epic revival advanced from 1640 to 1660, the lyric poetry of the Metaphysicals and Cavaliers with their private and social modes respectively lost ground, so that the order of genre precedence was reversed again: the verse epic grew first and lyric poetry last in respect. Thomas Hobbes's 'Answer to Davenant', published separately in Paris in 1650 and then prefixed to the London edition of William Davenant's public mode verse epic Gondibert (1651), rates the "Heroique Poem Dramatique" highest, and "Sonets, Epigrams, Eclogues, and the like peeces" lowest, as being "but Essayes and parts of an entire Poem". 149  At the end stood the triumph of Neoclassicism, 150  with Abraham Cowley's recantation of his earlier Metaphysical mode of writing, the 'Ode of Wit' (1656):

    In a true piece of Wit all things must be,
           Yet all things there agree.
    As in the Ark, joyn'd without force or strife,
    All Creatures dwelt; all Creatures that had Life.
           Or as the Primitive Forms of all
           (If we compare great things with small)
    Which without Discord or Confusion lie,
    In that strange Mirror of the Deitie151 

But, eventually, the decline of Metaphysical poetry was also inseparably linked to the decline of Cavalier poetry. Lyric poetry and the lyric ego's private or social mode, repudiated in High Neoclassicism from Dryden to Johnson, did not reappear until the lyrical revival of the Preromantic and Romantic Movement of the later eighteenth century. 152 


In default of formal artes poeticae and artes rhetoricae153  we have to reconstruct Metaphysical ideals and their rationale from various sources. 154  Among the richest sources are no doubt the numerous English and Latin elegies on the death of the famous poet and preacher John Donne in 1631. Some of these were incorporated in the posthumous editions of Donne's poems in 1633 and 1635. They unanimously emphasized the uniqueness of the preacher and the poet. Donne's biographer, Izaak Walton, equated "miraculous Donne" with a prophet, sent by God to his dull people. 155  Sir Lucius Cary and Richard Corbet called Donne a king, at whose death comets ought to have fallen from the sky. 156  Arthur Wilson praised Donne as a spirit of high-flying fantasy "in the aire of Wit", whose flights, though admired by many, only few could follow. 157  Henry Valentine compared Donne to the unique solitary phoenix, 'unica semper avis'. 158  Donne himself had used the same image in his First Anniversary when describing his contemporaries after their loss of 'all relation'. The best known is the elegy by Thomas Carew, who described Donne as the last of his age, gleaning a harvested tradition. 159  After him, poetical quality would be replaced by mere light-weight quantity. Although such demonstrative rhetoric of praise or blame (genus demonstrativum) makes use of literary commonplaces rather than historical facts, Carew's pitching of Donne's Baroque originality against Neoclassical imitation and obedience to rules shows one of the prime characteristics in the self-understanding of the Metaphysicals, in the context of the time-honoured querelle des anciens et des modernes. Carew's epitaph has become a literary quotation:

    Here lies a King, that rul'd as hee thought fit
    The universall Monarchy of wit. 160 

In terms of the history of ideas, the ideal of the Baroque poet was the counterpart of the ideal of the absolute prince. Thus, "the divine right of kings" 161  formed the counterpart to "the divine right of poets". In this respect, too, the Baroque poetry of the Metaphysicals reflected the intellectual climate of the age (of Stuart absolutism) much better than the Neoclassical poetry of the Cavaliers with its strict submission to Horatian rules. The Baroque refused to submit to poetic traditions and rules as laid down and reflected in Cicero or Horace, Scaliger or Puttenham. The Baroque prince refused to submit to ancient political traditions and rules as they could still be found in Erasmus or Elyot, for instance. While the medieval authoritative theorists of politics such as John of Salisbury, Bracton and others had placed the prince both above and under the law, rex supra et infra legem, rex legibus absolutus et legibus alligatus, the Baroque prince tended to neglect the latter parts of that dualistic approach. This new understanding of his absolute position had its roots not so much in Bodin or Hobbes, but in Machiavelli's 'absolving' the prince from hitherto firmly established and divinely ordained ethical norms. 162  
In politics, one of these traditional rules had demanded social interaction with the subjects, visits and audiences such as Elizabeth I had still cultivated. But, 'absolving' himself from that time-honoured rule, the Baroque prince, like the Baroque poet, tended to withdraw into his privacy. There may seem to exist a basic contradiction between the Baroque poet and his enclosed garden on the one hand, and the Baroque prince and his gigantic palace and garden on the other hand. But, quite apart from the fact that contradiction was the life and soul of Baroque culture, the contradiction is resolved in the poet's and prince's common pursuit of saving privacy, 'absoluteness', though by opposite means. The poet as the prince's subject kept the world at a distance on a smaller scale, parallel to his forbidding rhetoric; the prince did the same on a larger scale, with his forbidding architectural and horticultural pomp.
As to Baroque palace architecture, the contradiction between the plain 'Protestant' façades and the Baroque 'Roman Catholic' interiors has already been noted above. It symbolized the progressive estrangement between the early Stuart court and the people, the 'absolutism' which cost King Charles I his life. Later, in Restoration England, during the reign of his son Charles II (1660-85), the same phenomenon manifested itself again in another form, e.g. in Sir Christopher Wren's 'Protestant Baroque' church architecture, which combined Bernini's Baroque with Jones's Neoclassicism. Wren's original designs were too close to Bernini and the Roman Catholic Baroque, and the king's judicious policy demanded a compromise. Wren had to cut Bernini's vertically towering upward lines and arches into segments, interrupting them by strong horizontal lines expressing the curbs set on Stuart absolutism. A similar reduction in force and ornament can be observed in Wren's, Vanbrugh's and Hawksmoor'spalace architecture.

