The Renaissance Poetry 1484-1660
Petrarchan Conceits • A fanciful comparison of two apparently very different things. • Love may be compared to a baited hook.
Petrarch • Addressed many poems to a woman identified only as Laura, a proud woman of ideal virtue and beauty who remains totally indifferent to the poet.
Petrarchan Sonnets • Fourteen lines • Rhymed iambic pentameter • Two stanzas • Eight lines in first stanza (octave) • Six lines in second stanza (sestet) • abbaabba cdecde
The Octave and Sestet • The octave describes a situation. • The sestet describes a change in the situation (turn). • Sometimes the octave presents a problem and the sestet a solution or even another viewpoint. • Sometimes the sestet intensifies the octave’s problem with no solution.
The English Sonnet • Spenserian • Shakespearean • Iambic pentameter • Three four-line stanzas (quatrains) • Concluding couplet • abab bcbc cdcd ee
The Faerie Queene • Romantic and chivalric epic • Allegory: each leading character in the twelve projected books was to embody one virtue or quality; taken together, they would characterize a truly noble person. • Holiness, temperance, chastity, friendship, justice, and courtesy • Nine-line iambic stanzas has only three rhymes (ababbcbcc) • The last line’s extra foot makes it hexameter (alexandrine), and often sums up a stanza or finishes it off with a striking image.
Carpe Diem • “seize the day” • Urges living in the present moment, especially in pleasurable pursuits.
Pastoral Poetry • Set in idealize countryside • Characters are often blends of the naïve and the sophisticated.
Metaphysical Poetry • John Donne • Intensity of intellect • Self-conscious invention • Bold emotion • Rhythm and sounds based on spoken (colloquial) English • Like figuring out the solution to a riddle
Metaphysical Poetry Speaker • Speaker frequently sounds blunt and angry, or he broods to himself, or seems to be thinking out loud. • Sometimes the speaker seems to be lecturing the woman he is addressing. • Brings into poem ideas from books, especially from philosophy and theology. • Brings images from everyday activities and trades and from learned disciplines like law, medicine, and science.
Neoclassical Poetry • Followed classical standards and forms • Valued classical ideals of order, reason , balance, harmony, clarity, and restraint.