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The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Summary

"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" is a pastoral lyric, a poetic form that is used to create an idealized vision of rural life within the context of personal emotion. Pastoral poems had been in vogue among poets for at least seventeen hundred years when Marlowe wrote this one. The Greek poet Theocritis, in the third century B.C.E. (Shipley 300-1,) was the first pastoralist poet, and he, too, wrote about shepherds. All pastoral poetry, including Marlowe's, is to some degree influenced by this original practitioner. The poem is written in very regular iambic tetrameter. Each line contains exactly four heavy stresses, and the metrical feet are almost always iambic. Similarly, most lines contain eight syllables, and the few that don't create a specific poetic effect (such as lines 3 and 4), or have easily elided syllables which may be read as eight. This regular meter, sustained through the twenty-four lines, remarkably never descends into the sing-song quality so prevalent in tetrameter, primarily because Marlowe salts his lines with a variety of devices that complement the meter without drawing too much attention to its rigid regularity. Marlowe's use of soft consonants (such as W, M, Em, F) to start lines, with the occasional "feminine" ending of an unstressed syllable (in the third stanza) lend a delightful variety to an essentially regular and completely conventional form. In the first stanza, the Shepherd invites his love to come with him and "pleasures prove" (line 2.) This immediate reference to pleasure gives a mildly sexual tone to this poem, but it is of the totally innocent, almost nave kind. The Shepherd makes no innuendo of a sordid type, but rather gently and directly calls to his love. He implies that the entire geography of the countryside of England "Valleys, groves, hills and fields/Woods or steepy mountains" will prove to contain pleasure of all kinds for the lovers. This vision of the bounteous earth (reminiscent of the New Testament's admonishment "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." Matthew 6:26) is a very common theme in pastoral poetry. The idealization of rural life is essentially what separates pastoral poetry from simple rustic verse. Realism, which would not come into being as a poetic or literary style for many centuries after Marlowe, has little place in pastoral verse. The next stanza suggests that the lovers will take their entertainment not in a theatre or at a banquet, but sitting upon rocks or by rivers. They will watch shepherds (of which the titular speaker is ostensibly one, except here it is implied that he will have ample leisure) feeding their flocks, or listening to waterfalls and the songs of birds. The enticements of such auditory and visual pleasures can be seen as a marked contrast to the "hurly-burly" (a phrase Marlowe used in his later play, Dido, Queen of Carthage, Act IV, Scene 1) of the London stage plays which Marlowe would write. These are entirely bucolic, traditional entertainments; the idea of Marlowe, the young man about town who chose to live in London, actually enjoying these rustic pleasures exclusively and leaving the city behind is laughable. Again, these invitations are not to be taken literally. Marlowe may well have admired pastoral verse, and the ideals of it (such as Ovid's ideals of aggressive, adulterous heterosexual love) were not necessarily those he would espouse for himself. The third, fourth, and fifth stanzas are a kind of list of the "delights", mostly sartorial, that the Shepherd will make for his lady love. Here it becomes clearer that the "Shepherd" is really none of the same; indeed, he is more like a feudal landowner who employs shepherds. The list of the things he will make for his lady: "beds of roses" (a phrase, incidentally, first coined by Marlowe, which has survived to this day in common speech, though in the negative , "no bed of roses" meaning "not a pleasant situation") "thousand fragrant posies," "cap of flowers," "kirtle embroidered with leaves of myrtle," "gown made of the finest wool/Which from our pretty lambs we pull," "fair-lind slippers," "buckles of the purest gold," "belt of straw and ivy buds," "coral clasps," and