As for Baroque garden architecture, the contradiction appears in the heterogeneous combination of the garden's gigantic dimensions with the private bowers, nooks, and secretive mazes enclosed within its walls. A short characterization of the medieval garden will help us to understand the Baroque garden, not only by contrast, but because the typology of the medieval garden still shaped the numerous Metaphysical garden poems by Southwell, Donne, Herbert, Marvell, and Vaughan, as well as the numerous garden pictures of emblem books. The typical medieval garden is a "garden enclosed", entailing all the erotic and divine symbolism derived from the Old Testament Song of Solomon163  As such, the medieval garden had been understood as an image of paradise in the religious as well as erotic sense. The Greek word for the Hebrew Garden of Eden was 'enclosed', and associated Paradise with the Hebrew 'garden enclosed' of the Song of Solomon. As a consequence of this association, iconography presented both Paradise and its image in nuce, the medieval garden, as walled round-in, hedged enclosures. 164  The interior - fertile and cultivated - would represent an "idealized, controlled representation of nature" 165  and thus, of course, divine order. Outside the walls was the domain of barren chaos, out of which God had created this orderly world. The gardener of the medieval hortus conclusus was consequently an image of God, alter Deus, - and also of the medieval king, alter rex - , insofar as he cultivated and fertilized the garden (which would otherwise be as barren as the chaos without). He had to graft in order to bring about fertility (note the sexual imagery) and to cut and prune in order to prevent excrescences (note the judicial imagery). This 'garden of love' with its sexual and divine connotations designated both fruitfulness and harmony. The medieval garden was a peaceful fruit and vegetable garden for the cultivation of food and medical herbs, indicating that both God and his terrestrial representative, the king, were in charge of providing peace, nourishment, and healing for their people. Deus medicus and rex medicus were commonplace terms and icons. This iconology and symbolism survived in the emblems and poems of the Baroque period, although the gardens themselves had by then radically changed. The reader of Donne's 'Twickenham Garden', for instance, must have been acquainted with that tradition in order to understand the poem's speaker, a soul-sick man (like Shakespeare's Hamlet) possessed by the deadly sin of acedia. He visits God's garden of love and medicine only to persevere in his grief, because he refuses to see suffering as a precondition to regeneration or Good Friday as a precondition to Easter:

    And that this place may thoroughly be thought
    True Paradise, I have the serpent brought. 166 
After the Middle Ages, 167  in the Renaissance, that paradisiacal 'garden of love' metamorphosed from intimacy to grandeur, and from a fruit and vegetable garden to an ornamental garden. Thus, it lost part of its religious symbolism in the wake of the general process of secularization. It adjoined a palace, mansion, or monastery, though not yet as part of a grand design comprising buildings and gardens. The development then progressed to the Baroque garden, facing a royal, ducal, or episcopal palace and proportioned to the whole length of that palace's façade. Moreover, it enriched the traditional Renaissance parterre by introducing costly, large-scale, artificial terraces. In its gigantic size and design, this ensemble embodied the Absolutist's prince's centralistic concentration of power. Spectacular and theatrical, with large and fragrant (mostly artificially grown) flowers and fruit, and with the magnificent mise-en-scène of its garden feasts to the sound of specially commissioned garden or river fireworks 168  and musical entertainments, the Baroque garden was - like Baroque poetry - designed to appeal to all the senses. Thus, it provides another proof of the close link between Baroque and absolutism. 169  This is also apparent in the Baroque garden's ingenious new water architecture, including machine-operated artificial fountains on meadows and in artificial musical grottos. 170  Nevertheless, as has been stated above, the interior of that gigantic Baroque garden was fantastically subdivided so as to provide the prince with "retiros" from the courtiers, just as the whole garden provided the court with a "retiro" from the 'vulgar' populace. The self-isolatory private mode was guaranteed both ways. 

Among these retiros counted the mazes or labyrinths characteristic of the Baroque garden. They mirrored the epoch's sense of disorientation, though they were mostly constructed around a firm and fixed centre - as if insisting on the notion of a still centralized universe and the presence of a God and a Heavenly Jerusalem still acting as the final destination for man (though he may be temporarily lost) on the pilgrimage of his life171  But, in their dazzling combination with bowers, crooked lanes, and arboreta (artificial forests), they brought an element of artificial chaos into that otherwise cultivated garden, which had formerly been understood to exclude all chaos in favour of a small undisputed cosmos. Thus, the Baroque garden expressed the epoch's disorientation post Copernicum as well as Baroque poetry, its sense of contrariety or "antithetisches Lebensgefühl". In England, the Baroque garden's association with Stuart absolutism led to the fatal destruction of all Baroque gardens under Cromwell. The walls were pulled down, the bowers and mazes mangled, and the statues demonstratively beheaded, as was the king himself on 30 January 1649. 172  Andrew Marvell's 'The Mower against Gardens' paradoxically condenses all the Puritan arguments against the artificiality of such Baroque gardens into a Metaphysical poem. The poem's plain unreliable speaker, a rustic mower, and evidently more Calvinistic than Marvell himself, argues on the basis of the typically Protestant and anti-Catholic ideal of (Christian) original primitiveness, innocence, and simplicity. To him, the artificial grottos, waterworks, statues, exotic plants and "adulterate" fruits of Baroque gardens constitute a denaturation, a falsification of God's original primitive design:

    'Tis all enforc'd, the Fountain and the Grot;
           While the sweet Fields do lye forgot. 173 

Denaturation does not only imply devitalization and vilification, but sin. The poem's initial attack upon the "Vice" of "Luxurious Man" names one of the seven deadly sins, 'luxuria', the irregular lust of lovers, and the loss of both men's and plants' procreative vitality through unnatural excess in those oversecretive and overamorous gardens:

    Luxurious Man, to bring his Vice in use,
           Did after him the World seduce:
    And from the fields the Flow'rs and Plants allure,
    Where nature was most plain and pure. 174 

What follows is a densely and subtly interwoven catalogue of other sins involved in Baroque horticulture: pride (in man's 'dealing between the bark and the [forbidden] tree' by assuming to improve God's natural paradise), robbery (in the Roman Catholic Spaniards' expeditions to exploit the exotic treasures of South America), adultery (in the unnatural breeding of new but unprocreative plants and trees), the Baroque princes' irregular craze for unnatural unprocreative eunuchs as gardeners, singers, or even lovers, and the Baroque princes' neglect of their public duty in the private mode of their walled-in self-seclusion. Here, "A dead and standing pool of Air" is perversely given preference to a more natural and accessible garden

    Where willing Nature does to all dispence
           A wild and fragrant Innocence. 175 

