double arrow

Godlike erect, with native Honour clad




TO RESTORATION (1616 – 1696)


6.1. Особенности социального развития Англии в начале XVII века. Английская поэзия после Шекспира. Творчество Джона Донна. Трактовка человека и мира, специфика образов, экспрессивность стиля, усложненность ритма.

6.1.1. The Renaissance was still around at the beginning of the XVII century. The crucial literary effort of the time was the great translation of the Bible, called the King James Bible, or Authorized Version, published in 1611. It is significant because it was the culmination of two centuries of effort to produce the best English translation of the original texts, and also because its vocabulary, imagery, and rhythms have influenced writers of English in all lands ever since.

The prose of the period is not numerous. The majority of authors expressed themselves in poetic form. The most original and daring among the poets of the early XVII century is John Donne.

The mid-century saw the Civil war and the republican rule. The Puritan Revolution stimulated the poetic genius of John Milton. After the Revolution, many people felt disillusionment and sought a sort of intellectual refuge. One such person was John Bunyan, who produced one of the finest allegorical tales in the English language.

The restoration of Charles II ushered in a literature characterized by reason, moderation, good taste, deft management, and simplicity. The appreciation of the literature of the time of the Roman emperor Augustus led to a widespread acceptance of the new English literature and encouraged grandeur of tone in the poetry of the period, the later phase of which is often referred to as Augustan. The most important poet of the Restoration is John Dryden.

Finally, some great philosophical and political treatises were created emphasizing rationalism. Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690), by John Locke, is the product of a belief in experience as the exclusive basis of knowledge. Locke also stated that the authority of the governor is derived from the consent of the governed and that the people's welfare is the only proper object of that authority. Those were enlightened ideas indeed.

This gives us almost a century that may well be called the Age of Five Johns.


6.1.2. John Donne(1572-1631) is an English poet, prose writer, and clergyman, considered the greatest of the metaphysical poets and one of the greatest writers of love poetry.

Donne was born in London; at the age of 11 he entered the University of Oxford, where he studied for three years. He began the study of law at Lincoln's Inn, London. About two years later, presumably, he relinquished the Roman Catholic faith, in which he had been brought up, and joined the Anglican Church. His first book of poems, Satires, is considered one of Donne's most important literary efforts. The volume had a fairly wide readership through private circulation of the manuscript, as did his love poems, Songs and Sonnets, written at about the same time.

At 26, Donne was appointed private secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Keeper of the Great Seal. Donne's secret marriage to Egerton's niece, Anne More, resulted in his dismissal from this position and in a brief imprisonment. During the next few years Donne made a meager living as a lawyer. Finally, reconciliation was effected between Donne and his father-in-law, and his wife received a much-needed dowry. Donne's next work, a treatise on religion, won him the favor of the king. Donne became a priest of the Anglican Church. He attained eminence as a preacher, delivering sermons that are regarded as the most brilliant and eloquent of his time.


                     *  *  *

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou arrt not so;

For those whom you think’st thou dost overthrow

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow;

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones and souls’ delivery.

Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well

And better than thy stroke. Why swell’st thou then?

Our short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die.

Donne continued to write poetry, notably his Holy Sonnets, but most of it remained unpublished. James I appointed him Dean of Saint Paul's Cathedral; he held that post until his death. While convalescing from a severe illness, Donne wrote a prose work in which he treated the themes of death and human relationships; it contains these famous lines: No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; ... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.


6.1.3. The poetry of Donne is characterized by complex imagery and irregularity of form. He frequently employed the conceit, an elaborate metaphor making striking syntheses of apparently unrelated objects or ideas. His intellectuality, introspection, and use of colloquial diction, seemingly unpoetic but always uniquely precise in meaning and connotation, make his poetry boldly divergent from the smooth, elegant verse of his day. The content of his love poetry, often both cynical and sensuous, represents a reaction against the sentimental Elizabethan sonnet, and this work influenced the attitudes of the Cavalier poets. Those 17th-century religious poets sometimes referred to as the metaphysical poets drew much inspiration from the imagery and spirituality of Donne's religious poetry. Donne was almost forgotten during the 18th century, but interest in his work developed and reached its heights in the 20th century.


Come live with me, and be my love,

And we will some new pleasures prove

Of golden sands, and crystal brooks,

With silken lines, and silver hooks.

There will the river whispering run

Warmed by thy eyes, more than the sun.

And there the'enamoured fish will stay,

Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swim in that live bath,

Each fish, which every channel hath,

Will amorously to thee swim,

Gladder to catch thee, than thou him.

If thou, to be so seen, be'st loth,

By sun, or moon, thou darkenest both,

And if myself have leave to see,

I need not their light, having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds,

And cut their legs, with shells and weeds,

Or treacherously poor fish beset,

With strangling snare, or windowy net:

Let coarse bold hands, from slimy nest

The bedded fish in banks out-wrest,

Or curious traitors, sleavesilk flies

Bewitch poor fishes' wandering eyes.

For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,

For thou thyself art thine own bait,

That fish, that is not catched thereby,

Alas, is wiser far than I.

6.2. Английская революция как переход к новой эпохе. Расцвет публицистических жанров, активное участие литературы в общественно-политической борьбе. Творчество Джона Мильтона. Поэма «Потерянный рай»: проблематика и дискуссионные аспекты ее трактовки.


6.2.1. The English Revolution is ageneral designation for the period in English history from 1640 to 1660. It began with the calling of the Long Parliament by King Charles I and proceeded through two civil wars, the trial and execution of the king, the republican experiments of Oliver Cromwell, and, ultimately, the restoration of King Charles II.