"amber studs") reveal a great deal about the situation of the "Shepherd" and what he can offer his love. While certainly many of the adornments Marlowe lists would be within the power of a real shepherd to procure or make (the slippers, the belt, possibly the bed of roses (in season), the cap of flowers, and the many posies, and possibly even the kirtle embroidered with myrtle and the lambs wool gown,) but the gold buckles, the coral clasps, and the amber studs would not be easily available to the smallholder or tenant shepherds who actually did the work of sheepherding. This increasingly fanciful list of gifts could only come from a member of the gentry, or a merchant in a town. This is another convention of pastoral poetry. While the delights of the countryside and the rural life of manual labor are celebrated, the poet (and the reader) is assumed to be noble, or at least above manual labor. The fantasy of bucolic paradise is entirely idealized; Marlowe's Shepherd is not a real person, but merely a poetic device to celebrate an old poetic ideal in verse. Incidentally, the plants mentioned (roses, flowers, and myrtle) are conventional horticultural expressions of romance. The rose, especially, was sacred to the goddess Venus (and it is how roses have come to symbolize romantic love in some modern Western cultures.) The myrtle was associated with Venus, too, and especially with marriage rituals in Ancient Rome. This connotation would have been known to Marlowe's readers. The attribute of virginity should not necessarily be assumed here; it was not for a few more centuries that myrtle would come to symbolize sexual purity. Therefore the kirtle embroidered with myrtle is not just a pretty rhyme and a word-picture of a desirable garment. It was meant to symbolize that this was a nuptial invitation, and that the Shepherd's lady was not strictly defined (though she may well have been meant to be) a virgin bride. Myrtle was an appropriate nature symbol from the Greek and Roman mythologies (from which the first pastoral poems come) to insert into a love-poem. The image of the Shepherd as a member of the gentry becomes complete when, in the last stanza, it is said "The shepherd swains shall dance and sing/For thy delight each May-morning." The picture here is of other shepherds doing the speaker's bidding. A rustic form of performance in the open air and not on a stage is again in marked contrast to the kind of formal performance of plays on the Renaissance stage, which would make Marlowe famous at a very young age. The poem ends with an "if" statement, and contains a slightly somber note. There is no guarantee that the lady will find these country enticements enough to follow the Shepherd, and since the construction of them is preposterous and fantastical to begin with, the reader is left with the very real possibility that the Shepherd will be disappointed.

Analysis
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love was composed sometime in Marlowes early years, (between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three) around the same time he translated Ovids Amores. This is to say, Marlowe wrote this poem before he went to London to become a playwright. Thornton suggests that Marlowes poetic and dramatic career follows an Ovidian career model (xiv), with his amatory poems belonging to his youth, followed later by epic poems (such as Hero andLeander) and Lucans First Book). The energy and fanciful nature of youth is evident in Passionate Shepherd, which has been called an extended invitation to rustic retirement (xv). It is headlong in its rush of sentiment, though, upon examination, it reveals itself to be a particularly well-balanced piece of poetry. This poem is justly famous: though it may not be immediately identifiable as Marlowe's (it is often mistakenly thought to be a sonnet of Shakespeare, though that is incorrect in both authorship and poetic form) it has a place in most anthologies of love-poetry. It may well be the most widely recognized piece that Marlowe ever wrote, despite the popularity of certain of his plays. The meter, though seemingly regular, gives a great deal of meaning and music to this poem. In line 10 the iambic pattern, so far unbroken, reverses to trochaic (stressed, unstressed). The line is innocuous "And a thousand fragrant posies" there is no special