This wild and fragrant innocence is implicitly pitched against the stale incense in Roman Catholic nunneries and churches. Far from Calvin's iconoclasm, Marvell was a Protestant who had appropriated the Baroque, though on a smaller scale and without the Roman Catholics' love of pompous artificial excess, just as the Baroque interior of Protestant churches adapted Baroque paintings and ornament on small panels and in reduced proportions. In that respect, Marvell's preference for natural and proportionate gardens resembled that of the High Churchman George Herbert in Bemerton, Salisbury. 176  Similarly, in Andrew Marvell's topographical poem 'Upon Appleton House. To my Lord Fairfax', the speaker argues not against gardens and garden pleasures themselves, but against unnatural artificiality, unnatural enclosures, and unnatural pompous grandeur and disproportion as typical of the Roman Catholic and Counter-Reformatory Baroque. His tale of the past, when the heiress Isabel Thwaites, wooed by William Fairfax, was confined in the former nunnery, establishes a significant parallel between Roman Catholic monasticism and Baroque horticulture. Both appear as dominated by sinful pride and unnatural luxury, both erect walled-in dungeons, and both lack the natural vigour of procreation. 177  Yet now the original nunnery's confining walls have been pulled down, and Cromwell's General Thomas Fairfax has built himself a solid, unpretentious, and functional brick mansion for temporal residence instead of a vast, artificial, and ornamental Baroque palace for permanent self-seclusion, and a 'military garden' instead of its complement, the 'amorous garden'. 178  Fairfax's garden "laid [...] out [...] In the just Figure of a Fort" 179  was decorated with naturally grown flowers that often bore military names; 180  it had no artificially bred trees and flowers, no artificial waterworks, no artificial grottos, no artificial terraces, and no statues of fauns and fairies. Instead of providing an escapist private-mode retiro, this military garden was as functional and related to the unquiet times as the fortified house. Here General Fairfax would perform military exercises even in times of temporal peace: si vis pacem para bellum181  This, as well as the speaker's appeal to General Fairfax not to withdraw but to commit himself to public duties, or his allegorical argumentation both against too high (Cavaliers) and too low (Levellers), make it evident that Marvell's garden stanzas replace the Baroque private mode by a pre-Augustan public mode in keeping with the unquiet times. Accordingly, they are no longer poetry in praise of artificial Baroque retiros, the less so as the speaker repeatedly expresses the author's Protestant conviction that the earth's paradisiacal prelapsarian state cannot possibly be retrieved (natura totaliter corrupta). 182  The poem's expository grotesque satire on the sham perfection and strained inventiveness of Salomon de Caus 183  and his falsification of God's creation and creation's natural proportions establishes the contrast to the excesses and unrealistic escapism of Roman Catholic and Absolutist architecture and horticulture:

    Within this sober Frame expect
    Work of no Forrain Architect;
    That unto Caves and Quarries drew,
    And Forrests did to Pastures hew;
    Who of his great Design in pain
    Did for a Model vault his Brain,
    Whose Columnes should so high be raise'd
    To arch the Brows that on them gaz'd. 184 
One of King Charles I's favourite Baroque gardens was Wilton House, in front of the above-mentioned home of the Herberts, Earls of Pembroke, near Salisbury, begun around 1632 after designs by Salomon de Caus and with the help of Inigo Jones. It was chiefly modelled on the design of the magnificent Baroque garden in front of the palatial Villa D'Este in Tivoli near Rome, built by the powerful and ambitious Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este between 1560 and 1575, and on Caus's Hortus Palatinus in Heidelberg, built from 1615-1620 for Elizabeth Stuart and her husband Elector Frederick V of the Palatinate. Wilton House was restored by Inigo Jones and John Webb from 1649-52, decades after John Donne had visited Lady Pembroke, the mother of his pupil George Herbert. 185  Although the garden was not begun until the time of Donne's death, the king's and the poet's visits expressing their common predilection for the same palace and family once again show the cultural and ideological kinship of absolutism and the Baroque. 
The private mode of the Baroque poet, however, was easier to realize than the private mode of the Baroque prince. In the closed 'internal' circle of his court, the literal 'absolutism' of the Baroque prince's 'external' rule ended. Here, he was obliged to submit to a strict set of formal rules of courtly etiquette. The medieval king's divinely imposed 'heavy burden' had thus shrunk to 'idle ceremony' 186 , the merely formal remains of his ancestors' exacting code of princely virtues. 

In contrast to their Neoclassical successors with their strict obedience to formal rules and restrictions, each of the English Baroque poets was a distinctive individual who emphasized his originality by breaking all conventional forms and conventions "as hee thought fit". 187  Eventually, English Baroque literature died together with Stuart absolutism and was superseded by Neoclassical poetry (analogous to Restoration concepts of kingship), 188  following ancient models and obeying rules and norms. In spite of its adulatory rhetoric, Thomas Carew's elegy on John Donne had proved prophetic.

University of Bonn
Rolf P. Lessenich 

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1 Wellek, 'The Concept of Baroque in Literary Scholarship and Postscript', in Concepts of Criticism, New Haven and London, 1963, 69-114 and 115-127. For the similarities between English and Continental Baroque poetry see Frank Joseph Warnke's comparative approach in the introduction to his commendable anthology European Metaphysical Poetry, New Haven and London, 1961. Following Odette de Mourgues (Metaphysical, Baroque and Précieux Poetry, Oxford, 1953), Warnke tries to establish a finely detailed distinction between 'Metaphysical' and 'high Baroque'. Later studies again tend to return to terminological differentiations of the Baroque, cf. Gregory T. Dime in Studies in English Literature, 26 (1966), and David Evett in John Donne Journal, 5 (1986). For the position of wider cultural studies v. Stephan Kohl, who assigns Baroque to the open (functional) and Neoclassicism to the closed (textual) type; 'Kulturtypologie und englischer Barock', in Europäische Barockrezeption, ed. Klaus Garber, Wiesbaden, 1991, II. 981-994. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition, London and New York, 2001, II. 749-751, contains an excellent discussion of the etymology and early usage of the term 'Baroque'. 

2 Dryden, A Discourse concerning the Original and Progress of Satire (1693), in Of Dramatic Poesy and Other Critical Essays, ed. George Watson, Everyman's Library, London, 1962, II. 76 and 150. 

3 Johnson, Lives of the English Poets, 'Life of Cowley' (1779-81), ed. L. Archer Hind, Everyman's Library, London, 1925, I. 11. Johnson found fault even with Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism (1711), because he surmised that Pope's notion of representative metre ("The sound must seem an echo to the sense", line 365) misled him into "many wild conceits and imaginary beauties"; 'Life of Pope', ed. cit. III. 230. 

4 Johnson, Lives of the English Poets, 'Life of Cowley', ed. cit. I. 13-22. 

5 Wolfgang G. Müller, 'T.S. Eliots Poetik und seine Barockrezeption', in Europäische Barockrezeption, II. 1027-1046. 

6 See Mario Praz, Studi sul concettismo, Milan, 1934; and 'Baroque in England', Modern Philology 61 (1964), pp. 169-179. Leonard Unger, Donne's Poetry and Modern Criticism, New York, 1950, 1962, speaks of "extended metaphors" and "extended comparisons". 

7 Donne, The Second Anniversary, or, Of the Progress of the Soul, 1612, lines 179-184, in Works, ed. Herbert J. C. Grierson, Oxford, 1912, I. 256. The two Anniversaries (1611-12) were bold philosophic and didactic elegies formally addressed to the deceased Elizabeth Drury, daughter of his patron and friend Sir Robert Drury. 