The immediate cause, however, was Charles’s attempt (1637) to impose the Anglican liturgy in Scotland. The Presbyterian Scots rioted; then they raised an army to defend their church. In 1640 their army occupied the northern counties of England. The Long Parliament, summoned by Charles to raise money in support of his war against the Scots, demanded reforms as the price for aid. The political quarrel became an armed conflict. Most of the Lords and some members of the House of Commons sided with the king (thus making it technically incorrect to call it a war between king and Parliament). Parliament secured the support of the Scottish army. Meanwhile, Cromwell, an outspoken Member of Parliament and a military genius, was perfecting his regiment of cavalry, which soon earned the name Ironsides. Parliament won the crucial battle and Charles surrendered to the Scots, who turned him over to Parliament.

Charles escaped. He made an alliance with the Scots, who pledged to restore him to the throne if he promised to make Presbyterianism the official religion of both kingdoms. The second civil war took place, with the army and Parliament fighting against Scotland and the king. A Scottish army was defeated by Cromwell in a battle at Preston. Other Royalist opposition was soon suppressed. The army, now firmly in control, proceeded to purge Parliament of its Presbyterian members. Found guilty of treason, Charles was executed on January 30, 1649. The Parliament then abolished the monarchy and the House of Lords, and declared England a Commonwealth. The king’s death deeply affected the people and made the creation of a stable government more difficult. The power resided in Cromwell and the army. Only the will of Cromwell and the force of the New Model Army held things together over the next years. After Cromwell had died, the Long Parliament was recalled, which restored Charles II to the throne.
   The English Revolution was the first of the so-called great revolutions. It began as a protest against an oppressive and uncompromising government. A moderate constitutional phase was followed by the use of military force, then the violent overthrow of the government, experiments with new institutions, the rule of a virtual dictator, and, finally, a restoration that embodied some new practices within the older tradition. The revolution was important because it generated new political and religious ideas. Many of them are reflected in the works of the greatest writer of the period, John Milton (1608-1674).


6.2.2. Milton'srich, dense verse was a powerful influence on succeeding English poets, and his prose was devoted to the defense of civil and religious liberty. Milton is often considered the greatest English poet after Shakespeare. Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, and educated at Saint Paul's School and Christ's College, University of Cambridge. He intended to become a clergyman in the Church of England, but growing dissatisfaction with the state of the Anglican clergy led him to abandon this purpose.

  Till about 30, he lived in his father's country home preparing himself for his poetic career by entering upon an ambitious program of reading the Latin and Greek classics and ecclesiastical and political history. He toured France and Italy, where he met the leading literary figures of the day.

Milton returned to England in July 1639, settled in a house in London, and prepared to take in pupils. Milton had returned to England with plans for an Arthurian epic; like other ambitious poets of the Renaissance, he hoped to write the great modern heroic poem. But he was also deeply anxious about the Puritan cause. The years 1641-60 he gave almost wholly to pamphleteering in the cause of religious and civil liberty. Notoriety came in 1643, with Milton's pamphlet Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, which was followed by three more tracts on the same theme. His preoccupation with the subject of divorce was presumably hastened by his own marital disaster. In the tracts Milton argued that the sole cause admitted for divorce – adultery – might be less valid than incompatibility and that the forced yoke of a loveless marriage was a crime against human dignity.

In 1644 Milton published what are for modern readers his best-known pamphlets, Of Education and Areopagitica.

The first of the two is one of the last in a long line of European expositions of Renaissance humanism. His aim was to mold boys into enlightened, cultivated, responsible citizens and leaders on the basis of the study of the ancient classics, in due subordination to the Bible and Christian teaching. But he also gave notable emphasis to science.

Areopagitica is on the freedom of the press and was specifically written to protest an order issued by Parliament the previous year requiring government approval and licensing of all published books. He defends the free circulation of ideas as essential to moral and intellectual development. Two weeks after the execution of Charles I, Milton's first political tract appeared. In it he expounds the doctrine that power resides always in the people, who delegate it to a sovereign but may, if it is abused, resume it and depose or even execute the tyrant.

A month later he was invited to become secretary for foreign languagesto Cromwell's Council of State. In the winter of 1651-52Milton lost his eyesight; blindness became complete when Milton was only 43. Blindness reduced his strictly secretarial duties, though he continued through 1659 as a translator of state letters. His last political pamphlet was published in March 1660.

When the Restoration came, Milton, as a noted defender of the regicides, was in real danger. Anyway, it may have been decided that the blind writer was now harmless and that token proceedings against him would be enough.

6.2.3.Yet there was considerable energy in Milton. Thoughit is not known when Paradise Lost was actually begun, poet's most famous lines were composed after the Restoration. Paradise Lost, an epic poem in blank verse, was finished by 1665.

It tells the story of Satan's rebellion against God and his expulsion from heaven and the subsequent temptation and expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The main motives and events of Paradise Lost had abundant literary precedent, though they were handled with powerful originality.

Milton centers the first two books of his poem on the figure of Satan and his legions as they lie in hell. Much has been written about Milton's powerful characterization of Satan, who is one of the supreme figures in world literature. Satan has, on a superhuman scale, the strength, the courage, and the capacity for leadership that belong to the ancient epic hero, but these qualities are all perverted in being devoted to evil.

The portrayal of Adam and Eve is a symbolic rendering of Milton's vision of perfection, but it is presented when the reader accompanies Satan into the garden, so that idyllic innocence and happiness are seen only under the shadow of evil.


From Book 4

                                   ...the Fiend

Saw undelighted all delight, all kind

Of living Creatures new to sight and strange:

Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,

Godlike erect, with native Honour clad


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