meaning in this line that requires a complete reversal of the meter. But it is a completely complementary line to the one above it (which contains an almost perfect match of nine iambic syllables), and creates movement and motion in the poem. This kind of temporary shift of meter makes the poem lighter to read, and, while preserving regularity, lessens any sing-song quality that might occur if too many regular lines appear in sequence. This skillful change is one of the reasons this poem is so often read aloud. It is musical and regular to the ear, but it is never rigid or predictable. Line endings, too, can create variety within regularity, and also call attention to the subject matter of the lines. The only stanza which contains the line ending termed "feminine" (that is, an additional unstressed syllable following the final stressed syllable while it may not have been called "feminine" in Marlowe's day, the softer consonant at the end of a disyllabic word such as those in this stanza definitely can convey femininity) is the third. "There will I make thee beds of roses" This is done by using disyllabic words at the end of the line. The second syllable of most two-syllable words is usually an unstressed one. These lines all end with particularly feminine objects, too roses, posies, kirtle (a woman's garment), and myrtle. It should be noted that every other lineterminating word in the entire poem is a monosyllabic one, with the lone exception of line 22, in which the "masculine" stressed ending is forced by the hyphenated construction "May-morn ing". Marlowe chose his words with very great care. Scansion of poetry is never exact; while lines 1 and 20 are often read as iambic, the beginning (especially line 20) can easily be read as a spondee (two long syllables Come live with me and be my love/ rather than Come live with me and be my love/). A skillful and expressive reader might read this repeated line thusly, upon its second occurrence. The different stress would add pleading to the tone of the line (the emphases on the verbs "come live" and "and be") and bespeak a slight desperation on the part of the Shepherd. If read the opposite way from the first line (spondaic rather than iambic) the meaning of the line changes just enough to create a development of emotion. This is no mean feat in a poem only twenty-four lines in length. (Note that there is disputed stanza (second from the last) "Thy silver dishes for thy meat" which appears in some older editions the latest critical editions do not include it.) At first glance "The Passionate Shepherd To His Love" can seem to be a nice piece of pastoral frippery. Considering that it was written, probably, in Marlowe's late adolescence, and if read as a superficial exercise in the practice of a very old form of poetry, it can seem to be light and insubstantial. But any studied analysis of the poem reveals its depth; the poem can be read as containing irony (as written by an urbane man who longed for the city rather than the country, and thus constructed impossible rustic scenarios), serious and heartfelt emotion, a slight political commentary, a gentle sadness, and a transcendent love of nature. Good poetry is often many things to different readers, and Marlowe was able to create, within a codified (and one might say ossified) form of poetry a piece of clever and flexible Elizabethan verse. The Shepherd may not have been real, but the emotions and effects created by this poem have their own reality.

Detailed Meaning: The poet draws the reader's attention to the meaning and concept of life. He compares life to a play of passion or a short comedy. Man's happiness is compared to interlude between long periods of struggle and suffering. He continues his image by saying that the embargo in his mother's womb is like the actor who gets ready in the dressing room to appear on the stage. This actor gets dressed to come on the stage. He draws the reader's attention to the fact that God watches our deeds and actions. Both man's good and evil deeds are recorded in heaven. God does not interfere in man's life. He only gives man the opportunity to act freely

according to his inclination and desires but he records his deeds. Yet, every man is destined to die one day. The end of the play represents man's death. In other words, drawing the curtains symbolizes man's death. Death is considered to be the eternal rest. It frees man from the weariness and suffering of life. The poet sheds light on the difference between the unrealistic artistic performance of the play and man's death. The dramatic performanceis fanciful and unrealistic, but death is an inevitable fact. In conclusion, the phases of man's life are represented as a dramatic play. Figures of Speech: The poet uses conceptual image. It appeals to the reader's mind and intellect. There is an extended metaphor throughout the poem. The poet compares man's life to a dramatic play which is performed on the stage. The play is short. The theatre symbolizes earthly life. This is a sustained image. Man's happiness are compared to the long periods of suffering, distress and struggle. He continues this image throughout the poem. He shows that the embryo in his mother's womb is like the actor who gets ready in the dressing room to come out and appear on the stage. Moreover, he compares God to the audience of the play. This shows that God watches man's deeds and actions. Both man's good and evil deeds are recorded in heaven. He also compares drawing the curtains to death. The end of the play represents man's death. The poet compares man's grave to the curtains which are drawn to hide the actor from the sight of the audience. This image shows the poet's philosophical idea. He draws the reader's attention to the fact that man's life is temporary. It is not permanent. It witnesses certain phases which are compared to the acts of a play. Yet, he shows that there is a difference between man's life and the dramatic play. Th play is an unrealistic performance, but death is an inevitable fact. Death frees man from the weariness and suffering of life. It represents man's eternal rest. This shows that he belittles life. He shows that the play is short to reveal the untrustworthiness, triviality and brevity of afterlife. This image shows a sense of bitterness. Death shows the normal course of nature. Death has to happen to emphasize the idea of finality. The play of passion is a medieval play. It was performed in the church. It represents the life of Jesus Christ from his birth to his crucifixion. This shows the element of suffering. Sound Devices: The poet uses a regular rhyme scheme. It follows this pattern aa bb cc dd ee. This rhyme creates a natural easy flow of sound. It reflects the monotony of life. This regularity of the rhyme scheme shows the inevitability of death. Death represents the normal course of nature. The rhyme is smooth. It shows that life is short and monotonous. He uses a lot of sound devices. This is one of the characteristics of the Petrarchan school. There is an alliteration in "A play of Passion" due to the repetition of the /p/ sound. It intensifies the musical effect and creates unity among words. It draws the reader's attention to the central image of the poem. The poet compares man's life to a short comedy. This shows that he belittles man's life and existence. There is alliteration in "mirth" and "music" due to the repetition of the /m/ sound. It shows that man's happiness is short and disturbed by long periods of suffering. There is assonance in "sit" and "still". It raises the musical effect and creates unity among words. It draws the reader's attention to the fact that God watches man's deeds and does not interfere in his conduct or actions.