8 Hans Sedlmayr, Verlust der Mitte, Salzburg, 1948. 

9 The whole Kleinseite or Malá Strana of Prague was Baroquified after 1627, when Roman Catholicism had been proclaimed the state religion in the Kingdom of Bohemia. The motor of this development was the Jesuit Collegium Clementinum (with its famous Baroque library). 

10 E.g. Petrarch, Sonnetto In vita, 161, and Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, III/2, 1. 

11 Crashaw, Steps to the Temple, 'The Weeper' and 'The Tear', London,1646, 1648, in Poems English, Latin, and Greek, ed. L. C. Martin, Oxford, 1957. The copy-text used here is that of 1648, ed. cit. pp. 308-314, as also reprinted in Metaphysical Lyrics and Poems of the Seventeenth Century, ed. H. J. C. Grierson, Oxford, 1921, 1959, 1969, p. 130-136. It is more rewarding than the text of the first edition, though, unfortunately, it omits 'The Tear'. 

12 Donne, Songs and Sonnets, 'The Flea', in Poems, ed. cit. I. 40-41. In contrast to conventional comparisons observing decorum on the one hand, and concetti on the other, see Rosemond Tuve, Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery, Chicago, 1947. For "theories which formalised the cult of the witty conceit" see A. J. Smith, Metaphysical Wit, Cambridge, 1991, 46-68. 

13 Examples in Emblemata. Handbuch zur Sinnbildkunst des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts, ed. Henkel/Schöne, Stuttgart, 1962, p. 1398 (Daniel Heinsius), and Georgette de Montenay, Emblemes ou Devises Chrestiennes, 1571, p. 45, repr. Continental Emblem Books, The Scolar Press, 1973. 

14 Donne, Holy Sonnets, I, ll. 13-14., in Poems, ed. cit. I. 322. 

15 Printed in Emblemata, ed. cit. p. 82. 

16 Also v. Ernst Robert Curtius, Europäische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter, 3rd edition Berne and Munich, 1961, pp. 151-152, and Richard Alewyn / Karl Sälzle, Das große Welttheater, 1959, Munich, 1985. 

17 Distinguished, for example, by Thomas Wilson (1553), George Puttenham (1589), and John Hoskins (1599). 

18 'Rhetoric' in this context is used in its maximalist sense referring to the five partes artisinventio (the finding of ideas) 

    dispositio (the arrangement of ideas) 
    elocutio (the formulation of ideas) 
    pronunciatio (delivery)

Though in English the term is generally taken to refer only to 'the arts of language' (OED, 2nd ed. 'rhetoric', 1a), this minimalistic concept would here be insufficient. 

19 Donne, Letters to Several Personages, 'The Storm' and 'The Calm' (MSS 1597), in Poetical Works, ed. cit. I. 175-180. 

20 Donne, 'The Storm', lines 67-72, ed. cit. I. 177. 

21 Donne, 'The Calm', lines 49-50, ed. cit. I. 179. 

22 Donne, The First Anniversary, or, An Anatomy of the World, 1611, ll. 19-88, in Poems, ed. cit. I. 232-234. Also v. Ulrich Broich, 'Form und Bedeutung der Paradoxie im Werk John Donnes', in Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift, 17 (1967), pp. 231-248. 

23 Tourneur, The Revenger's Tragedy, III. v, ed. Foakes, The Revels Plays. London, 1966, pp. 70-73. Vindice's monologue in ll. 69-82 has been commented on by many poets and literary historians, ibid., 71. 

24 Hübscher, 'Grundlegung einer Phraseologie der Geistesgeschichte', in Euphorion, 24 (1922), p. 15, supplement, pp. 517-562 and 759-805. 

25 For this typology v. Burkhardt Niederhoff, "The Rule of Contrary": Das Paradox in der englischen Komödie der Restaurationszeit und des frühen 18. Jahrhunderts, Trier: WVT, 2001. 

26 Examples from John Donne's Holy Sonnets, XIV and XVIII, (according to Grierson's numbering). 

27 Ibid. 

28 Note the occasional and chaste paradoxes in Dryden's and Pope's verse epistles. 

29 For these contexts v. the ground-breaking study by Rosalie Colie, Paradoxia Epidemica. The Renaissance Tradition of Paradox, Princeton, 1966. 

30 This is also the central argument in A. J. Smith, Metaphysical Wit, passim. 

31 Also v. John Robert Christianson, On Tycho's Island: Tycho Brahe and His Assistants, 1570-1601, Cambridge, 1999. 

32 Quoted by Wolfgang Riehle, 'Zum Paradoxon bei Shakespeare', in Das Paradox, ed. Paul Geyer/Roland Hagenbüchle, Tübingen, 1992, 336. 

33 Quoted by Wolfgang G. Müller, 'Das Paradoxon in der englischen Barocklyrik: John Donne, George Herbert, Richard Crashaw', ibid. I. 380. 

34 This medieval Latin word for a form of syllogism as the possible etymon for 'Baroque' was originally suggested by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Dictionnaire de musique, Paris, 1768. The controversial etymology is defended by Renè Wellek. 

35 Exodus 20. 25. 

36 Herbert, 'The Altar', in Works, ed. F. E. Hutchinson, Oxford, 1941, p. 26. The pattern poem in the form of an altar underscores the poetological meaning of "this frame" (line 11). 

37<7 Alchemy, which intended to convert lower into higher matter by bringing substances into "coition" under various conditions of heat, had strong erotic associations; v. contemporary paintings and engravings of alchemical laboratories ("stews"), and the brothel plot in Ben Jonson's comedy The Alchemist (1610). 

38 Donne, 'A Nocturnal upon St Lucy's Day', in Poems, ed. cit. I. 44-45. 5 stanzas consisting of 9 lines each. Also cf. Günter Ahrends's interpretation, 'Discordia concors: John Donnes 'Nocturnall upon Saint Lucies Day'', Die neueren Sprachen, 70 (1971), pp. 68-85. 

39 See Anthony Raspa, The Emotive Image: Jesuit Poetics in the English Renaissance. Fort Worth, Texas, 1983. The strong influence of plastic art upon Baroque poetry has been most intensively studied in the case of George Herbert; see for example Rosemond Tuve, A Reading of George Herbert. London, 1952. Helen Vendler came to the same conclusion in The Poetry of George Herbert. Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1975. 

40 At that time, 'microcosm' meant 'man' and 'microcosmography' was synonymous with 'anthropology'; v. OED. 

41 For this v. E. M. W. Tillyard, The Elizabethan World Picture, London, 1945, 1960, pp. 77-93. 

42 Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man, New York, 1974. Thus, the loss of community began much earlier than Sennett assumes. Also v. Brigitte Glaser, The Creation of the Self in Autobiographical Forms of Writing in Seventeenth-Century England, Heidelberg, 2001, passim. 

