Friday, April 24, 2009

Augustan Poetry

Characteristics: forward propulstion, based on classic Greek and Roman forms

Lit. devices: satire, iambic pentameter, wit, irony, paradox

Styles: heroic couplets, mundane plots, use of current political events (allegorically and directly), mock epics

Major themes: human frailty, mocking of human behavior

Authors: Alexander Pope, John Dryden


by: Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

      luttering spread thy purple pinions,
      Gentle Cupid, o'er my heart,
      I a slave in thy dominions,
      Nature must give way to art.
      Mild Arcadians, ever blooming,
      Nightly nodding o'er your flocks,
      See my weary days consuming,
      All beneath yon flowery rocks.
      Thus the Cyprian goddess weeping,
      Mourned Adonis, darling youth:
      Him the boar, in silence creeping,
      Gored with unrelenting tooth.
      Cynthia, tune harmonious numbers;
      Fair Discretion, tune the lyre;
      Soothe my ever-waking slumbers;
      Bright Apollo, lend thy choir.
      Gloomy Pluto, king of terrors,
      Armed in adamantine chains,
      Lead me to the crystal mirrors,
      Watering soft Elysian plains.
      Mournful Cypress, verdant willow,
      Gilding my Aurelia's brows,
      Morpheus, hovering o'er my pillow,
      Hear me pay my dying vows.
      Melancholy, smooth M├Žander,
      Swiftly purling in a round,
      On thy margin lovers wander
      With thy flowery chaplets crowned.
      Thus when Philomela, drooping,
      Softly seeks her silent mate,
      So the bird of Juno stooping;
      Melody resigns to fate.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Metaphysical Poetry

characteristics: brief and concentrated in its meaning, centered around dramatic situations, usually has conceits

major themes: love, man's relationship with God, & human frailty

styles: more realistic than renaissance poetry, focuses on deep philosophical issues

lit. devices: wit, irony, paradox, conceits

authors: John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Henry Vaughan, George Chapman, Thomas Traherne, & Robert Southwell

by John Donne

NOW thou hast loved me one whole day,
To-morrow when thou leavest, what wilt thou say ?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow ?
Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were ?
Or that oaths made in reverential fear
Of Love, and his wrath, any may forswear ?
Or, as true deaths true marriages untie,
So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose ?
Or, your own end to justify,
For having purposed change and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true ?
Vain lunatic, against these 'scapes I could
Dispute, and conquer, if I would ;
Which I abstain to do,
For by to-morrow I may think so too.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Kingdom of the Dead (book6)


In this book, Aeneas visits the Underworld and, while he is there, he sees Dido and tries to talk to her. Dido doesn't respond to Aeneas, and I think that this is because she no longer needs to love him. She has served her purpose for the gods. I think Dido has found a kind of redemption in death. She no longer has the gods controlling her feelings and making them change every other minute. In death, Dido can have the closure that comes with being with her one true love, Sychaeus, her husband. Dido no longer has to deal with the illusion of love that had been created by Venus and her son Cupid. The reason why it is so cutting to Aeneas when Dido doesn't answer him is because he has to realize and accept that she doesn't need him anymore. He watches her spirit return to her husband, and that probably deflates the little ego boost that he got from knowing that she killed herself because of his love. He also has to see and accept, like Dido, that their love was just an illusion that was created by the gods to manipulate them. It is also possible that Dido did love Aeneas a little bit when she was alive and that's why her non-response to him so cutting because she did love him, but she can let go of him in death because her love for Sychaeus is even more than her love for Aeneas.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Funeral Games For Anchises (book5)

There are a lot of things going on in this chapter. First, Ascanius' role in the acting out of the battle at the games is a symbol of the major part that he will have in the founding of Rome. It is because of his son that Aeneas even considers to keep going on his long and difficult voyage. He wants Ascanius to have a kingdom of his own to rule and become the father of kings. There is also a small irony in the fact that, while trying to make things better for herself and causing problems with the Trojans, Juno actually makes things better for Venus when the Trojans build a temple in honor of Venus. This book also connects the Aeneid with the Oddyssey when, at the end, the boat is guided towards the Siren's rocks, like Odesseus' boat was in the Oddyssey.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Tragic Queen of Carthage (book4)

In this book, we see that Dido is reluctant to become involved with Aeneas, and she has a good reason to be worried. What she doesn't know is that the gods are messing with her fate. Juno's and Venus' "deal" to create a marriage between Aeneas and Dido starts out when the two are out hunting with their friends and a storm hits. They find themselves trapped in the same cave together. This reinforces 2 things: the idea that Aeneas is hunting Dido, and the war between the gods. When we first see Aeneas, he is shooting deer, then in this book, Dido is compared to a doe, and there is a line about "the shaft that takes her life." This refers to Cupid's arrow that makes Dido fall in love with Aeneas, and that love eventually makes her kill herself. Cupid and his arrow falls into the category of the war between the gods, especailly the one between Juno and Venus. Venus knows that Aeneas will have to leave Carthage, and she probably agrees to the "marriage" between Dido and Aeneas because she knows that it will kill Dido if he has to leave. If Dido kills herself, then Juno will be losing one of her most faithful worshipers, and Venus will have won one of the many battles between these two.

Landfalls, Ports of Call (book 3)

This book sets up two of the major themes of the novel: journey to found a new empire and death to rebirth. It is hard to tell from the way that Aeneas tells his story that a lot of time has passed from the time when Troy fell until now, when they are in Carthage. We see, through the places that Aeneas and the Trojans travel, how Virgil is trying to connect the Aeneid with the Odyssey. We also find out all of the suffering that the Trojans have to go through just to get to this point where they are in a friendly city. Even though Virgil describes all of the suffering that the Trojans go through, his tone tells us that it is necessary for the Trojans to not be happy anywhere else than Italy. If they had good luck in other places, Aeneas wouldn't have wanted to keep going so he could found Rome for his family to rule for centuries.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Safe Haven After Storm

The first book is setting up what is to come in the rest of the Aeneid. It shows us the fighting between the gods, especially between Juno and Venus. Venus comes down and sends Aeneas to Carthage where he will meet Dido. What is ironic about this situation is that Dido and Aeneas can get along so well when Dido worships Juno, who hates all Trojans. This situation foreshadows the rage that Juno will have when she loses one of her biggest worshipers, Dido, because of her unrequited love for Aeneas. We are also shown, by a conversation between a couple of the gods, that Aeneas will infact make it to Italy to found Rome because it is what the Fates predicted. There is nothing that Juno can do that can stop him for forever. The end of the first book also serves as a transition to the beginning of Aeneas' voyage to the founding of Rome.