Intentions: The poet, here, deals with a universal issue. He is objective. He draws the reader's attention to a significant issue which shows the brevity of earthly life. He belittles life and shows its unworthiness. He compares man's life to a short comedy. He means that life has all elements of acting. Human beings are seen like actors who perform certain roles. This shows that he looks down upon earthly life. The only difference between play acting and life is death. Death is the only inevitable fact. Thus, he shows that man's life is transient because every human being is destined to die one day. Diction: In his poem, Walter Raleigh uses rhetorical language. He opens his poem with arhetorical question. It shows a sense of wondering. The poet wonders about thenature of man's life. This rhetorical question involves the reader into the subject and draws his attention to the poet's idea. The poet wants to show the meaning of life. He sheds light on the fact of death and the brevity of our life. The rhetorical question shows that the poet belittles man's life because it is short and transient. The word "division" shows that man's happiness is short and temporary. The word "short" shows the brevity of the earthly life. Man's life is transient because every human being is destined to die. The word "judicious" and "sharp" show God's justice and good sense. He confirms that God is restrict and accurate. He does not interfere in man's action and deeds. He only watches the human beings and records their deeds. There is inversion in "sharp spectator is". The adjective precedes verb to be. The poet uses this inversion for the sake of the rhyme scheme. It also draws the reader's attention to God's justice and accuracy. The word "only" draws the reader's attention to the difference between the play acting and the real life. The poet shows that death is an inevitable fact. Death is the only difference between real life and play acting. The phrase "latest rest" symbolizes death. Death is considered man's eternal and ultimate rest. Tone: The tone of this poem is serious. The poet expresses his sense of bitterness. He shows how short and unworthy man's life is. He draws the reader's attention to the fact of death and the brevity of life. He confirms that death is inevitable. Moreover, man's life is considered to be short period of suffering and pain. Furthermore, the poet undermines and belittles man's life because it is short and transient.

Raleigh's poem "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" is a witty and well-written reply to Marlowe's more innocent "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love". Using similar images and metrics, Raleigh cleverly presents the nymph's world-weary response to the shepherd's new and childlike view of love. In Marlowe's poem, the shepherd reaches out to his love with a pastoral ballad. The piece is very beautiful, painting an idyllic scene wherein the shepherd and his love can roam at their will. The shepherd tells his love that he will give all for her if she would just live with him; together they will "all the pleasures prove" (2) and he would