43 Also v. Philipp Wolf, Einheit, Abstraktion und literarisches Bewußtsein. Studien zur Ästhetisierung der Dichtung, zur Semantik des Geldes und anderen symbolischen Medien der frühen Neuzeit Englands, Tübingen, 1998, pp. 69-93 and 279-303. 

44 Also v. Renate Schruff, Herrschergestalten bei Shakespeare. Untersucht vor dem Hintergrund zeitgenössischer Vorstellungen vom Herrscherideal, Tübingen, 1999, passim. 

45 Also v. Jerzy Limon, The Masque of Stuart Culture, Newark, 1990. The replacement of the public audiences' "imaginary puissance" by magnificent illusory stage-designs was another symptom of dissociation, both from the public theatres and from the public dialogue between artist and playgoer. 

46 Also v. Earl Miner, The Metaphysical Mode from Donne to Cowley, chapter 1 'The Private Mode', Princeton, 1969, 3-47. It is, however, misleading to call a poet such as Henry Vaughan "proto-Romantic"; the similarities between the nostalgic primitivism and cult of loneliness in Vaughan's 'The Retreat' (1650) and Wordsworth's 'Intimations Ode' (1807) are due to the Neo-Platonism shared by both poets. 

47 Lowry Nelson, Baroque Lyric Poetry, New Haven and London, 1961, pp. 161-167. 

48 Donne, 'The Sun Rising', lines 21-22, in Poems, ed. cit. I. 11. 

49 Donne, 'A Hymn to Christ at the Author's Last Going into Germany', lines 29-30, ed. cit. I. 353. 

50 Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, 'The Garden', lines 15-16, in Poems and Letters, ed. Margoliouth/rev. Legouis, Oxford, 1971, I, 51. On the poem's 'unreliable speaker' providing a satire on the extremes of the Roman Catholic Baroque v. the interpretation below. 

51 Hatzfeld, 'Der Barockstil der religiösen klassischen Lyrik in Frankreich', in Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch, 4 (1929), pp. 30-60. 

52 Frank Joseph Warnke, 'Introduction', in European Metaphysical Poetry, p. 51, scolds this characteristic (with reference to Giambattista Marino) for being a "facile religiosity made more facile by sensuality". 

53 See also Louis L. Martz, The Wit of Love: Donne, Carew, Crashaw, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1969. 

54 Donne, 'Hymn to Christ at the Author's Last Going into Germany', lines 1-8, in Poems, ed.cit. I. 352. 

55 Donne, 'A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning', 7-8, ed. cit. I. 50. Note the symbolism of "gold to ayerie thinnesse beate" (line 24) in the ornament of Baroque architecture. 

56 Ibid. line 26. Note the puns on erection in the saving act of love. 

57 Donne, 'The Ecstasy', lines 20-23 and 73-74, ed. cit. I. 52-53. Note the typically Baroque paradoxes. 

58 This observation was already made before Martz, 1954. See W. P. Friederich, Spiritualismus und Sensualismus in der englischen Barocklyrik, Vienna and Leipzig, 1932, and, after Martz, F. J. Warnke, Versions of Baroque, New Haven and London, 1972, pp. 130-157. 

59 Also v. Philipp Wolf, Einheit, Abstraktion und literarisches Bewußtsein, pp. 97-148. 

60 Ignatian "composition of place" is still of importance in James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1914-15), where it serves the Jesuit educators to frighten the young, impressionable, artistic hero Stephen Dedalus with horrible visions of the Four Last Things (Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven). 

61 Arno Esch, Englische religiöse Lyrik des 17. Jahrhunderts: Studien zu Donne, Herbert, Crashaw, Vaughan, Tübingen, 1955. 

62 Louis L. Martz, The Poetry of Meditation: A Study in English Religious Literature of the Seventeenth Century, New Haven, 1954, 1962. 

63 So did Robert Burton in clear opposition to the Baroque rhetoric in his preface to The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), likewise Francis Quarles in his preface to Argalus and Parthenia (1629). In her gender study Elaine Hobby shows why women could write Cavalier poetry, but not Metaphysical "strong lines"; The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry. Donne to Marvell, ed. T.N. Corns, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 31-51. 

64 See also Helen Gardner in the introduction to her anthology The Metaphysical Poets, Oxford, 1957. 

65 See F. Strich, 'Die Übertragung des Barockbegriffs von der bildenden Kunst auf die Dichtung', in Die Kunstformen des Barockzeitalters, ed. R. Stamm, Berne, 1956, pp. 243-265. 

66 Cf. Shakespeare's sonnets, e. g. Sonnet 70, where the speaker finds fault with the Mannerist 'rival poet' for his false bodily as well as false stylistic paint. At the time wigs and make-up became a controversial - and later the standard - fashion. 

67 Herbert, 'Jordan (I)', in Works, ed. cit. pp. 56-57. The complex title also refers to the replacement of a heathen poetic myth of inspiration (Helicon) by a Christian and biblical one, in the context of the biblical model of plain style in Metaphysical religious poetry. 

68 For details v. Nicholas Cooper, Houses of the Gentry 1480-1680, New Haven and London, 1999, and Simon Thurley, Whitehall Palace, New York and London, 2000. 

69 Princeton, 1979. 

70 Even the Dutch Calvinists (such as Daniel Heinsius) published great numbers of emblem books, introduced pictorial arts into their churches, and wrote Protestant Baroque poetry (Heinsius, Joost van den Vondel, etc). 

71 Addison, The Spectator, 62 (11 May 1711), ed. D. F. Bond, Oxford, 1965, I. 265. Addison does not mention the fact that such pattern poems as George Herbert's 'The Altar' and 'Easter Wings' or Robert Herrick's 'The Pillar of Fame' and 'This Cross-Tree' had their predecessors in late classical antiquity, as in the wings-poem of the Anthologia Graeca. Also v. Ulrich Ernst, 'The Figured Poem. Towards a Definition of Genre', Visible Language, 20 (1986), pp. 8-27. 

72 Johnson, Lives of the English Poets, 'Life of Cowley', ed. cit. I. 11. 

73 Thus, for example, Matteo Pellegrini, Delle acutezze (1639), and Baltasar Gracissn, Agudeza y arte de ingenio (1642, 1648). S. L. Bethell examines both works in 'The Nature of Metaphysical Wit', in Discussions of John Donne, ed. Frank Kermode, Boston, 1962, pp. 136-149. 

74 Marino, La Murtoleide (1619), Fischiata 33, quoted in Austin Warren, Richard Crashaw. A Study in Baroque Sensibility, London, 1939, p. 75. See also F. J. Warnke, 'Marino and the English Metaphysicals', in Studies in the Renaissance, 2 (1955), pp. 160-175, and Ruth C. Wallerstein, Richard Crashaw: A Study in Style and Poetic Development, Madison, Wisconsin, 1959, passim. 

75 T.S. Eliot, 'The Metaphysical Poets' (1921) (introduction to H.J.C. Grierson's anthology), in Selected Essays, London 1932, 3rd ed. 1951, 287. 

76 Ibid., 288. Cf. S. L. Bethell, 'The Nature of Metaphysical Wit', and Ruth Wallerstein, Studies in Seventeenth-Century Poetic, Madison, 1960, pp. 166-169 (with reference to Marvell's Baroque wit and puns). Peter N. Skrine, who, in The Baroque, London, 1978, pp. 133-134, has a different notion of the Baroque age, sees Baroque wit above all in Marino's mythological poem L'Adone (1623). 

77 See for example Earl Miner, The Metaphysical Mode, pp. 3-4. Also v. N. J. C. Andreasen, John Donne: Conservative Revolutionary, Princeton, 1967, passim. 

78 F.L. Lucas, The Decline and Fall of the Romantic Ideal, 'La princesse lointaine, or, The Nature of Romanticism', Cambridge, 1936. 

79 Cf. J.W. Lever, The Elizabethan Love Sonnet, London, 1956, and J. B. Leishman, Themes and Variations in Shakespeare's Sonnets, London, 1961. For John Donne's "counterdiscourse" to Petrarchism see Heather Dubrow, Echoes of Desire. English Petrarchism and its Counterdiscourses, Ithaca and London, 1995, pp. 203-249. 

80 Margaret Cavendish, The World's Olio, London, 1655; quoted from Elaine Hobby, 'The Politics of Gender', in Corns, p. 47. 

81 For this cf. Shakespeare-Handbuch, ed. Ina Schabert, Stuttgart, 1972, pp. 614-616. 

82 Early experimenters in that new technique were Heinrich Schütz (born 1585), Johann Hermann Schein (born 1586, one of Johann Sebastian Bach's predecessors as Cantor of St Thomas's School in Leipzig), and Samuel Scheidt (born 1587). J.-J. Rousseau's article in his Dictionnaire de musique, mentioned above, contains a highly perceptive description of Baroque music. 

83 The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, ed. cit. II. 755. 

84 Ibid. 

85 The early Baroque period also witnessed the invention of the organ pedal. 

86 For the affections moved by the various favourite instruments of the period v. John Dryden, 'A Song for St Cecilia's Day', 22 Nov 1687, here stanza 5. 

87 As in Johann Sebastian Bach's Kreuzstabkantate, BWV 56 (1726). 

88 For these v. Ulrich Thieme, Die Affektenlehre im philosophischen und musikalischen Denken des Barock, Celle, 1984, and John Hollander, The Untuning of the Sky, Princeton, 1961, chapter IV, pp. 162-244. 

89 Pope, The Dunciad, 1742, IV. 53-58, in The Twickenham Edition of the Poems of Alexander Pope, London, 1939-1969, V. 346-347. Pope reproaches the opera for lack of nature, harmony, order, and regulating judgment or common sense. 

90 Also v. R.L. Sharp, From Donne to Dryden, 1940, Hamden, Connecticut, 1965, pp. 34-61. 

91 For this close relationship v. also Mario Praz, Studi sul concettismo, passim. 

92 R. C. Bald, John Donne. A Life, Oxford, 1970, pp. 63-66; Bald even assumes a personal acquaintance. 

93 As in Francis Quarles's emblem book Hieroglyphics of the Life of Man, London, 1638, 1639. This also explains the craze for obelisks with their engraved hieroglyphs, which Baroque city architects selected from the rubble of antiquity in order to adorn the centres of their newly-desiged places and squares: Piazza San Pietro, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo in Rome, as well as genuine or imitated or stylized obelisks in the centres of places and squares in other European cities. 

94 See annotations above. 

95 See also Rosemary Freeman, English Emblem Books, 1948, New York, 1978. 

96 Ibid. pp. 229-240. 

97 Donne, Holy Sonnets, XVIII, ll. 11-14, in Poems, ed. cit. I. 330. 

98 Crashaw, Steps to the Temple, 'The Weeper' (1648), ed. cit. pp. 308-14, passim. 

99 Christ's markedly androgynic body, also apparent in nativity scenes, designs him as neither 'vir' nor 'mulier', but 'homo', who assumed the human form in order to save both men and women. 

100 Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and Modern Oblivion, Chicago, 1996. For the combination of excess and eroticism cf. Robert Southwell's poem 'Christ's Bloody Sweat', in Poems, ed. cit. pp. 18-19. 

101 Also v. Lowry Nelson, Baroque Lyric Poetry, p. 26. 

102 Crashaw, Steps to the Temple, 'In the Holy Nativity of Our Lord God. A Hymn Sung as by the Shepherds' (1648), ed. cit. p. 250. Baroque Christmas poems (and paintings) with their pictorial descriptions of the world's greatest unique epiphany were especially suitable for such literary techniques of mystical reconciliation. 

103 This impression has even misled critics to spot the roots of Postmodernism in the Jacobean era; e. g. Maurice Hunt, 'Elizabethan 'Modernism', Jacobean 'Postmodernism'', in Papers on Language and Literature, 31 (1995), 115-144. 

104 Barabas in Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (1589-90), a prototype of the numerous later stage-Machiavels. 

105 Donne, The First Anniversary, or, An Anatomy of the World, first printed 1611, lines 205-218, in Poems, ed. cit. I, 237-238. Cf. C.M. Coffin, John Donne and the New Philosophy, New York, 1937, 1958, and Odette de Mourgues, Metaphysical, Baroque and Précieux Poetry, pp. 88-99. For the debate over the world's alleged decadence v. Victor Harris, All Coherence Gone, Chicago, 1949, and Herschel Baker, The Wars of Truth, Cambridge, Mass., 1952. 

106 Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, first printed 1609, I. iii. 86 (Ulysses on the Greeks) and II. ii. 167 and 176-77 (Hector on the Trojans). Cf. Rolf Lessenich, 'Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida: The Vision of Decadence', in Studia Neophilologica 49 (1977), pp. 221-32. For retreat into privacy as a possible result of the nauseating disorientation of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century intellectuals, in view of profound economical and social changes, v. L. C. Knights, Drama and Society in the Age of Jonson, London, 1937, and Robert Ellrodt, L'inspiration personelle et l'esprit du temps chez les poètes métaphysiques anglais, 'La Nausée', Paris, 1960, II. 46-93. 