show her to a world where birds sing, the sun shines, and everything is serene and perfect. Even Marlowe's use of language contributes to his scene of happiness with which he tries to lure his love; the poem is written in iambic tetrameter couplets, giving it a lilting and song-like feel. He also employs alliteration quite often and to great effect; soft, rolling sounds like "we will" (2), "mind may move" (27), and "live with me and be my Love" (28) achieve a verbal approximation of the valleys and hills that he speaks of contextually. Raleigh, however, will have none of Marlowe's idealism and naivet. In his poem, the shepherd has sung his song to the lover, and Raleigh's poem is her reply. Interestingly enough, Raleigh uses the word "nymph" instead of a more neutral word like "girl" or a direct counter like "love". Although the word nymph did mean "girl" in Raleigh's time, it also had the mythological connotation of a female spirit who would have been adept at warding off satyrs and would-be suitors. Raleigh's nymph breaks down the shepherd's love-struck ballad quickly and efficiently; in fact, Raleigh's poem has a counter for each of Marlowe's ideas. It begins by having the nymph doubt the shepherd's ability to make true his promises; she questions the "truth in every shepherd's tongue" (2). The shepherd and the nymph see the world in two very different lights: while the shepherd entreats the nymph to come with him, the nymph's response is one of sobering mortality. For all hisromantic ideas of fields and flowers, the nymph knows that it does not matter because eventually "Time drives the flocks from fields to fold" (5) and "flowers fade" (6). Where the shepherd's "birds sing madrigals" (8), the nymph replies that "Philomel becometh dumb" (7), invoking the mythological story of Philomela, a Greek girl who was transformed into

Shall I Compare Thee To a Summers Day?

William Shakespeare
Shall I compare thee to a Summers day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And Summers lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And oft is his gold complexion dimmd; And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or natures changing course untrimmd: But thy eternal Summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. Shall I compare thee to a summers day is a classic poem by the legendary William Shakespeare. This poem is his eighteenth sonnet, and perhaps the most well-known out of all Shakespeares fifty four sonnets. With the renowned writing style and techniques, Shakespeare has made the meaning of this love poem so intriguing. The chosen subject matter, describing the theme of love has created a remarkable longevity for this poem until these days. The content mentioned above, along with the context, tone and an array of literary devices will be analyzed thoroughly in this essay. The title Shall I compare thee to a summers day partially conveys the theme of the appreciation of beauty, and the sense of falling in love. Hypothetically, the personal context of this poem is Shakespeare falling in love with a remarkably attractive woman. Through the comparison of this womans good looks with the nature of a summers day, the subject matter appears to be Shakespeare being truly infatuated by the loveliness of this lady. The theme suggested is the eternal love and beauty. Due to the historical context being in the 17 thcentury, the language of this poem is old English, which is formal and complex. The tone of this sonnet is very elegant and suavely romantic, which creates a heart-warming mood for the readers. Shall I compare thee to a summers day is a lyrical poem, comprising complete features of sonnet form. It has fourteen lines in total, divided into three quatrains then followed by a couplet. Almost every line in this sonnet directly conveys the subject matter with many clear and vivid images. The rhyme scheme is structured in order: abab cdcd efef gg. Throughout this poem, the use of imagery can be seen many times, through the vivid image of the womans beauty compared to the glow summer. The poem starts with a rhetorical question Shall I compare thee to a summers day? which implies adoration to his beloved. Then the next line is the admiration for this womans magnificence with two adjectives lovely and moderate. The selection of these two words makes this womans good look seems very pleasant but also magnificent. Theres a repetition of the word more before the two adjectives, which increases the effect of praising the loveliness of this lady. The next two lines Rough winds do shake the darling bush of May, And summer lease hath all too short a date expresses the negative aspect of summer. Shakespeares use of imagery for rough winds implies that the tempestuous weather is ruining the joy of summer and fades the splendor away. Then its followed by the complaint of summer passes too quickly, which metaphorically suggests that all beauty is only temporary, all pleasant thing must come to an end at some point. The second quatrain addresses about the nature of summer and beauty in general. The fifth and sixth lines have brilliant personifications of the sun as the eyes of heaven and his golden complexion. They implicitly describe the characteristics on a face, with the use of imagery and metaphor. The next two lines refer to an unavoidable truth that all beautiful things will eventually grow fainter as time goes by, and because of the strenuous encounters in life. And every fair from fair sometime declines By chance or natures changing course untrimmd: Shakespeare uses the alliteration, as well as repetition fair from fair to emphasize the attractiveness fading away. He has combined proficiently two literary devices in just three words. The ninth line deliberately shows a complete contrast idea: But thy eternal Summer shall not fade describes the beauty that will stay for eternity, and will always remain the