107 Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, I. iii. 101-110; for the aspect of world and art turning 'absurd' cf. Gustav René Hocke, Die Welt als Labyrinth, Hamburg, 1957, and Manierimus in der Literatur, Hamburg, 1959. 

108 Donne, The First Anniversary, lines 396-97, ed. cit. I. 243. 

109 Herbert, The Temple, 'The Church-Porch', lines 5-6, in Works, ed. cit. p. 6. 

110 Ibid., 'The Altar', lines 15-16, ed. cit. p. 26. 

111 As analysed below. 

112 Woman was still regarded as an inferior and inverted man, who secreted semen like man, though to a lesser extent. For "tears", "milk", "balm", "wine" etc. as synonyms for semen v. Gordon Williams, A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature, 3 vols., London, 1994. 

113 Also v. Roy Strong, The Renaissance Garden in England, London, 1979, 1998, pp. 12 seqq. 

114 Donne, Songs and Sonnets, 'The Canonization', lines 10-18, ed. cit. I. 14. 

115 Donne, Satires, III. lines 100-101, ed. cit. I. 158. 

116 Cf. William R. Mueller, John Donne: Preacher, Princeton, 1962, pp. 89-114. 

117 Cf. W. F. Mitchell, English Pulpit Oratory from Andrewes to Tillotson, London, 1932, passim. 

118 Cf. also Miner, The Metaphysical Mode, pp. 93-107. 

119 For dramaticality as a characteristic of Baroque poetry v. Lowry Nelson, Baroque Lyric Poetry, pp. 87-98. 

120 Reported in Izaak Walton's Lives (1640-1678), ed. George Saintsbury, The World's Classics, Oxford, 1927, p. 29. 

121 Herbert, The Temple, 'The Quip' (1633), lines 1-4, in Works, ed. cit. p. 110. 

122 Crashaw, Steps to the Temple, 'The Weeper' (1648), final stanza 31, ed. cit. p. 314. Note again the paradox of the lowliest being the highest, just as the weakest and poorest are the strongest and richest. 

123 Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, 'On a Drop of Dew', lines 29-30, in Poems and Letters, ed. cit. I. 12-13. 

124 Here I differ considerably from Maren-Sofie Røstvig's naive reading of the poem in The Happy Man, 2 vols., Oslo, 1962. 

125 Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, 'The Garden', line 64, in Poems and Letters, ed. cit. I. 53. 

126 Ibid. line 71, ed. cit. I. 53. For the pun v. Helge Kökeritz, Shakespeare's Pronunciation, New Haven, 1953, 1974. 

127 Title provided by Thomas Traherne's brother Philip. 

128 Traherne, Poems, 'Eden', lines 1-7, in Centuries, Poems, and Thanksgivings, ed. H. M. Margoliouth, Oxford, 1958, 1965, II. 12. The quotation is from Thomas Traherne's own version, not that revised by his brother Philip. 

129 Traherne, Poems, 'On Leaping over the Moon', lines 67-70, ed. cit. II. 132. 

130 Ibid. lines 51-60, ed. cit. II. 131. 

131 Pope, An Essay on Man, 1733-34, epistle II, lines 3-18. A similar span of 200 years was needed to find a new orientation after Niccolò Machiavelli's revolution in ethical philosophy (1513). 

132 Cf. Elizabeth Holmes, Henry Vaughan and the Hermetic Philosophy, Oxford, 1932, and Rolf Lessenich, 'Henry Vaughan's Poem 'Regeneration'', in Studia Neophilologica, 44 (1972), pp. 76-89. 

133 Vaughan, Silex Scintillans, 'The World' (1650), lines 1-15, in Works, ed. L.C . Martin, Oxford, 1957, p. 466. 

134 Also v. Helen Gardner's 'Introduction' to her anthology The Metaphysical Poets, Oxford, 1957. 

135 Ibid. lines 49-56; ed. cit. p. 467. 

136 Taylor, XXV Sermons, London, 1653, p. 148. 

137 Vaughan, Silex Scintillans, 'St Mary Magdalen', line 1, ed. cit. p. 507. 

138 Ibid. lines 57-60, ed. cit. p. 509. The poem's two final stanzas with their contrast of the true tears of St Mary Magdalene with the false tears of the Pharisees may also be read as a Cavalier's criticism of the false saintliness of the Puritans: "Who Saint themselves, they are no Saints" (line 72). 

139 Vaughan, Silex Scintillans, 'Christ's Nativity', lines 19-24, ed. cit. p. 442. 

140 Southwell, 'New Prince, New Pomp', lines 1-2, in Poems, ed. cit. p. 16. 

141 Milton, 'On the Morning of Christ's Nativity', MS 1629, line 31, in Poetical Works, ed. Helen Darbishire, Oxford, 1955, II. 114. 

142 For a detailed documentation of this development v. Norbert Lennartz, "The Unwashed Muse", research in progress (to be published). 

143 Cowley, 'The Given Love', lines 55-56, in English Writings, ed. A. R. Waller, Cambridge, 1905-1906,. II. 70. 

144 Ibid. lines 19-22, ed. cit. II. 69. Note the royalist's subtle satire on the Puritan hypocrisy of Cromwell's reign. 

145 As in earlier histories of Metaphysical poetry: George Williamson, The Donne Tradition, Cambridge, Mass., 1930, and Alfred Alvarez, The School of Donne, London, 1961. 

146 Raman Selden, 'Hobbes and Late Metaphysical Poetry', Journal of the History of Ideas, 35 (1974), 197-210. 

147 In the history of the epic prose romance or novel, this may also account for the hiatus between the Elizabethan novel (John Lyly, Philip Sidney, Thomas Nashe, Thomas Lodge, Thomas Deloney) and the Restoration and Augustan novel (John Bunyan, Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe). 

148 For details v. Earl Miner, The Restoration Mode from Milton to Dryden, chapter 1 'The Public Mode', Princeton, 1974, pp. 3-50. 

149 Reprinted in Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century, ed. J.E. Spingarn, Oxford, 1908, II. 55-56. 

150 Also v. R.L. Sharp, From Donne to Dryden. The Revolt against Metaphysical Poetry, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1940. 

151 Cowley, 'Of Wit', 1656, lines 57-64 (stanza 8), in English Writings, ed. cit. II. 18. The aesthetic convert Cowley's siding with the mimetic principle of imitation against the Metaphysical principle of originality, his stigmatization of the forced conceit and surprising irrational quiddity, and his distinction between false (Metaphysical) and true (Neoclassical) wit anticipated later Neoclassical theorists such as Joseph Addison. Also cf. Cowley's poem 'To the Royal Society', prefixed to Thomas Sprat's History of the Royal Society (1667). 

152 Also v. Rolf P. Lessenich, Aspects of English Preromanticism, Cologne and Vienna, 1989, pp. 58-105. 

153 Contemporary English poetics, such as Henry Peacham's chapter on the art of poetry in The Complete Gentleman (1622), or Henry Reynolds's Mythomystes (1632), or Ben Jonson's Timber (1641), were based on 16th-century Renaissance poetics and did not take the new Baroque rhetoric into account.

154 For this reason Wilbur Samuel Howell's Logic and Rhetoric in England, 1500-1700, Princeton, 1966, does not even mention Baroque rhetoric at all. 

155 Printed in Donne, Poems, ed. cit. I. 376. 

156 Ibid. I. 382 and 386. 

157 Ibid. I. 385. 

158 Ibid. I. 375. 

159 Ibid. I. 379. Gleaning suggests precious quality beyond the mass. 

160 Ibid. I. 380. 

161 "The divine right of kings" was an expression for the aims of Stuart absolutism. James I und Charles I insisted that kings were Gods in their own right, "legibus absoluti". 

162 According to the OED, 2nd edition, however, the term 'absolutism' for despotic government was not used until 1830, when it was transferred from theology (God's sovereign conduct in the affair of salvation in Calvin's doctrine of reprobation) to politics. 

163 Chapter 12: The lover Solomon (Christ) regrets the erotic reservedness of his beloved Shulamite (the Church), "A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse, A spring shut up, a fountain sealed" (verse 12): and Shulamite opens her lap to her lover: "Let my beloved come into his garden, And eat his pleasant fruits". 

164 See Stanley Stewart, The Enclosed Garden: The Tradition and the Image in Seventeenth-Century Poetry, Madison, Wisconsin, 1966, passim. 

165 Strong, The English Renaissance Garden, p. 14. 

166 Donne, Songs and Sonnets, 'Twickenham Garden', lines 8-9, in Poetical Works, ed. cit. I. 28. 

167 Also v. Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages, 1941, London, 1982. The Renaissance and Baroque garden retained the medieval iconology of the 'garden of love', the place both of the holy love of Solomon and Shulamilte and the sinful love of David and Bathsheba. See, for instance, Rubens's many garden paitings and engravings based on his own Renaissance parterre garden in Antwerp (of the type of Hans Vredeman de Vries's gardens); documented in the 2001 exhibition Gärten und Höfe der Rubenszeit at the Landesmuseum Mainz. 

168 Eberhard Fähler, Feuerwerke des Barock, Stuttgart, 1974. Baroque fireworks involving scenic action could also be staged on rivers facing palaces, as on the occasion of the Palatine Marriage of Elizabeth, daughter of King James I, and Frederick, Elector Palatine at Heidelberg, in 1613 (Thames opposite Whitehall Palace). 

169 See, for instance, the work of Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725), especially his serenata Il Giardino di Amore

170 The most famous grotto architect and theorist was Salomon de Caus. The (musical) grotto combined worldly pleasure and spirituality in its association with St Mary Magdalene, who had visited Christ's grotto-tomb and (according to legend) spent the rest of her life as an penitent anchoress in a grotto. 

171 For this interpretation of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century craze for labyrinths v. Daniela Tandecki, 'Der Garten als Symbol und Refugium göttlicher und menschlicher Liebe', Arcadia, 22 (1987), 122-25. 

172 What Cromwell's soldiers had left was destroyed by the eighteenth-century craze for the English landscape garden (William Kent, 'Capability' Brown) with its programmatic dismissal of garden walls. Thus, not a single Baroque garden survived. Also v. John Dixon Hunt / Peter Willis (ed), The Genius of the Place: The English Landscape Garden 1620-1820, London, 1975. 

173 Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, 'The Mower against Gardens', lines 31-32, in Poems and Letters, I. 44. 

174 Ibid. lines 1-4. Note the biblical vocabulary associated with Original Sin and the Fall of Man. 

175 Ibid. lines 33-34. My italics. 

176 Herbert's advocacy of unpretentious gardens was related to his advocacy of the plain style; see, for instance, The Temple, 'Jordan' I, lines 6-7, and 'Paradise'. 

177 Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, 'Upon Appleton House. To my Lord Fairfax', Fairfax's speech (lines 203-224) arguing against the prioress's equivocatory seduction (97-200), in Poems and Letters, ed. cit. I. 65-69. 

178 According to the heroic themes of love and war, the 'garden of love' and the 'garden of war' complemented each other. For the history and phaenomenology of the latter v. Jane Brown, The Pursuit of Paradise. A Social History of Gardens and Gardening, chapter 3 'The Military Garden', London, 1999, pp. 82-104. 

179 Marvell, 'Upon Appleton House', stanza 36, ed. cit. I. 71. 

180 Jane Brown, The Pursuit of Paradise, pp. 103-104. 

181 Marvell, 'Upon Appleton House', ibid. Cf. the half-comical literary treatment of this motif and situation in Uncle Toby's military garden in Laurence Sterne's novel Tristram Shandy (1760-67). 

182 The speaker's repeated expectations of finding a little paradise in the meadows and forests of Appleton House prove invariably fallacious. 

183 Though a French Huguenot engineer and garden designer, Salomon de Caus or Caux (1576-1626) had studied Baroque horticulture in Italy and subsequently worked both for the Spanish court in Brussels and for the Stuart court. 

184 Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, 'Upon Appleton House. To my Lord Fairfax', lines 1-8 (stanza 1), in Poems and Letters, ed. cit. I. 62. 'Foreign' here means both 'non-English' and 'unnatural'. 

185 The possible occasion of Donne's famous divine poem 'Good-Friday, 1613. Riding Westward'; for such speculations v. R. C. Bald, John Donne, A Life, pp. 269-71, and Helen Gardner's commentary in her second edition of Donne, The Divine Poems, Oxford, 1978, p. 98. 

186 See the king's ceremony speech in Shakespeare, King Henry V, 1599, IV.1.247-301. 

187 Rudolf Vierhaus also warns against a flat identification of Baroque and absolutism; 'Barock und Absolutismus', in Europäische Barockrezeption, I. 45-61. 

188 See Rolf Lessenich, 'Tory versus Whig: John Dryden's Mythical Concept of Kingship', in Dryden and the World of Neoclassicism, ed. W. Görtschacher / H. Klein, Tübingen, 2001, pp. 245-258.

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