quality and prolonged existence. The repetition of nor has the effect of emphasizing that nothing can decline the gorgeousness of this lady that Shakespeare adored. The couplet, which is the last two lines of the poem also contain a repetition So long as. The aim is to reveal the everlasting beauty of Shakespeares beloved. He also used hyperbole men can breathe.eyes can see to exaggerate the significance of her exquisiteness to him. The hyperbole also refers to the longevity of this poem: as long as there are people still alive to read poems this sonnet will live, and you will live in it. Through the sophisticated language and description of his beloved, Shakespeare has shown his joy of being deeply in love with a beautiful woman. It is very skillful of this renowned writer to use the image of the bright summer to compare with the eternal beauty of this woman. The imagery has expressed entirely the subject matter and theme of this romantic sonnet. Not only does Shakespeare believe that immortality exist through the beauty, it also stays in his poem. Truly, this love sonnet has elapsed through so many generations, and his premise for the endless beauty has come true.

Whoso List to Hunt?'


Summary The poem opens with a question to the reader, asking who enjoys the hunt, and pointing out that the poet knows a worthy hind (female deer). He then continues with a contrast to the excitement of line 1 to say that he is regrettably no longer up to the chase. In line 3 he notes that his efforts have been in vain and he is greatly tired, and that he is now at the back of the hunting party. However, he tells us in line 4 and 5, he cannot draw his tired thoughts away from the deer; as she runs before him he follows exhausted. He gives up due to the futility of trying to hold the wind in a net. By line 9 he confidently tells those who follow the hunt that, just as for him, the pursuit is fruitless. Picked out plainly in diamond lettering there is a collar around the neck of the hind. The collar says do not touch me, as I belong to Caesar, and I am wild, though I seem tame. Analysis Wyatt uses the sonnet form, which he introduced to England from the work of Petrarch. The Petrarchan sonnet typically has 14 lines. The first 8 lines, or octet, introduces a problem or issue for contemplation and the remaining six lines, or sestet, offers a resolution or an opinion. Wyatt uses iambic pentameter. This means that there are five pairs of syllables, each with the stress on the second syllable. It is the most common rhythm used in traditional poetry and was used by Shakespeare in his sonnets, poems and plays. Iambic pentameter, though a regular rhythm, was thought to be closest to ordinary speech patterns, so it is an attempt to imitate but also elevate the sounds of everyday conversation. By opening the poem with a question, the narrator challenges the reader. There is an invitation in his words, and the use of an exclamation mark at the end of the first line implies excitement at the idea. As hunting was a popular pastime in the court of Henry VIII, this suggests a poem along the lines of Henry VIIIs own most famous lyric, Pastime With Good Company. However, problem within the octet is revealed in line 2 as the poet tells us that he is no longer part of the hunt. An exclamation mark is used in line 2, again to emphasize emotion, but this time frustration and regret. This is a passionate yet contradictory introduction. Line 3 makes use of assonance to reveal the poets earlier hunting efforts as vain travail which has tired him out to the point of physical pain. We can see that the poem is an

extended metaphor for the end of a relationship. The metaphor is an excellent choice in terms of the Tudor court and the possible situation to which it is attributed. The poet is now at the tail end of the pursuit, although, he says in line 5 that his mind has not deviated from the hunt. Wyatt makes use of enjambment (breaking a phrase over more than one line of verse) and caesura (concluding a phrase within the first half of a line of verse) across lines six and seven to highlight the discord represented by the end of the relationship as he subverts and challenges his own chosen structure. In line 8, the poet uses the concluding line of the octet to stress the futility of his former quest. He uses the metaphor of catching the wind in a net to emphasize the pointlessness of his chase. The final sestet begins with line 9 reiterating the appeal to those who wish to join the hunt, but he continues in to line 10 to explain that the pursuit will be in vain for them too. Again there is an exclamation mark to indicate an intensity of feeling. Line 11 continues the extended metaphor as an explanation of why his hunt of this hind, and that of others who pursue her, is so pointless. She has a bejeweled collar, indicating she already has an owner. Her collar is adorned with the Latin phrase Noli Me tangere meaning touch me not. This expression refers to a phrase spoken by Jesus to Mary Magdalene in the Bible. The design also includes the name of her owner for Caesars I am. If we identify the poem as referring to Anne Boleyn, then her new owner would be King Henry VIII; the pair were married around the time when this poem was composed and Wyatt could no longer compete for her affections. By describing Henry using the allusion of Caesar, Wyatt bestows on his monarch the qualities of a reputation of greatness and incisive rule. Caesar was, like Henry, a leader early in late teens, a handsome and strong young man and was significant in the political and aesthetic changes and developments of his realm. Both were literate, charismatic and influential. However, other less favorable parallels can be drawn. Both Caesar and Henry VIII incurred huge debt during their respective offices. There were many subjects who were held captive, sometimes executed, on charges of treason. Caesar faced questions regarding his sexuality and his unsuitable choices of women. Wyatt may also be alluding to these less appealing aspects of Caesar in his comparison if we see the passion in the poem to be borne of frustration and anger.

Virtue" is one of the poems in a collection of verse called The Temple(1633), which George Herbert wrote during the last three years of his life. By then, he had taken holy orders in the Anglican Church and become rector in Bemerton, England, near Salisbury. Herbert's poems are lyrical and harmonious, reflecting the gentle voice of a country parson spreading the Christian message. He appreciates the beauty of creation not only for its own sake but also because he sees it as a mirror of the goodness of the Creator. Yet, despite Herbert's sense of the world's loveliness, his poems often reflect the transience of that beauty and the folly of investing it with any real value. In "Virtue," he presents a vision of an eternal world beyond the one available to sense perception.

George Herbert - Engraving by E. Smith Getty Images

Implicit in "Virtue" is a delicately expressed struggle between rebellion and obedience. The understated conflict lies between the desire to experience worldly pleasures and the desireor as Herbert would insist, the needto surrender to the will of God. The battle waged between rebellion and obedience can be seen more clearly in one of the best-known poems in The Temple, "The Collar." Therein, the poet "raves" against the yoke of submission that he must bear until he hears the voice of God call him "child"; then, he submissively yields, as the poem ends with the invocation "My Lord!" This conclusion indicates that what the narrator feels about the experience of the natural world is of less authenticity than an inner voice of authority that directs him toward God. Herbert's poetry displays a conjunction of intellect and emotion. Carefully crafted structures, like the first three quatrains, or four-line stanzas, of "Virtue," all of which are similarly formed, contain sensuously perceived content, like depictions of daytime, nightfall, a rose, and spring. Such a combination of intellect and emotion, in which the two forces, expressed in bold metaphors and colloquial language, struggle with and illuminate each other, is most apparent in the poetry of one of Herbert's contemporaries, John Donne, and is called metaphysical poetry. In "Virtue," an example of this combination of the intellectual and the sensuous can be seen in the second line of the third quatrain, when the spring is compared to a box of compressed sweets. In "Virtue," which comprises four quatrains altogether, Herbert reflects on the loveliness of the living world but also on the reality of death. Building momentum by moving from the glory of a day to the beauty of a rose to the richness of springtime, while reiterating at the end of each quatrain that everything "must die," Herbert leads the reader to the last, slightly varied quatrain. There, the cherished thing is not a tangible manifestation of nature but the intangible substance of "a sweet and virtuous soul." When all else succumbs to death, the soul "then chiefly lives." Not through argument but through an accumulation of imagery, Herbert contrasts the passing glories of the mortal world with the eternal glory of the immortal soul and thereby distinguishes between momentary and eternal value.

"Virtue" and many other poems from The Temple can be found inSeventeenth-Century Prose and Poetry, edited by Alexander M. Witherspoon and Frank J. Warnke and published by Harcourt, Brace & World, in 1963.